Mastering the to-do list: electronic apps, or paper?

I have a to-do list in Keep, a Google app that lets you take your list with you if you install it in your phone.

Handy dandy, I thought while clicking the icon to download it.

And it is. If you use it, that is.

Currently I have a working list of general semi-urgent action required activities listed in there that, in some cases, are completed.

I love those.  Complete! It tells me.

So proud of myself.

The uncompleted items however stress me out.

I should do something about that. Something to alert me of their urgency.

So I go adjust the settings, to make it notify me every morning at 9. What’s more, I selected a unique jingle so that when the notification arrives, it makes a little sound.

🎶 Tra la la bruggle doop 🎶

Now, every morning at 9, the notification activates. Theoretically by then, the minions should be in school and I have the house to myself. Perfect time to make more coffee, and review the list.

What should I tackle first?

If only it were that simple. 🙃

Perhaps I should tell you what really happens:

I’m making coffee, puttering with dishes the kids helpfully placed on the counter beside the open dishwasher, and hear the sound of Keep coming in.

My heart rate increases slightly.

I glance at the phone, then carry it to my work station (a little desk by a window next to the dining table).

Next, I turn on my computer, and look for my notebook, the traditional paper one. It should be right there beside the laptop. (Yes I hand-write lists too, don’t you?)

If it’s there, great. If it’s not, well then I have to wander around and look for it.

Next I get my coffee and look for my pencil on my desk.

It too has been removed from my sacred spot. (I should get a room with a door to call my office instead of just a desk in the dining area…)

I look for a pen.

The one I pick up from the supply cart has no ink, why is not in the garbage? I toss it in the garbage.

I select a pencil crayon from the girl’s stash, walk back to my desk, sharpen it, and take a sip of my now slightly less hot coffee.

What was I supposed to write down again?

I see the computer has loaded, so I sign in to email, calendar and other apps, and notice the notification on my phone.

Right, the Keep list. It has to-do items I should review.

I ignore it.

Instead, I sign into Facebook to update my Writer of Words page, get distracted by a messenger message, reply and by the time my coffee is done I still haven’t opened my Keep list.

I sign into other apps to update the sports stuff, and finally pick up my phone again.

I open Keep and click on the to-do list. I’m going to get things done today.


The Keep app is actually quite handy and simple to use as you can make notes, post-it style, for important things you might otherwise forget. I keep my son’s bottom extremities measurements in Keep and carry with me a measuring tape just in case I pass some boys pants in a store. This way, they’re more likely to fit him if I can measure the waist and legs right in the store.

Same with feet, at least for the 10yo. She draws her foot on a piece of paper and I cut it out and carry it with me.

Prior to Christmas I kept a list of gift ideas, and if I come across a book title I want to read I make a note of it in Keep. Next time I’m browsing in a book store or library, I pull up my list and it jogs my memory.

The point is, there are many apps available to help you stay organized. Not everyone is comfortable using electronic devices for that purpose, which is fine. Even I prefer a notepad style grocery list over an app.

But for many of us Gen-Xers, who grew into the electronic age at its inception, I think a combination of apps and traditional note-making lists seems to work best.

Do you agree? How to you manage to keep yourself and your family organized?

6 thoughts on “Mastering the to-do list: electronic apps, or paper?

  1. I tried e lists and it didn’t work for me. I prefer the paper kind. I have a planner that I write my to do’s in, and I have a separate grocery list that I keep in the kitchen. I find I organize my time better and keep track of them better in paper. I also find it annoying to type certain things. I do keep an e calendar though. I like having my schedule at all times

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I write my planned activities in my journal each morning, but rely on the electronic Wunderlist to notify me when there’s something time-sensitive to be done. No kids, so my life is definitely easier than yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I send myself emails or put reminders in my calendar. Oddly, I’m more apt to pay attention to the email (usually work-work related) then the calendar reminder (usually kiddo or house-related). But the act of putting it somewhere via email or text to myself helps get it out of my head so I can focus on the immediate.

    Liked by 1 person

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