[productivity] a usable todo list – chandler

I’ve settled on a fairly strict tool diet to help me maintain focus and improve my workflow. I really don’t need a ton of different software programs to get my stuff done on a day to day basis (see Tools). One thing I’ve been still looking for is a good todo list.

I’ve tried various incantations of todo list software. I love Freemind, but it didn’t feel right as a todo list. I stuck with the Lightning plugin for Thunderbird for quite some time, since I was able to drag an email into the ‘today’ pane to remind me of a follow up and maintain my efforts around Inbox Zero.

But there were some shortcomings. For example there was no good way in the today pane to hide things that were further off in the future. Sorting was tedious even if I flipped to task view. I really tried making it work, since having the email and calendar together with the todo list seemed very desirable.

What I desired more, however, was a way to only see manageable bites of todo items and and easy way to remind myself of things. Everything else would be icing on the cake.

To make a long story short, I stumbled across Chandler, which dubs itself “The Note-to-Self-Organizer”.

Rather than babbling on about how i like it and use it, you might as well just watch a short video about it.

What I really like is that I can just setup a couple of email folders on an IMAP server (yes gmail IMAP works too) and copy emails to a folder, which then shows up in Chandler as a todo. It’s almost the same workflow as with the Lightning extension in Thunderbird.

Then I just use the Chandler Triageand mark things as Now or Later and collapse the Later stuff, which instantly has the effect of removing the mental burden of a large list! When I run out of Now stuff, I just start grabbing stuff from Later.

What’s even better is that many of the things in the list will just crawl into the Now category as they come due.

I’ve only been using it for 5 days, but I’m really starting to like it and haven’t found much that annoys me yet.

We’ll see. Perhaps this too will make it into my standard set of tools.


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