Life Hacking 101

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Kevin Purdy, senior editor at lifehacker and weekly guest for the month of August, helps listeners be more productive in the digital age.
This week: making lists, and crossing them off! How do you manage your tasks? Post your strategies for making lists, avoiding distractions, and getting things done!


Kevin Purdy

Comments [24]

Chris from Gilbert, AZ

I prefer the Moleskine hack above all else. I have tried multiple online systems, but the simplicity of a notebook, for me, excels above all others. Here's an example.

Aug. 07 2009 01:07 PM
Kevin Purdy from Rochester, NY

Seth (#9): You can find articles from Lifehacker's archives, but I'd recommend going through Google rather than our ... eccentric site search box. Just do a Google search for " gina trapani to-do list" or whatever you're looking for.

Aug. 06 2009 03:12 PM
hjs from 11211

was it

Aug. 06 2009 01:58 PM

He was using the "ReQall" I described above. There's a free and paid version.

The free version actually has most everything you need.

Aug. 06 2009 01:03 PM
Chris from Brooklyn

I know it's 45 minutes later, but I'm trying to figure out the name of the iPhone app that the guy on the boat in New Rochelle recommended. The one where he say a note with a specific time and the note will appear at that time. Not easily searched in iTunes! Thanks.

Aug. 06 2009 12:22 PM
Stephanie A Heacox from Brooklyn

In response to the second comment, you don't want a list program that works *only* on the web, you want it to synch with a handheld (cloud computing). That way you always have access to it, but you have the option to enter data via a real keyboard, which is so much easier.

I also use a separate software for shopping lists called Grocery Gadget, which has both iPhone and web interfaces. I shop at a food coop, and have everything I've ever bought on the master list, sorted by aisle, so that I can shop more efficiently. I had already done that years ago, but for new users, this software will actually do the same thing automatically - it has a master list of common grocery items and it memorizes when you check the items off the list, then reorders your list to reflect that. Very clever.

And no, I don't have too much time on my hands :-) I save a ton of time by avoiding repetitive tasks, like writing grocery lists, and by leveraging otherwise wasted time. Single mom, full-time tech consultant - I need all the time-savers I can get. Plus I really hate that nagging feeling that I've forgotten something important...

Steph (the List Nut)

Aug. 06 2009 12:12 PM
e stone from chappaqua ny

my favorite list organizing tip comes from Maxine (the cartoon character)
I find it helps to organize chores into categories:
Things I won't do today
Things I won't do tomorrow
Things I'll never do

Aug. 06 2009 11:47 AM

use it or loose it? memory?

Aug. 06 2009 11:46 AM
Adrian from Northport

Down with lists! I was an obsessive list maker for decades. In fact, my need to make lists was the distraction. The best thing I have found is that I need to slow down and prioritize. If I can't get it done today, I need to let go of it. Otherwise, the list (or lists) become a burden.

And have a great vacation, Brian!

Great show,

Aug. 06 2009 11:45 AM
Wendy from NYC

LOVE this!!! Will this be weekly or monthly?

Aug. 06 2009 11:45 AM
c. bay milin from windsor terrace, brooklyn


while most of the people i know use their iphones or blackberry mobiles to keep their lives in check, i use a handmade planner with hand-cut graph paper, then write in the lines for the weekdays so that each time you lay it flat, it's a weeks worth of stuff.

everything gets written in there, things to do, thoughts, doodles, and of course little boxes that get checked off.

also i make little things-to-do daily lists on pieces of discarded printer paper, cut up after use and split into 8 smaller pieces. it's convenient and double-recyclable.


Aug. 06 2009 11:44 AM
Jason from Brooklyn

What about just quiet time? At what point in your day do you just give yourself a break. Every single second of the day does not need to be filled with stuff.

Aug. 06 2009 11:43 AM
the truth from bkny

Clearly Stephanie has too much time on her hands!

Aug. 06 2009 11:42 AM
Kitty from Weehawken, NJ

My husband and I create an email listing all our bills and due dates at the begnning of the month. When we pay these bills, we resend the email and indicate that these bills are paid. We aren't paying any more finance or late fees!

Aug. 06 2009 11:42 AM
Fuva from Harlem

GREAT topic, Brian. And recurring for the month too? Thanks!

Aug. 06 2009 11:41 AM

How far back do Lifehacker's archives go? Is there any way to retrieve postings from several years ago by founder Gina Trapani?

Aug. 06 2009 11:40 AM

PS: I also use one of those tiny daybooks that contain a pen, and fit easily into my jeans front pocket.

Aug. 06 2009 11:40 AM
Chris Nelson from New York, NY

Oh yeah.....with these lists, you can simply create categories to organize yourself. I run a small business on the side of my 9-5 and I keep them organized that way. Personal, company, project number. Within the categories, there is the option to prioritize the lists.

Aug. 06 2009 11:39 AM

I use a pen and a small spiral notebook that I keep in my pocket. Batteries never need recharging. It's foolproof.

Aug. 06 2009 11:38 AM

There are apps that are location-specific, ie, categorize by school, or market.

Also, the iphone app "Reqall" allows you to just hold the phone up to your mouth, wait for the vibrate, say your reminder, put the phone down, and it will record the list and translate to text. Then it sends the text (and recording) to your email and phone.

Easy to sort; for example, I start shopping items, "Grocery."

Aug. 06 2009 11:38 AM
superf88 from

Thank me later:

(prof., includes crm, invoice etc)

Aug. 06 2009 11:36 AM
Anne from Manhattan

I am a web designer, use technology for almost everything. But, my to-do list is a little notebook. If I don't have my notebook, I'll text myself.

I like to keep is simple. I've tried more complex tools. But it's too much work for something as simple as a to-do list.

Aug. 06 2009 11:36 AM
Chris Nelson from New York, NY

I don't know why you would have a website to make your lists. Then you are confined to a computer. I use my task lists on my Palm phone and I sync it with Microsoft Outlook to make it accessible at any time. Also, I set alarms to remind me of due dates.

Aug. 06 2009 11:36 AM

google lists or rememberthemilk?

Aug. 06 2009 10:05 AM

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