How to Run a Recurring To-Do List

I've been on a systems roll lately . . . as a matter of sanity. With business really picking up, a commitment to being more disciplined about my own deadlines, and giving much more time and energy to proactive, strategic projects — ninja time-management is now more important than ever. Hustle & Flow, baby!  When it comes to task management, I have experimented with Workflowy, Wunderlist, Google Spreadsheets, and TeuxDeux — to name just a few. Without fail, one thing that consistently frustrates me is the inability to produce a recurring task list: things I repeatedly have to do every week or two.

If there's an app for that, please let me know! In the meantime, here's the solution I've come up with to save time, sanity, and make sure important items don't fall through the cracks.

Introducing . . . The Evernote Recurring To-Do List

I use Evernote for quite a few things: working with my VA, saving great restaurant and event ideas for NYC, managing shared business documentation, and capturing ideas and inspiration for my writing and websites (among many other things).

JB Daily Moleskine
JB Daily Moleskine

My latest hack is working wonders: the recurring task list template that I copy every two weeks (that's about how often my tasks repeat).

I LOVE the satisfaction of checking things off, and use this in conjunction with my Moleskine monthly planner notebooks (pictured on the right) where I scope out the WHEN to work on things -- what the priorities are each day.

Evernote Snapshot (for every 2 weeks):

Jenny Blake's Bi-Weekly Evernote To-Do List Template
Jenny Blake's Bi-Weekly Evernote To-Do List Template

My task categories are:

  • (blog posts, bi-weekly newsletters, have Stacy help prep the Weekend Coffee Talk template)
  • Life After College (blog posts, newsletters, call with my two new content and community managers)
  • Operations (improve one page of my websites, update my time tracker, update finance software -- Mint and Outright)
  • Creative Writing (work on or pitch a guest article or do an interview, write at least 1,000 words for a new book)
  • Coaching & Speaking Pipeline (goal of at least 3 exploratory conversations, 2 new coaching clients, 1 new speaking gig or workshop)
  • Networking & Friends (one event, one lunch or coffee, one call to an old or long-distance friend)
  • Personal (laundry, groceries, calling family, help a friend with something substantial)
  • Exercise (Yoga - 6-8x, Pilates - 4x, walking - daily!)

How to set-up your recurring to-do list

  1. Create a notebook in Evernote called TO DO.
  2. Create a note called "Bi-Weekly To-do List - TEMPLATE" (this is what you'll copy every 1-2 weeks -- whatever frequency you designate)
  3. Create your task categories
  4. Add items for each category using the open checkbox bullet (next to the numbered list icon in the formatting menu at the top)
  5. Copy this note and save as whatever week it is: for example, "January 27" or "February First Half." If you make revisions or notice other recurring tasks pop-up, be sure to edit the template, not just the note for that week.
  6. Dance with glee as you get to check things off and save yourself the trouble of remembering the same darn things every week!
  7. This goes with out saying: make sure you have the Evernote App on your phone, computer, and tablet (if you have one) so you can always check things off as you go.

I'd love to hear from you in the comments:

Have you tried anything like this? How do you manage/track recurring to-dos?

* * *

P.S. This week on Life After College I introduced a new template — one I've used with great success with many of my coaching clients in the midst of a major career change. Enter the Networking Email Mad-Lib Template -- check it out here!