I’ve written before about the ‘Getting Things Done’ system that I use to keep myself organised. It uses a set of lists to categorise different types of tasks; things you are waiting on, next actions that can be done right now, someday items, projects, maybe items and ideas, and references.
I use Trello to manage my system. It’s effectively a kanban type program that uses cards for each ‘to do’ item. I like it because there are lots of useful features that make managing your system very flexible. You can set up multiple boards, multiple lists, add checklists, due dates, links and notes, and add inspirational images to cards. There is also a Trello app that synchronises to your account, so you can see your to-do lists whilst you are on the go.
Trello is free for the basic plan, and I find this is more than enough to create and manage my personal to-do lists. One drawback however, is that you can only use one ‘power-up’ feature. The power-up that I have chosen is the ability to have cards repeat. This is because it allows me to build a clever ‘scheduled’ list that not only includes one-off tasks that can’t be done right now but will be done at a later date, but also builds in regular tasks.
These regular repeated tasks help me stay on top of my organisation, and because they become automated I never have to worry about forgetting to do things. I can also stagger tasks throughout the year so that I don’t have a lot of life admin to do in one go, or a lot of things to pay for in the same month.
Medical appointments – Schedule in regular doctor’s checkups, dental checkups, eye tests and any other medical appointments you need to have on a regular basis. Never forget about your health again!
Payment reminders – I create reminders for any payments that are automatically debited from accounts as I NEVER want to pay bank fees for missed payments! Check for payments that give a discount if you pay them annually – I do this for my house insurance and mobile phone for example, and if you can stagger when big bills like this are paid it is easier to build them into your annual budget. I also schedule a regular annual donation to a charity in November, just before the Christmas costs come in.
Budgeting and tax – I create my annual, zero dollar budget at the beginning of the year, then have a reminder to update it each pay day. Because I use a zero dollar budget, I transfer my savings the same day that I get paid which forces me to live within whatever I have budgeted. I also create a reminder to do my tax return a couple of months before the deadline, in case I get a tax bill that needs to be managed.
Cleaning and decluttering – I have a monthly ‘deep clean’ checklist, a mid-year mini-declutter and an annual deep de-clutter. This helps me keep on top of any grime that can build up and accumulated junk or unused items. I include both physical and digital de-clutters.
Birthdays – I create reminders about one month before birthdays for close family and friends to give me time to think about a gift, purchase and have it delivered.
Re-evaluating goals and values – Life is so busy, it’s easy to blitz through the days and weeks without taking a moment to stop and look around to re-evaluate your direction. I schedule in monthly reminders to myself to re-assess my values, check my goals are aligned with them and to see if I need to take any actions to keep on track.
What else do you schedule? Let me know in the comments!
Disclaimer: I receive one month’s free Gold membership from Trello if you use the link in this post to sign up.