Thursday, March 17, 2011

How I Organize My Life

Last spring my dh bought me an iTouch.  One of the first apps I looked for was a planner, a task manager.  I looked at quite a few, tried out a couple, and settled on an app called 2do.  This has become a mainstay of my life organization.  I use it to keep track of general tasks that need to be done, kids' school schedules, kids' chores, whose turn it is to do various things for which the kids take turns, gifts I need to buy, prayer requests, trip planning, event planning--you name it, I'm tracking it here!

I'm going to try to describe *how* I use 2do to track all of this.

First, I set up my "calendar tabs".  These sort the tasks on my list into various separate screens, each with its own colored label. 

When I choose a view that includes all the calendars together, each task item shows a colored bubble identifying the calendar to which it is assigned.  Therefore I defined my calendar tabs as people in my household, so that I could easily see which person needed to do which task.

I also began assigning tasks to categories.  These don't display unless you drill down to the details of a task, but I can search for a category and then define a custom calendar tab that isn't really a separate calendar but that displays the results of that search.  So I can make a tab that shows all the "school" items anytime I click on it, for instance.

A couple of types of tasks needed special handling.  School tasks and chores didn't work as well when they were defined just as regular tasks--they tended to overwhelm the to-do list so that other tasks were obscured.

Chores I set up as a special type of list item called a checklist.  The individual items on the checklist are not set up to repeat, but the checklist itself is set to repeat weekly.  So during the week we mark off the items as they are done, and at the end of the week we mark off the whole checklist, and it regenerates itself with all its items just as it was before, but with a new due date.

School I set up as a special type of list item called a project.  This way I could assign a time to each item.  However, this type of list item causes each to do on it to display individually on the calendar, and I wanted them all to be contained inside the project like the checklist items were.  I only wanted to see the individual items when I drilled down.  So after I defined all the tasks and assigned them their times, I changed the type of list item for the "school" project from project to checklist.  The times remained (but I can't change them without changing back to project) but the tasks no longer show up unless I drill down inside of school.

One other key point:  when you set the recurrence for a task, you have the option of having the item repeat "on due date" or "on completion".  That means that when you mark the task as completed, it will generate a new task with a due date that is either based on the date on which you marked it as complete or the date on which is was due to be completed.  For some tasks it doesn't really matter.  But for others this is important.  For instance, if I forget to mark school as completed on Monday, but I mark it on Tuesday, I still want it to generate a new school item due on Tuesday.  That means I want to set my recurrence based "on due date" so that it regenerates on the next day after the items was due.  If I had marked "on completion" that item that I marked as complete on Tuesday would regenerate as due on Wednesday.


  1. I like the way you set this up. It looks like you have put a lot of thought and effort into it. Thank you for going through the details!

  2. This is an absolutely amazing program. It's well worth the money in the app store. I bought it a few months ago for work (I am the Operations Director for 3 separate locations across MS and TX) and I was very frazzled trying to keep it all together and organized. This app saved me! Now, I not only use it for work but for EVERYTHING else too...home, school, etc. Thanks for a great post! I've only recently noticed the projects vs checklist function and your post gave me some good ideas for my own app. Thanks!