To-Do and Someday Lists

by Andrew

TLDR; I have made my own lists, which I’ve linked to here (again at bottom):

To-Do List

Someday/Whenever List

I have found that I like paper-based task management for my day-to-day work tasks. I don’t work on my phone, so as much as I love CARROT – my iOS task manager with an attitude – it doesn’t quite feel natural to try and keep up with my work tasks on my phone. Bigger stuff or more personal stuff that I can manage anytime I handle there.

But for my work system, I just couldn’t quite get a paper to-do list that really worked for me. The closest I could get was either the ultra-simple checklists from or the slightly-too-complex but staggeringly beautiful productivity tools of David Seah.

So, I did what everyone should do: Ideate, Investigate, Incorporate, and Iterate (my creative process, which I hope to write more about at some point later).

I started with just the one To-Do List, but then discovered too many tasks kept popping up that I wanted to get to eventually, but were going to be hanging around too long to warrant keeping them on my regular to-do list.

For these lists, I decided on an app-like icon-based approach for column headings. One, because I thought that visual icons would be faster and easier to ‘get’ than arbitrary words. Two, because I thought it would add a little style.

Here are the headings from the To-Do-List:

Headings for: Checkboxes, Description, Priority, Who assigned to, and When due

Headings for: Checkboxes, Description, Priority, Who assigned to, and When due

The Someday/Whenever list replaces the three columns at the end with a single column marked with a hash symbol (#), where I make a note about the context or subject of the task. Since these are tasks I may not come back to for a long time, it’s good to make a little note to remind myself what they were related to.

Instead of hard lines for column and row separation, I used a light gray, dotted line. This allows for some customization. Because the space for checkboxes isn’t pre-made, I can use that space to make a box (by drawing on the lines), or I can use an arrow symbol here to indicate that this line is a sub-item to another task. Or, you could use the space for assigning a number, if that’s what works for you.

I like to use boxes for each task, and draw one half of an X through the box for when I start a task, and complete the X when the task itself is complete. Occasionally, I’ll have to draw a straight horizontal line —- through the box and the task, to indicate a task I no longer have to do.

About 2/3 of each page is dedicated to tasks, with the remainder set aside for Notes. I found that no amount of planning can completely alleviate the need for jotting down another quick note or two along the way. Sometimes it’s more description, or a phone number, or a link to view. I like to connect tasks and notes (when appropriate) using a numbered footnote, either before the row or after.

Please feel free to download and make use of these list templates. I am welcome to any feedback or suggestions for how to improve them. I hope that they prove useful to you!