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Ask HN: Do you plan your next day ahead?
129 points by robschia 160 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 76 comments
If so, what tools do you use, apart from to-do lists?

For the last 3 years I've been trying to find a way to organize my life.

Before that I was in a rebellious phase, I didn't believe in time management and plans. I thought they caused stress and inefficiency. I thought there was enough time for everything.

However, then I crashed and realized that professionalism and proper planning have their place. But I could not and cannot manage to adopt a system.

I tried org-mode, the to-do list on my phone, some calendar apps. I tried the flash card system from Cal Newport's book Focus. I managed to stick to it for a week, and actually got some work done.

Nowadays I don't plan ahead, if something needs my attention and needs to be done I write down a checklist for the task with minimum self-explanatory items on a piece of paper.

Most things that I perceive as tasks are either not important in the end, or they go away. The ones that remain receive my undivided honest attention and in the meantime I procrastinate.

I don't trust myself, so I don't plan ahead. If I plan, I don't think I'll stick to it. If a task has the potential to haunt me, make me anxious and rob me of my sleep, I try to be cautious with it and get it done ASAP. Other than these types of tasks, I don't force myself to do anything and simply pass the time.

I wish I could be an organized person, procrastinate less, tidy up, live healthier etc. But knowing from experience that it's quite unlikely that I'll do all that, I try to focus on the bare essentials and try to feel less guilt.

The thing to realize is that you are planning, you're just keeping it all in your head instead of writing it down. That can often work, but one of the things I found when I started formal planning is that getting all those tasks out of your head onto paper actually relieves stress and increases efficiency. At least for me, I found that it causes a lot of unconscious anxiety to have that stuff in your head. I realized that when I was relaxing I was actually unsettled, going through in my mind whether I was forgetting something. And when switching tasks, it takes a lot of time to sort through your mental task list to figure out what to work on next.

What made it "stick" for me was getting an Apple Watch. On one hand I can add a reminder trivially with Siri. On the other hand, I can put my tasks on my watch face so I'm constantly reminded to actually check and maintain my list. Obviously, YMMV, but for someone who has struggled with organization since I was a kid, that was a game changer.

As for the point about minor tasks: little tasks will often go away, but that doesn't meant here are no consequences. One of the things that made me get a formal task management system was my wife getting sick of me blowing off household todos. Not because I wasn't doing my fair share of the actual grunt work like cooking, etc., but because by blowing off all the little things I was by default making her do all the task management and planning.

"Most things that I perceive as tasks are either not important in the end, or they go away. The ones that remain receive my undivided honest attention and in the meantime I procrastinate."

Every honest organization system is trying to teach you that very point.

You can amass an infinite tasklist in finite time, but only the important things matter. It's much better to accomplish one important thing in a day than twenty inconsequential jobs.

...the difficulty is in discovering what isn't important.

Don't downplay the significance of small jobs though - investing a few hours in housework, server configuration or refactoring can all pay off hugely in my experience.

You might get something out of a Gretchen Rubin's 4 tendencies idea if you haven't already come across it. Disclaimer, I don't use this in my life, it's just something I've been meaning to look into http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2013/10/what-kind...

Cautionary tale.

I use the bullet journal system, which is essentially a way to structuralize a notebook. Instead of removing redundancy, it embraces it.

1. Make yourself a very brief year plan

2. Every month refer to year plan and go into detail as needed for that month.

3. At the beginning of every week, make a plan while referring to the month plan.

4. In the morning give yourself a daily plan or keep notes to help stay on track.

I really like having to go back and forth between time scales, it helps me keep track of what I'm doing and also answers the question I've also had with previous note taking apps: how does what I'm doing today fit into the rest of my life?

Hint: if you're interested in learning about bullet journaling, stay away from Instagram, pintrist, and tumblr - people have a tendency to turn this amazing productivity tool into an art contest, and it only gives the illusion that the barrier to entry is higher than it really is

> if you're interested in learning about bullet journaling, stay away from Instagram, pintrist, and tumblr - people have a tendency to turn this amazing productivity tool into an art contest, and it only gives the illusion that the barrier to entry is higher than it really is

This is exceptionally good advice for any kind of organizational system. It's really easy for me to get down on myself for not creating these robust, beautiful pieces of art that memorialize my experiences and help me work. I used to have a tendency to view organizational systems as much more difficult than they are. Now, I use a very basic task list that's on my computer and phones, that is organized by due dates and projects. I don't let myself get down when I miss a due date, or I forget to document everything for a couple days. I just hop back on and keep working.

I use bullet journal, basically, but I just write my points at night for the next day (I find it too hard to get started in the mornings if I have to make a list, by the end of the day I know everything I want to do the next).

It's just a damn mess of scribbles and dots, to be honest. But it works great.

Absolutely right about art part. My bullet Journal is on a simple notebook, using only left side of paper, not the both sides of sheet. Yes, monthly plans exist, but otherwise its just a checklist with date as heading. I try to tick as many as possible items, but in the end of week or month whatever is pending, has too little chance of getting done. Wider topics gets their own collections, like vacation preps.

No fancy color pens, no washi tape, no artwork, no clean handwriting, no tabs. Just pen, paper, page numbers.

I also tried using bullet-journaling for a while but fell back to the yearwise hardcover diary of sorts (something like my father used)[1]. I think that does the job easily without me getting bothered by creating things like monthly and yearly calendar and some other lists. The templates are already present.

Just for information, did you pick up bullet journal after using any other (paper or web) tools? Were there any advantages compared to the other tools?

Having said that, my problem is more about following the systems religiously rather than starting them. For example, creating a morning ritual to plan my day/month/etc. has been a difficult task because most of the times I plainly forget about it. :(


I never used those notebooks because they contain too much structure. If I miss a week then I have a number of blank pages, and I would rather have consecutive pages of text rather than blank pages when I didn't plan anything. YMMV

I use Evernote quite a bit, but it was a bit restrictive for me when I tried to do my planning in either using my phone or the desktop/web application. I like to doodle and make quick tables - basically just using a pen and paper. Evernote ended up being too slow for me as well, now I have a notebook with some bookmark ribbons to switch between my yearly and weekly planning sheets. That is difficult to do with Evernote IMO.

As for following it religiously, I miss weeks as well, and I don't really note my days as much as I probably should. What I do make sure to keep consistent is a weekly plan, and right now I'm able to get one week done in about 5 minutes - enough for a cup of coffee on Sunday morning. I think the secret is to keep it as short and sweet as possible. I used to take 30 minutes or more, but that ended up being overkill and I didn't look forward to creating my layouts. Now planning my week is easy and I look forward to it

This right here! Many people try to make bullet journaling an art, though it's supposed to be quick and easy, not time consuming and pretty.

Here's what works best for me:

Write down big life goals for 6 months, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years and 30 years. Every month, re-read/revise your list. This allows your subconscious to calibrate what truly matters to you. When I say every month, it's loose, everytime you feel you can't remember the essence of your life goals, you should read them again and think if they still relate to you.

Every morning, choose to get started on one and only one action that moves you forward to one of your long term life goals. Try to get started on it that day. Always remember patience is key, and focus only on trying to get the smallest amount of progress done that day. If you do more, so be it, as long as it wasn't effortful. If you've done any progress, feel good, and really allow yourself to relax, do whatever lazy or fun things of the moment you feel like doing, and know you're making progress and that things are going to workout for you.

This is based on these assumptions:

1) We always overestimate what can be accomplished in a month, but underestimate what can be accomplished in a year.

2) Productivity is not about getting lots of things done, but getting the most important things done, without wasting time on the things that provide little lasting value.

3) Most things we want to accomplish we do not because we want to, but because we feel we need too. When thats the case, no amount of planning will help, since you're true subconscious lacks the needed motivation. Therefore it is better to focus on accomplishing what you truly want.

4) Most people don't have that many things they truly want to accomplish.

What does a 30 year goal look like? "Be successful in life"? "Have great kids"?

Can't help but think that I'll probably be close to dying in 30 years, so I'm not sure what my goal can be, other than "be able not to forget who I am, have some money to live, and not shit my pants"

The 30 year one is great, because it makes you realize how very few things matters in the long run. It helps put perspective on all the other goals.

If you are very ambitious, you can think of things that would take close to 30 years to achieve like any kind of scientific discovery, or becoming a senator, or president, or coach to a professional sports team, etc.

I'm not that ambitious, so I have goals that relate more towards the legacy I want to leave behind and the environment I'd want for myself when I'm old. Examples would be things like: I have children who think of me positively, I'm inspiring to others (could specify in what way if you want), I've lived a life of honesty, I've been fair to others, I'm retired, I'm as healthy as can be, I live in the company of loved ones, I have an active social life, I have more then 5 friends I still talk to regularly, I have the means to sustain myself, I'm still active in a hobby, I have no regret, etc.

The 30 year goal basically forces you to define for yourself what it means to have a great and successful life. When I did it, I realized that for me, having real strong meaningful relationships was most important, I couldn't think that 30 years from now anything else would matter to me. So maybe in 10 years I want to become a Principal engineer, but in 30 years I won't care if I did or not, but I'd care if I lost all my friends and sabotaged my social life.

Its toughest to come up with the 30 year goals, but the exercise is worth it I think.

> "be able not to forget who I am, have some money to live, and not shit my pants"

Seems like those deserve a place in all of the 6 months, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years and 30 years goals. At least one of them is achievable? Right?

Lol. I like you.

In a vague sense only, and only if strictly necessary - eg. travel, meetings. I actually strongly seek to avoid any fixed time commitments any day of the week, or indeed to have to be aware of what day of the week or month of the year it is, because it create needless overhead through "unflowable time". The critical cause is service providers unavailable 24x7x365 where my preference is uncommon (eg. after waking up early in the morning, it is frequently impossible to swim or eat although I would like to). I avoid alarms. To do lists are a rarity. I try not to block others and prioritize giving them positively framed critical feedback or research output ASAP over my own work.

Pen, paper.

I have a legal pad, one day per sheet, taking notes throughout the day. Anything requiring follow up gets an asterisk.

End of the day, tear off the sheet, write out the asterisked things for the next day.

I love the simplicity of this.

As far as work, I make sure to always finish my day with a thing or two half-started. I find the itch to finish these is far more powerful as a progress driver than a completed checklist that gives me mental permission to relax.

Granted, this is definitely not the ticket to work-life balance if that's what you're looking for.

When I really need to be productive on multiple fronts simultaneously, I use a version of this. At the end of each day I'll write down a 'plan for tomorrow' with the items I plan on working on. This is a deliberately ambitious list, so I don't expect to finish everything. This gives me flexibility in case items are blocked, and makes sure if I have a really good day I still don't run out of tasks. The task list then gets updated as tasks are finished or blocked, and the unfinished tasks form the start of the next list.

I can't find a source, but I can paraphrase a quote I like: "Never quit for a day when all the tests are passing, always leave yourself something obvious to start with the next day"

Yes, I'll sometimes leave a simple failing test so I know exactly what to do next.

I've tried many tools and nothing sticks. And if it requires me to type on a phone or turn on my laptop, they are not effective. The stuff to do come to mind at any moment: while washing dishes, while working on other stuff, when I'm out and about.

The only thing that works for me is, when I wake up, brew a cup of coffee and sit with a paper notepad, and write down my tasks. During the day I'll think of something I need to do for tomorrow and I'll write it down.

Better yet, keep your notepad with you, especially when going to bed. At that time, you might have one of those "oh shit!" moments, when you forgot to do something important. Write it down. No need to fiddle about with any app.

Also, pro tip: accept the fact that you'll never finish all the tasks for the day. There'll always be something you forgot/didn't have the energy to do. It's OK.

I work as a developer on client projects--my technique currently is to leave myself a small todo list towards the end of work in Simplenote or a github comment. Then I shut the work side of my mind off, enjoy my evening and sleep, wake up, start on TODO list, and if other client needs arise, hop on those and get back to TODO list later. Rinse, repeat.

If applicable, my tip is to allow yourself to enjoy the evening without thinking too much about work, so you feel rested and refreshed to tackle the next day.

I have most recently been trying to plan out at least 6 months ahead. How I am approaching this was inspired by some life events and some videos I had seen on Youtube.

I really liked this video by Scott Hanselmann (https://youtu.be/FS1mnISoG7U?t=8m2s) about scaling yourself and I liked this video that came out recently (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO1mTELoj6o) about behaviours that maximize your misery.

What I took from these two videos is that goals are important and in order to reach these goals, you need to find a way to keep yourself accountable without creating goals that are vague or unattainable.

I have just started writing a bunch of to-do lists on Google Keep and then I try to group various tasks and assign 3 per day. The goal is to focus on 3 things per day that build into 3 major areas of focus for the week which fuels 3 goals for the month... and so forth.

With that said, I missed some of the to-do's for a couple of days for this last week, but I prioritized other items that had come up spontaneously and completed the majority of the to-do's. At the very least, when I fail, I can at least look at what I had accomplished and not feel as bad.

Hope this helps.

Pile of Index Cards, and a very loose set of goals / tasks.


I find the physicality of cards is highly useful. I could use a better set of categories for specific activities, but that requires some changes to working space and desk.

I'm coming to rebel against a tremendous amount of electronic and online tools, as well as find the merits of not only pen-and-paper based systems, but of the critical utility of a dedicated office and work space.

Not that I'm fully there yet, but the highly-mobile, transitory, digital, and ephemeral mode (which I've attempted, for several decades) simply isn't suited to in-depth work.

Which becomes patently obvious when reading much of that written by those who espouse that.

Before I leave work I set everything up so I can hit the ground running hard the next day. Relevant files and requirements open and pertinent information set to remind as I go through the morning. Before I go to bed I prep my lunch for the next day to cook in the morning, and hang my clothes in the bathroom. I use (according to friends, abuse) Siri with time and location specific reminders for everything else. Also I keep a small sketchbook where I write down more general long term reminders and use it as stress release (can't figure out a problem? Draw my hand, or make a repeating geometric pattern till something useful comes to mind). Also emailing myself frequently. And voice notes. I'm not organized, but I stay organized with that mishmash

I tried doing it as a 30 day challenge. Those were by far my most productive days -- probably because taking a couple of minutes to figure out what was the most important to do that day meant I knew what to focus on.

Just curious, why didn't you stick with it?

Well, you can already deduce one fact regarding your question from OP: a 30-day challenge that brings its user a clear and obvious benefit does not work (at least, we know it does not work 100% of the time) as a way to introduce and stick with a productive and positive habit, even where the burden of that habit is low.

Some other way, different from a "30-day challenge" must be used to introduce the habit, because this method does not work (or at least does not work 100% of the time).

sorry it took so long to answer. I am not busy enough that it is needed, most of the time.

After using kanban for Dev and Ops work and really digging it I started using a Trello board for my personal tasks and found it to be invaluable

Each task gets a Trello card and goes in one of four columns: Backlog, Ready, Doing, Done. I also have a bunch of labels (which Trello colour-codes) for things like "house", "blog posts", "projects" etc so I can see at a glance what type of task a card represents.

If I have a random idea for a project or something I might get to when I have some free time I stick it in Backlog so I remember it and can add notes etc. Things that need doing like "Mow the lawn", "Put down a batch of home brew", "Get the car serviced", "Call X about Y" go into Ready in rough order of priority. If something has a hard deadline I can add that to the card.

When a project or a blog post idea is at a point where I'm ready to start it I move it from Backlog to Ready, also roughly prioritised amongst the other cards. When I start a task I move it from Ready to Doing. As is generally the goal with kanban I try not to have too many tasks in Doing at once. Try to finish one thing before starting the next.

When I finish a task I move it to Done. Very satisfying...:)

Trello is free, has a great web interface and an excellent mobile app that will give you notifications when deadlines are coming or if other users comment on your board (if it's shared).

TL;DR: This is just an add-on to OP's question - how it has worked for me. I've been following this and I'm looking for a better way to track.

I was experimenting with it a couple of days and here's a quick brief.

How: All I used was Apple Notes on my phone to plan out the whole of next day the previous night. I would break the sections into "Morning", "Afternoon", "Evening", "Night" and add multiple checkboxes that act as to-dos for each part of the day.

Did it work?

Yes, and I would really recommend it. It feels great and gives you superpowers since you already know what to do during the day, and that you don't have to randomly find things to work on as your day progresses. This majorly improved my morning schedule which I would otherwise spend on checking emails, partially reading HN & Medium, oscillate between applications and be distracted. This also improved my productivity and I felt I should be checking off items one by one. The balance from the day would move to the next day, if applicable.

Why did I pause: The same reason OP started this thread for. I wanted to have a better way to handle the habits, and get an idea on how I perform and my completeness ratio. There are certain habits that get replicated across days. Notes is just meant to be a note-taking app. I wanted to try Trello with lists for each part of the day, but again, the completeness part is what I am really interested in.

I'm a freelancer, and I set my own schedule.

I've logged virtually everything I've done in the past three years into Google Calendar. This is a way to get feedback on my actions, rather than listing my intentions.

If it's a task I need to do daily, I build it into my morning or nightly routine. For example, my "sit down at desk" routine is to review and block out my time for the day in gcal. If it's not important enough that I don't remember it, don't have an automatic email reminder or it's not already on my calendar, than it's not important enough for me to think about.

I also have built a habit of "frontloading" work, and doing necessary but distracting (domestic) things as soon as possible so they are off of my plate.

Giving full concentration to tasks in my brain requires multi day thinking, so I have to sort of 'soak' in the project context. For concrete deliverable based tasks in development I'll use whichever PMS is appropriate and block/log my time appropriately.

I have a dev-journal.org for things I want to remember or side project tangents I'll want to go down later, as well as tracking arcane bash commands I rarely use etc.

I used to use iCal (I find it superior to gcal for many reasons) until I moved to using Debian full time.

So do you put current or future tasks on your Google Calendar, with expected start and end times, at the level of feature to be implemented, say (assuming you mostly a coder)?

I use org mode to write what is in my mind when I wake up and when I'm close to go to bed. And I record some current stats too (like weight, humor, anxiety, etc). Have been doing it for 2 years. It helped me a lot to get back on track after a failed startup and set long term goals, like get and keep a job.

I recently started using an obscure app on Mac called DayMap. I'm really loving it. I'm usually working on multiple projects and this has a nice day/task/week 1-screen view split by project that helps me keep the big picture in front of me all the time.

I like the one called priority matrix -- it syncs between all my devices. The mobile version is free https://sync.appfluence.com/manage/downloads/ It has a high priority/low priority urgent/nonurgent split

No, but one thing that has helped tremendously: at the start of every day I figure out the total hours that I will work. Then I make a list of tasks I want to get done and put a guesstimate of how long each should take me. I start with the most important task and use timer-tab.com on stopwatch mode to see if my guesstimate was right. Sometimes things take longer than I've guessed, but it's consoling to know I'm making progress on the most important thing that day, even if it's the only one. When I finish a task a bit quicker than I've estimated, it's a great feeling. Whatever is undone just goes on the following day's list.

Pretty low tech, but I use a notebook with a pen.

Me too. Best app so far, lol

Haha exactly.

I just can't imagine using a mobile/web app to replace that part of my workflow.

I've started doing this and it has done great things for my productivity. I just sit down with the trello board for my current project in one window and google calendar in the next window. I pick two cards, think about if I need to reach out to anyone in order to do them, and block out the time on my calendar. During the day, if I change what I'm doing, I change the events on the calendar. It makes it much easier to focus more intensely on one thing.

I tried this when I was in uni and it didn't work at all --too many different assignments and I was trying to schedule out my whole day rather than 9:30am-6:30pm.

So you create an event "calling tom" from 09:00 to 09:30, then call tom? Then check how long that took, and adjust on calendar?

Yea, though I'm not strict about it. If the call was from 9:05 to 9:40, I leave the event alone.

Note that I've not tried doing this for a day when I've got a bunch of little tasks to push through.

I use an app I wrote: https://GitHub.com/ioddly/meditations

The point of it is more to encourage habit formation; I don't microplan my day, I try to do the same things every day. Wake up, meditate, exercise, code for several hours. When you have a strong routine established, deviating from it feels strange.

I have found limiting recreational internet use to be as important or moreso than any kind of planning for being productive.

nb. I just rewrote the whole frontend so apologies if anything is broken.

I collect appointments from Outlook (sigh!) and set a theme for the day in my private journal, using my own https://knowfox.com for this.

Interesting software, but I could hardly read the almost-white-fonts on the almost-white-background. :-(

I spent a lot of time trying different systems and finding I couldn't stick with one. Now I embrace the chaos of multiple systems.

I keep a bullet journal, which is mainly for journaling and long-term planning.

Some days I write a list of tasks on a piece of paper.

I put events with a definite time in my calendar (add with Fantastical, review with Calendar app, Week Cal + Fantastical on iPhone, Calendars 5 on iPad).

I put "someday" tasks and tasks that have a definite due date in Things on Mac and iOS (the new version is one of the best pieces of software I've ever used). The new Things also integrates calendar events into the "Today" view, which is quite useful. But I don't look at it every day.

Previously I used "2do" with "smart lists" corresponding to a priority matrix ("important urgent", "important not urgent", "not important urgent", "not important not urgent.") It was a bit too complicated and I switched to Things when the new version came out a couple months ago.

I also used to have a daily checklist in 2do, but after it became habit, I found I didn't need it anymore. I highly recommend a daily checklist for anyone recovering from burn-out, depression, or similar.

I've just switched to doing high-level planning in a "Master Plan" document in Quip. It's already quite detailed and covers most aspect of my life.

Otherwise lately I organize my days into 3 or 4 timed 1-2 hour focused work "zones", with as much ceremony as time affords, to the point of making special drinks, listening to specific music depending on the theme, and lighting candles.

I'm also experimenting with 3 10-minute open-ended thinking periods per day, for which I have alarms set in my phone.

The latter two habits have been very effective. I'd tried Pomodoro in the past, but I find that ceremony is important.

That sounds pretty exotic, but the major insight from the past 10 years of trying things is that finding the one right system is a fool's errand. Trying many different systems – the simpler the better – and letting them evolve naturally works best for me.

I make a rough plan of my next day the night before, and then flesh it out in the morning while I'm having my first cup of coffee. I felt there was a bit too much friction when using a calendar app or reminders app for really granular hour by hour planning, so I built my own iPhone app:


I use lists to organize everything I'm doing. Each separate project has a page with a list of specific tasks that will help me finish the project. I also have a general to-do list for chores that aren't recurring (fix the faucet vs take out the trash). Every morning I look at the lists and write a to-do list made up of the most pressing tasks that I think I can get done and what ever else I notice needs to be done that isn't written down. This is all with pen and paper

I've always been a fan of old school RPGs, so I like using habitica. You put in your tasks, and when you do them, you get gold and experience to buy items and level up. If you don't do them, you lose health. It makes it like a game.


I use Trello, with Todo, doing, deferred and done columns. If you want to go full scrum, great, but that's too much overhead. Signed wife up as well, so it works for both of us. I also have Alexa in four rooms to push my to do list into Trello via ifttt for those dishwashing moments. IMO, and off topic a bit, Amazon killed their dash button market when they packaged three Dots for $120.

I'm not sure why you are downvoted. It's not quite fair since you are answering the question. But in all honesty this kind of existence sounds strange to me.

Edit: changed horrific to strange. if my wife and I lived by todo lists on Alexa we would never have any fun.

I think I would agree with you, if I didnt have kids. But two kids under three, and you kind of dont know whats what after a few months.

My wife still uses pencil and pen so maybe someone will upvote me for that. Silly me thinking this was a tech audience.

> Amazon killed their dash button market when they packaged three Dots for $120

That's a strange way to put it; assuming you're right, I'd have thought that was a win for Amazon - up-selling people to what I presume is the more profitable product.

I use the Action Day Planner which is designed with Allan's GTD method in mind. I do not follow it very closely and one problem is that I don't always have it with me, but it works better than anything else I've tried before. I combine it with a notebook for work and a notebook for private projects.

Electronic PIMs have never worked for me, not even org mode.

I use software mindmaps for planning (all nodes always prioritized) and stickies for physicality when getting tasks done. 30 minutes per sticky, with the goal of only writing 30 minutes worth of work on a sticky. Brief break after some stickies. It works really well, too well sometimes. I have to limit the amount of stickies per day or I get burned out.

Planning next day ahead reduces the randomness in your work. Wunderlist is best app to keep the focus on important tasks with deadlines. It helps you review the day too, whether you could accomplish whatever you had planned for the day.

The great feeling you get when the task completed is strikethrough when you press the tickmark.

Teachers plan days, weeks, terms and years in advance. If you need some help planning take a look at how they do it.

In my personal life I set appointments in my phone's calendar for anything more than a week out. For anything within a week I just remember what I'm doing.

For work my team uses JIRA in a SCRUM fashion. So the sprint is loaded with tickets that have priorities but the team chooses what they're doing each day.

I have 20-30 hours of meetings a week and work about 50 hours.

My tools:

- Calendar

- Devonthink for Notes and meeting summaries

- adhoc notebooks made out of waste paper

- Due for routine deadlines (file your expenses, etc)

The key is to get your stuff as done as it needs to be and be able to shut off work when you leave. Don't fetishize capturing every task. Delegate tasks as soon as possible to others.

If I have a particularly complex day tomorrow, especially if there's lots of travel, I write down all the important stuff I need to do in schedule format on a 3x5" card. At the end I put down all the facts I might need, like important contacts or access codes or whatever.

TaskWarrior, sync'ed across several machines through inthe.am, isn't perfect, but it has made my life better.

Start simple, as a to-do list, then add complexity if you need it. The documentation is sufficient. Tagging, projects, and priorities are all interesting/useful.

Nope. After many tries at todo apps, organizational techniques, etc I've decided I am simply not busy enough to need to plan anything. The only thing I am organized with is my sleeping (always sleep at 12am, always wake up at 7am).

I have been using the 5 minute journal to plan my big goals and reflect on what I accomplished in a day.

As for specific todo lists, I use either a notebook for longer lists or Google Keep app to hold shorter todo lists.

On a per-day basis, generally only based on my electronic calendars (personal=gcal, work=outlook).

On a week to week or month to month (and longer term) basis, I have rough notes sketched out in a plaintext file.

First task of my day is to fill out my calendar. So at least I have an idea of what I should be working on. That way I can focus on execution, instead of spending all day on hacker news.

I usually plan my day/week ahead but the amount of yak shaving I face everyday working with DevOps tools is so great I just give up. It's one time sink after the other.

I don't really plan my next day. I do a bit of triaging once my current task is done to re-prioritize my todo list, which is a simple text file.

I find using a outlining tool like workflowy.com as the most simplistic and effective.

I try to, but to paraphrase Von Moltke, no plan survives contact with the email inbox or the bosses whims.

Perhaps once or twice a month, I can actually execute a day planned the afternoon before, so I have largely given up and reverted to a slightly demoralizing reactive mode.

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