Tag Archives: to do list

9 Paper Planners, Perfect For To-Do Lists & Goal-Setting

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

After a lifetime of using strictly paper calendars, this year I made the momentous decision to leave behind all I’ve ever known and venture into the world of virtual calendar-keeping. I know; major emotional upheaval.

The paper-lover in me feels like a first-class betrayal artist, while the efficiency-addict is busy whispering, “one less thing to have to carry with you.”  And, “Remember how you started talking pictures of your paper calendar pages when you went away because you didn’t feel like lugging your calendar with you?? I mean, I can’t even with that.”

So here we (I) are. Boldly going where everyone else has gone before. And three days in, I’m ready to admit: you guys weren’t wrong to ditch your paper calendars. The increased ease with which scheduling occurs is marked. (Though I’m not yet jumping for joy; it seems a little rude to flaunt my new relationship when my old one’s conclusion is still so fresh, you know?)

But for all the digital conversion I’m ready to get behind as far as proper calendar, appointment scheduling goes, I am sticking to paper for planning. I must insist that there is something missing when you subtract the actual writing-down aspect to the creation of to do lists, shopping lists, and even goal setting and tracking.

The act of writing down a whole bushel of tasks to which you must attend, people you need to call, items you need to order, and even a handful of very important dates, can serve not only to capture all those fleeting details, but to also to alleviate anxiety. The physical transfer of thought from mind to paper can help to make you feel less scattered and less overwhelmed.

And, there’s this: if you implement this concept properly (read: committing to a single planning tool, rather than one million and seven different post it pads, notebooks, scratch paper, etc.) your actionable tasks can always be top of mind and right in sight, as your selected notepad/planner/wall calendar can live atop your desk/counter/wall/fridge. No scrolling or app-opening required. 

Anyhow, go with what works. If paper’s it for you, here’s a few: 

9 Paper Planners, Perfect For To-Do Lists & Goal-Setting


1. Today is the day notepad

2. Productivity Planner

3. The Happiness planner 

4. What’s for dinner pad

5. The Hatch Ideas Notebook a notebook that began as a “Kickstarter that overachieved its pledge goal by 2,080%. This 3-step system will help generate an idea you’re excited about, and take it from concept to launch.”

6. Let’s Do This! Notepad

7. Foil Blotter Wall Calendar

8. Jumbo weekly task pad

9. Tall on the wall calendar



The Gmail Trick I Wish I’d Found Out About Sooner

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I wish I had found out about this Gmail trick sooner!!

For as long as I can remember (and as long as I’ve been using Gmail), I’ve been keeping track of emails that need a response by re-marking them as unread after I’ve read them. On the whole, doing this is about as much of a nuisance as email is, and, while fairly unsophisticated, this method has worked well enough for me.

Except, every so often it will occur to me that there must be a better way. I’ve had a nagging voice in the back of my head going, “Well, this seems like a pretty low-tech, idiot-solution…I’m going to feel really stupid one day when I finally ask around and find out how other people accomplish this.”

Eventually, the “how does everyone else handle this?” curiosity got the better of me, and I started asking around. Turns out, everyone else is using the same dumb technique I’ve been all along. Well, sure, there are those that star emails requiring response rather than marking them as unread, but on the whole, same strategy.

This might well be proof of the fact that the mousetrap is working fine enough in its current iteration. It might. Or, it might mean those most people haven’t figured out a different way, and no one’s trying to log more time than necessary in their inbox.

So, in what is potentially a breakthrough and potentially entirely unnecessary, I give you my recent email revelation.

It was a complete accident, is what it was. A mis-click. Over-eager fingers–the kind that inadvertently “archive” a message, which then causes it to disappear forever, and you’re left wondering for all eternity, “what is archiving, anyway??” But then you definitely don’t look it up because blah. (Don’t tell me if you know, you’ll ruin the mystery.)

I must have meant to click mark as unread, but clicked instead on “Add to Tasks,” and then, like magic, a little to-do list popped up on my screen.–Wait, what is that? Tasks?? Where’ve you been hiding this Google?

If I were to summarize, I would say that Tasks is Simply a to-do list that automatically attaches the related email in the list. Not only can you see at a glance what individual tasks or messages you need to get to, you can also, with one click, re-access the corresponding message.

Here’s how it looks, should you care:

In an email, click the “More” tab. Then click “Add to Tasks.”

I wish I had found out about this Gmail trick sooner!!


The email will automatically appear on your tasks list (I’ve popped it out here).


I wish I had found out about this Gmail trick sooner!!


You can click on the title of the task and easily rename it. You can also click that little arrow on the right…

and add a due date, add notes, and even (if you’ve created multiple Tasks lists) designate it to a certain list.


I wish I had found out about this Gmail trick sooner!!


You can also easily shift the list around by click on the “Actions” tab, as well as print the list, email it, sort by due dates, etc.


I wish I had found out about this Gmail trick sooner!!


You can also manually add items to your list by clicking on the line below your last entry, or pressing the + button.

Should you click out of the list and find it’s disappeared (with the archives, no doubt), revive it by clicking on the “Gmail” tab on the left sidebar, and then click on Tasks.


I wish I had found out about this Gmail trick sooner!!


That baby will pop right back up.

I genuinely have no idea whether this will be of interest or help to anyone, but as I’ve been finding it to be an email breakthrough, I figured, hey, I’ve got this blog and all, and we’re all mammals after all, doing our best to stay abreast of the ways of the digital world. Why not?

P.S. Remember when they made a movie about a person Having Mail? How uproariously funny is that? Can you imagine J Law and Bradley Cooper starring in a movie today whose plotline revolved around their Having Email?? Let’s all just L.O.L. at THAT. 

Lead image credit: unknown

18 Ways To Be Less Scattered In Your Daily Life

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

simple tips for living with less stress and overwhelm and more organization and productivity--sign me up!!

1. Use a master notebook or scheduling and list-making system. Stop using a dozen different notebooks, scraps of napkins, a zillion post-its.

2. Eliminate the obvious distractions. Turn off email alerts on your phone. Utilize the Do Not Disturb feature during certain hours.

3. Make phone dates ahead of time with friends, family, and business contacts to avoid the annoyance of playing phone tag.

4. Prepare. The way to avoid feeling frenetic is to be prepared so that when crunch time arrives, the next step is obvious. Prep your meals by pre-washing and chopping produce, have your work bag packed the night before, etc.

5. Stop trying to do it all.

6. Do not overcommit. When in doubt, say, “Let me think/double check on that.” Don’t automatically say,”YES!”

7. Before committing to anything or anyone, communicate expectations and clarify deadlines. (“I’d love to help you out with that. When do you need that from me by?” Or: “I’d love to have your help with that; when is the soonest you can get that to me by?”)

8. Schedule admin time. With yourself. At your desk. Every week. If not every day. Use that time to update your calendar, answer emails, schedule appointments, handle incoming papers, etc.

9. Batch your tasks.

10. Don’t expect you’ll remember any important details or task reminders “later.” Capture it when it occurs to you.

11. Turn it off, tune it out, quiet the crazy.

12. Give yourself a twenty-minute buffer. Always. Anytime you go anywhere. If you aim for twenty, you might end up with 5 or 10, and we all know, these crucial down-to-the-wire minutes make all the difference.

13. Assume it will take longer than you think it will. See above.

14. Be where you are. Work on being present in the moment.

15. Commit to showing up for yourself in one spirit-feeding, life-giving way every day.

16. Routine. Get one.

17. To-do list–make one.

18. Review your to-do list for tomorrow before you go to bed at night.

Image credit: “Head Strong” by Giampaolo Sgura for Allure US September 2015