Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Going Back to Todo.txt

You might recall the three-month challenge I undertook earlier this year to try to organize myself on paper. It was an interesting and enlightening experiment, but in the end I discovered organizing myself with pen and paper wasn’t for me.

That had nothing to do with what some people consider to be pen and papers limitations. It’s just that I couldn’t adapt to to the analogue method as fully or as successfully as I wanted to.

Towards the end of the challenge, I started thinking about going back to using a digital task list. I also wanted to keep it simple and portable.

For the longest time, Todo.txt was my task list manager of choice. It’s simple and it’s portable. It’s also plain text, which is a plus in my book.

I stopped using Todo.txt about three years ago. The problem was that I do much of my work on a Chromebook. When I was using Todo.txt regularly, there was no way to work with it on the Chromebook.

Sure, I could have grabbed my smartphone or tablet and used the the Todo.txt Touch app when I wanted to work with my task list. That wasn’t an acceptable or efficient solution.

So, sadly Todo.txt fell off my list of must-use tools.

Fast forward to summer, 2014/2015 (winter, 2014/2015 for those of you in the northern hemisphere). By chance, I dropped by the Todo.txt website and noticed that list of apps that support Todo.txt had expanded to include several web apps. And a search of the Chrome Web Store turned up an app and an extension that work with it.

That convinced me to go back to Todo.txt and give it another try. Installed the Chrome app on my Chromebook and haven’t looked back. I’d found the missing piece of the puzzle.

I now use Todo.txt on my Chromebook, my tablet, and on my Linux-powered laptop.

I’ve heard some people complain about Todo.txt being too simple or not having enough functionality (whatever that means). That’s exactly why it’s the perfect task manager for me. Todo.txt does what I need it to do. No more, no less.

How I Use Todo.txt

Just like any other to-do list: to queue up my tasks for the current day and the next day. Nothing magical, nothing complex.

I do add priorities to my tasks, so I know which ones to tackle first. And, to ensure that I work on the tasks for a particular day, I tag them with @due:[date] — for example, @due:2015/06/08. If I can’t finish a task on a particular day, I just change the due date to the next day.

As I said, simple. But effective.

To be honest, I forgot how much I enjoyed using Todo.txt. Its simplicity, and the fact that it stays out of my way until I need it is a bonus. As I wrote a few paragraphs ago, Todo.txt does what I need it to do. Which makes it the ideal tool for me.

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