27th May 2015

Does relying on technology mean losing your mind?

dinosaur writing

Favouring good old fashioned pen and paper for writing my ‘to do lists’ does not make me a dinosaur. Apps which send out reminders for simple things like ‘pick up flowers for your anniversary’ make me wonder if people are getting more stupid as phones are getting smarter.

Finding the best way to remember daily or weekly tasks is a very personal thing. A straw poll among Tangerine’s 60 or so employees revealed the use of a variety of tools from the traditional to the high tech and age wasn’t a factor in the way people preferred to organise themselves.

Some Tangerine team members recently attended a one day workshop run by Think Productive called ‘Stress Less, Achieve More’ which put a lot of positive emphasis on digital to do lists and online organisational tools.

Our ‘productivity Ninja’, Grace, wanted to make sure that we got the most out of the day by emerging out of our comfort zones which, for me, meant trusting technology.

One suggestion was to make best use of online tools and apps as a way to format tasks, to-do lists and help set reminders for both professional and domestic tasks. Where I might have been going wrong was trying to separate them. Pushing my domestic to do’s down the priority list was weighing on my shoulders, stealthily affecting my productivity at work.

The Think Productive course encourages people to ‘get it all out of your head and into a system, so you’re not distracted by all the things that you’re not doing now.’

Brain tabs

Finding out that it’s perfectly acceptable to add in weekly reminders such as ‘put the bins out’ has taken some pressure off me. Discovering that I can also email/share it with my partner, thus halving responsibility and room for error was a bonus.

The best online organisational apps offer great syncing and scheduling options, notifications, reminders and the perfect mix of features and flexibility that make it easy to stay organised.

Here are a few that Think Productive recommend (the descriptions have mostly been supplied by the tools themselves, they are not endorsements or reviews from me):

toodledo

Toodledo is a set of incredibly powerful tools to increase your productivity and organize your life. More than just a to-do list, Toodledo provides you with a place to write long notes, make custom lists, create structured outlines and track your habits. You can collaborate with friends, family or your co-workers, and we’ll safely store and sync all your data to your devices – including your Apple iWatch.

Remember the milk

Remember the Milk makes managing your to-do list fun! With millions of users worldwide, this feature-packed app means that you’ll never forget the milk (or anything else) again. From mobile to the web to apps including Gmail, Google Calendar, Twitter, and more, ‘Remember The Milk’ apps are available for Android, iPhone, and iPad, and the MilkSync service syncs with Microsoft Outlook and BlackBerry.

Todoist

Todoist lets you manage your tasks anywhere; at home, at school, at work, online or offline, and on 15 platforms and devices. It lets you write and easily access your to-do list, turn emails into tasks, and collaborate on shared tasks and projects integrating seamlessly into Outlook. Advanced task management features let you organize tasks into projects, set priorities and deadlines, and use colour-coding to manage your inbox.

writing

Writing things down is a guaranteed, centuries-old form of reminding yourself to do things or listing daily tasks. Useful for meetings, shopping lists and notes for the milk man. Suitable for age 5+. Low cost, does not need recharging and will still work in the event of a technological blackout. As with all of the above platforms, does not work effectively when wet.

I am not a total Luddite so I’m going to give Todoist a try. At worst, I’ll probably never run out of milk again.