For the longest time I’ve experimented with how to best manage my to-dos. Tried countless apps and different methods, and a few years back I landed on a solution that works for me.

I’ve been keeping simple plain-text files in Sublime Text with a very specific formatting style that, when combined with the One Dark color scheme and the Markdown filetype selection, create this pleasant visual experience:

How do I use it?

  • I have three main sections: Personal and A8c at the top meant to collect medium/long term ideas, followed by on-going daily updates. Each section and day is separated by three dashes (---).
  • A new day is clearly marked in blue with weekday and date. Check the bonus section below for more.
  • A dash (-) denotes a work-related task.
  • An asterisk (*) denotes a personal task or note.
  • Thanks to Markdown formatting and One Dark (other color schemes may work too), all un-indented items are magically marked as to-do in red.
  • As soon as you’re done with an item, press tab and it turns white (done).
  • You can add as little or as much as you’d like to an item, like links, lists with sub-items, notes, etc.
  • I usually keep one of these per year to ensure they don’t go too unwieldy. At the beginning of each year I simply create a new one, and they average at around ~120KB.

Here’s a template to get your started:

Benefits

  • Different styling between to-dos and dones create an immediate actionable distinction.
  • Very clear separation between days gives you a tangible sense of accomplishment at the end of each one.
  • It’s infinitely customizable to your own personal flavor. Again, add as much or as little to it as you want.
  • It’s instantly searchable and it only gets better as the time goes by and the document gets richer.
  • Basically a ready to go format in case you want to compile into daily stand-ups.

Bonus

At the start of each day, I type #day at the top of my list which triggers the following Alfred snippet, adding the weekday, the date, a separator, and placing the cursor in the right spot.

For your convenience, I’ve packaged the snippet which you can grab below:

Alternatively, grab the code and add it manually.


Your turn

I know this method is not for everyone, but hopefully it’s useful in evaluating your own and how well it’s working for you.

I’d love to know what you do to be organized in your daily life — hit me on twitter @keoshi!