A while ago I decided I needed to take more responsibility to run my blog as a professional. The problem I found pretty quickly was that my blogging work was often getting lost in the shuffle of all the other things I had to do. Same with my freelance work, stuff for Graham’s school, my own errands, etc.
I thought back longingly to high school when I had a daily planner. It was the only way I could survive back then. Otherwise I just forgot about assignments. Every day would get completely filled up and every day I’d come home and look at what was on my to-do list and prioritize accordingly.
Of course, the paper planner is a tough one these days. And honestly, I don’t know that it would work. I find out about some things months in advance, but still need the regular reminders. I have recurring jobs and some that have very specific guidelines I’d like to attach.
So I went on a search for a task management system that worked for me.
I read a lot of articles, I tried a few programs out, but I finally settled on one. I’m still not perfect, sometimes I forget to add a task or don’t include a reminder, but otherwise? It’s pretty darn awesome. So today I’m here to share the beauty of Wunderlist with you.
What I Wanted
There are lots of task systems out there and I didn’t hate most of what I tried. But what I really wanted was something with a calendar integration. Something where I could see timelines visually. A lot of people like Google Calendar, but my calendar is already too full. It’s got kid stuff and custody info, and I tend to use it just for actually scheduled events so I don’t forget where I need to be and when. Adding deadlines in there would make it too crazy, plus it wouldn’t have the ability to divide things into task by group. That was one bonus of Asana, the one I used for the longest before finally switching to Wunderlist. I loved the way I could divide my work into folders, because so much of what I do falls into a huge variety of categories.
But ultimately I couldn’t figure out how to get calendars I wanted in Asana and I didn’t have the time to try to work it through. I needed something intuitive and simple. I also wanted something that had the kind of checklist approach with tasks and subtasks that I’d used and liked in Asana.
I also wanted something with a web-based app and a phone app. I love having a web format so that I can really see everything in a lot of detail. But phone is crucial since I often need to access info on the go, or I find out about something while I’m not at home.
Oh, and did I mention free? Free was a requirement.
Organizing with Wunderlist
Let’s start from the broad and work to the specific. On my Wunderlist page, I have a menu divided into a few categories.
Everyone has Inbox, Today, and Week. The rest of the folders are up to you to create. As you can see, my first few are all blog post related. There are more. Many, many more.
I use Inbox for the random stuff in life. Right now I have a note to cancel a service, renew my P.O box, call my car insurance company, etc. These things don’t necessarily have a firm deadline but I like to keep track of them.
Today and Week are set automatically based on deadlines you’ve entered. So I have one past-due item that’s showing up in my “Today” list because of the deadline I set. And I have 5 things due this week.
Wunderlist doesn’t quite have the huge calendar I was hoping for, BUT I’ve found that the Today and Week views are more than enough to cover myself and plan my tasks accordingly.
Tasks and Subtasks
If you create a task and click on it, you get this little menu on your right side:
With this one screenshot you can probably see why I like Wunderlist so much. I can associate everything I could possibly need with a task: subtasks, comments, notes, attached files, deadlines, reminders, you name it.
This way I have the flexibility to take a project and make it either a folder or a task depending on how complex it is. The reminders come to my phone and my desktop so they get me no matter what. I can edit any of it, including the deadline if that changes.
Oh, and have I mentioned that for you to-do list lovers, whenever you check something off your list, you’re rewarded with a “Ding.”
As a blogger and person with too much stuff to do, I divide my life into folders. For the blog itself I divide posts into categories. This is helping a lot already, since I would often forget about a review while I was waiting for product or after the product arrived. I divide them into Waiting for Product, Waiting for Photos, and Ready to Post. I have a separate folder for sponsored posts, since these usually involve deadlines and specific tasks.
I have another section for my freelance writing gigs, where I put reminders for my regular work as well as adding the one-offs I may pick up along the way.
There’s a section for Listen To Your Mother (OMG we’re getting started soon!!) and one for the Parent Council at Graham’s school.
Oh, and I even have one for groceries, so I can check and see what I’m forgetting when I’m at the store or making a list.
The only deadlines I’ve missed since I started using Wunderlist are the ones I forgot to add to Wunderlist. You can’t necessarily stop human error 100%, but you can sure put a dent in it.
I have no connection to Wunderlist. I just really like this program.