A To-Do List for Creatives!

A To-Do List for Creatives!

A To-Do List for Creatives!


Image by koalazymonkey via Flickr

A To-Do List for Creatives!

Okay… so we’re continuing on with our busting through the “bright and shiny object syndrome” and getting ‘er done a week!

We’ve talked about starting the day with a plan and giving ourselves some grace when those plans go awry.

Now… let’s talk “to-do” lists.

I’ll admit it. I’m a to-do list kind of guy.

So much so that when I do something that’s not on my list… there’s a very good chance that I’ll write it down… just so I can check it off.

(Anybody care to admit that they do the same thing?)

Sad? Maybe.

But… it helps me to stay on track during some crazy days!

Now, A LOT of people have talked about the best ways to do a to-do list and there are a whole LOT of great ideas.

So, I’m simply going to submit the way that I do my to-do list… in this season.

It may seem like I have a couple of extra steps, but the system really works for me. And as I’ve talked with other “creatives,” it’s helped them too.

So… here we go.

Simply put… I combine technology with old-school know how.

I have an iphone, so I added an app that helps me to keep track of my to-dos electronically.

My app of choice (and I’ve tried a lot of them), is… Things. It’s not cheap but at the same time… I’ve found it to be priceless to have my ever-growing, ever-changing to-do list captured on my phone and on my mac.

So… yes. I use technology.

BUT… I also encorporate an old-school approach.

Here’s my next step…

I assign each task a day in which I’m going to try to do it. Then I print that list off and carry the list with me in a simple notebook. (Sometimes I even tape the list to a page in my notebook.)

That may seem like a wasted extra step but there’s some method to my madness. Here are some quick reasons:

  1. I found that checking things off electronically doesn’t give me the same satisfaction as checking them off with ink. It may sound weird but it made a difference!
  2. I found that if I thought of a new task that I needed to add to my to-do list, I was much more apt to quickly scribble it down in my notebook than I was to grab my phone and type it in at the moment. And since these ideas and/or tasks usually come into my brain at inconvenient times… I figured out that I needed to have a simple, quick and consistent way to capture them.
  3. At the end of the day, I take 15 minutes to reorganize my manual check list and plunk the remaining tasks back in my Things app.
  4. An added bonus is that I have my to-do list backed up on my computer. I don’t know about you but I’ve lost plenty of notebooks and planners. So it’s nice to know that I wouldn’t be totally lost if I lost my paper copy of my list!

Sure… printing off the list may seem like an extra step… but merging the new and old has helped me to better capture and control the overwhelming flood of ideas and tasks that can hit on any given day.


That’s my weird but somewhat simple approach to my to-do list.

If you dig it, give it a try.

If you have something different and/or better… leave us a comment and let us know what works for you!

Let’s keep rolling with this… and let’s see what we get done this week!

Keep thinking and dreaming… BIG,


1 Comment
  • David
    Posted at 14:07h, 21 July Reply

    Totally love the “real list” for the satisfaction of crossing stuff off.

    Not to mention, for a creative, apps like things, the hit list, or outlook just don’t provide the opportunity for much art (can anyone say multicolored pens?).

    I used to think that my desire to combine art and productivity somehow made me less ‘businesslike’ – but I’ve come to realize it’s part of what makes me human. It’s motivating and keeps me engaged with my list. So I’ll keep doing it.

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