I am not a huge fan of To-Do lists. However, I realize they are a necessary evil. The problem I’ve had with the various forms this list took is a couple of things: Once I’m done with the list, I tend to throw them away. I […]

I am not a huge fan of To-Do lists. However, I realize they are a necessary evil. The problem I’ve had with the various forms this list took is a couple of things:

  1. Once I’m done with the list, I tend to throw them away.
  2. I frequently need more information about the task than I am able to write down on a piece of paper.
  3. I am a web person, and I want to be able to access my to do list from anywhere.

There are certainly better tools for this. However, after thinking about it, a blog seems like a perfect tool for this:

  1. Blogs tend to keep everything. In chronological order. With categories, depending on the software.
  2. Blogs are fairly free-form. You can put as much information as you need. You can also put things like hyperlinks, embed pictures, and even YouTube videos (depending on the blog software you use).
  3. Blogs can be accessed from anywhere.

The nice thing about using blogs is that they are free. There are a number of different places that offer free blogs. Two places I recommend are wordpress.com and Vox. The main reason I recommend these two is that they both have a very critical feature for maintaining a To-Do list: They support the concept of private posts. That is important assuming you don’t want to let everyone else know what you need to do. Of course, you may use an existing blog for this purpose as well so long as it has the ability to mark posts as private so that only you can see them.

Once you have an appropriate blog ready to go, start a new post and type in your To-Do list however you want. You can make it as pretty as you want. Or you can just type in freeform lines like I do. Do it how you’d like. Just make sure when you save it that, you mark the post private if you don’t want the world to see.

On WordPress blogs, when editing your post, go down to Post Status and set it to Private. On Vox, when editing the post, go down to the “On my Vox blog” section and set “Viewable by” to “you (draft).”

Once you’ve got your list, you can go back and edit it (for example, to cross-off items on the list), delete items (if you want), or simply copy the list and create a new To-Do list for the next day.

To view the To-Do list from anywhere, simply access the blog’s URL from whatever web browser you have available. If you marked the To-Do list as private, then you will need to log into the site in order to see your To-Do lists.

This is one way to handle a To-Do list. There may be better purpose-built tooks for the task, but this works for me at least. Share your thoughts about this or other ways you manage your To-Do lists in the comments section below.

  1. That’s a nice idea, but what I think will be much more easier to use is a Wiki. Currently I’m setting up MediaWiki for our team use. We want to use it for collecting and storing our team ideas, links, minutes and task lists.

    For personal use something like Stikipad will be sufficient.


  2. Having my to-do list online is crucial to me, because I’m at many different places over the week.

    Since I have many projects and even more next actions, I use Backpack, 37signal’s organization website, to keep track of my projects, their to-do lists and my notes on the different things going on. I also use it for my grocery list, my birthday wish list and other collections of information that’s important for me.

    Backpack also offers a simpler mobile version of my pages, so I can access them from my E61 without having to scroll my thumb off or racking up a big data volume bill.


  3. This is actually not a bad idea. Since you will most likely have internet connectivity you will always have access to that post.

    I personally use Netvibe’s To-Do list to handle my task list

  4. Your Blog a To-Do List Manager Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    [...] wrote up a piece for Web Worker Daily on using a blog as a To-Do list manager. There are certainly better tools for managing a To-Do list, but really, I wasn’t interested [...]

  5. I use a web-based implementation of Tracks called Track Train which currently has no ads and is supported by donations, hugs, and puppies. I like it because it is a clean implementation of GTD without the unnecessary bells and whistles and can be used as just a plain To Do list. It also prints well if you want to print out a grocery list or such. If you ever decide that you don’t want to rely on a third party host, you can download it from the source and install it on your machine locally.

  6. Your idea of using a blog as a to-do list is an interesting one, but I can’t help but think you’re using a hammer to turn screws. All your to-do items would appear in reverse-chronological order by default, which means almost nothing for to-do items.

    A Wiki is another option, but it still doesn’t let you prioritize items any easier, and if I used it it would end up more like a free-form notebook than a structured to-do list.

    As for myself, I use RememberTheMilk, which allows me to specify a priority, due date, location, time estimate, etc., for all my to-do items. It’s not entirely perfect, but it’s close enough for me, and new features are cropping up all the time.

    Try it out, maybe it’ll work for you.

  7. I need to get a to do list and didn’t know that you could do that with WordPress.

  8. I have tried a number of todo lists and ended up with Remember the Milk which is accesssible from any location and includes reminders sent to me.

  9. My recommendation is TiddlyWiki with the UploadPlugin installed if I want it on the net.

    TiddlyWiki runs in any modern browser that supports javascript, is only a single file. You can run it locally, off a thumb drive, a network server, or over the net.

    The UploadPlugin lets you upload the file to any server that supports ruby or php.

    If you are looking for a private copy on the net, you can get a free site, with no ads, at TiddlySpot.com. When you create your site, or anytime later, you can chose to make your site so you need to enter a password just to see it.

    Also has several GTD versions http://www.dcubed.ca/ , http://monkeygtd.tiddlyspot.com/ and http://www.checkettsweb.com/tw/gtd_tiddlywiki.htm if that is your thing.

  10. I like BackPack too. They have a very intutive interface, the To Do list is easy to setup and easy to check off. You can send emails to your page and add things to your To Do!

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