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Make the Most of Your Time by Sorting and Cross Referencing Your ToDo List by Activity

Effective time management means avoiding unnecessary repeat actions that waste time and money. With a busy schedule and a long list of ToDos, its easy to find yourself running in circles going back to a store to buy forgotten items, or calling someone two or three times when once was all you needed. Grouping your ToDo items by activity can solve this problem.

ON THE PALMTOP

I use a custom NoteTaker ToDo list instead of Appointment Books ToDo list because the custom list lets me use Subsets to sort my ToDos in useful ways. I developed this system because my ToDos tend to fall in a number of distinct types. For example, I have CALLS I need to make, things I want to READ, items I want to BUY, places I need to GO, etc.

The problem with Appointment Books ToDo list is that I wasted a lot of time scrolling through the list. For example, if I had some time for phone calls, I had to go through a list of 50 or so unrelated ToDo items to find the calls I needed to make. I needed a way to quickly list all the ToDos of a particular type, sorted by importance.

The NoteTaker Solution

Open a new NoteTaker file on the HP 100/200LX and save it as TODOLIST. Then start entering your ToDos as individual items in NoteTaker (press (F2) to add a new ToDo item). Enter your ToDo items as described below:

1. In the Title field --Enter the general type of the ToDo. You can create your own types, but I use those listed below. Don't forget to put a colon (:) after Go, etc., or when you sort for these Subsets you will pull up entries that include words like Golf and Got.

If you enter more than one type of activity in the Title field (e.g. Go shopping can be a Go: and a Buy:) you can bring the item up in more than one Subset thereby cross referencing it.

  • Write: Letters I want or need to write.
  • Go: Things I have do away from home (for example, mail a package at the post office).
  • Buy: Items I need to buy.
  • Call: Any phone calls I need to make.
  • Do: Anything I want or need to do at home. This item does not include Calls, Writes, or Reads.
  • Read: Anything I want or need to read.
  • ?: Things I need to think about (e.g., What should I get Mom for her birthday?).
2. In the Category field -- I use the Category field to list items by importance. You can devise your own ranking scheme. I prioritize my ToDos as follows:

0 -- Do today!

1 -- Important.

3 -- Not important.

9 -- Don't bother (for things I might want to do someday, but I don't want to delete).

3. In the Notes field -- Enter a description of the ToDo here (e.g., Get Bills birthday present, etc.).

4. Use Subsets to display ToDos -- The Subsets are the key to this system. I have Subsets defined to display my Gos, Calls, Buys, Dos, Reads, and ?s. For example, to define the Buy Subset in NoteTaker, I press (F6) (Subset) (F2) (Define) and key in Buy: in the Title field. I press (F10), name the Subset Buy and press (F10) again. Whenever I select that Subset, only my Buy ToDos are displayed.

Paul Merrill

Associate Editor, HP Palmtop Paper

iPhone Life magazine


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