File folders expand, allowing their contents to spill onto the surface of the desk–mocking the feeble attempt at containment. Post-It notes clutter the edges of the computer monitor, sneak into notebooks, and adhere to the sides of the file cabinet. Risograph and copy machines whir the all too familar “thuuu-thump…thuu-thump”, a workroom playlist left on repeat. It is difficult to be paperless in a profession (and world) that has developed an unhealthy dependence on this arboreal material.
I must confess that I am the Indiana Jone’s of organizational systems–always searching for the “Holy Grail” of personal efficiency. That one program, application, or tool that will manage my time, solve my problems, and eliminate the frustrations of the unorganized. In the process, I have obliterated my fair share of forests. I am not going to say that my obsession is over, but I am a recovering “oranizationaholic” — thanks in no small part to a conglomeration of Web 2.0 tools. While not paperless, I am moving in that direction…hoping to share my ideas, and win converts in my profession.
For me, the move away from paper begins with managing a dynamic list of tasks (and associated notes)–ever changing, constant additions, deletions, and modifications. In order to manage this, I have chosen to use the Web 2.0 application, Todoist.
There are obviously a number of online task managers to choose from, but for me, Todoist’s ease of use and highly customizable interface make it my tool of choice. As you can see from the image, Todoist supports labels (tags), reminders, filtering, and folders.
Tasks in Todoist are organized in folders that might correspond to projects, activities, responsibilities, or any other system you might dream up.
Folders and tasks support sub-folders and sub-tasks. This ability to organize hierarchical tasks is a significant selling point. Something not found in many of the online task management tools.
While not a calendar, per say, Todoist does make use of an integrated calendaring system within the task management platform. Tasks may be assigned due dates (including recurring dates) and filtered accordingly. In addition, Todoist supports reminders.
In addition to filtering by date, tasks may be assigned labels (or tags) and then filtered by label. This feature gives Todoist users the ability view items yet another perspective–folders, date, label or priority level.
Finally, Todoist offers multiple means of accessing your task list. My personal preference is to integrate this tool in my iGoogle page. You will notice that this allows me to seamlessly view my (1) calendar (2) task list and (3) google docs — three tools I use to manage information that has traditionally created paper.
This, by no means, constitutes a complete review of the features of Todoist. This Web 2.0 tool is not the answer for everyone, but it may be your first step in the direction of a “less” paper work environment. Certainly worth consideration if you are overwhelmed by the tasks, and piles of paper, in your day-to-day life.