What's the Big To-Do about To-Do?


Check out this video by Ryan Carson, a super-organized guy who often blogs earnest explanations of his work methods. For his to-do list, Carson uses a combination of OmniOutliner and Hipster PDA. His method requires quite a bit of dedication on a daily basis, but it’s simple enough for us mortals to imagine giving it a whirl.

Every Monday morning Carson spend a half an hour reviewing his list of tasks and moving items to a “This Week” folder. Then, each day, he culls items from the week for a “Today” folder. At the end of each day, unfinished tasks go back in “This Week.” And while on the go, Carson takes notes on future tasks using pen and paper, and makes a point of inputting them into OmniOutliner upon his return to his desk.

Chris has reviewed Todoz and Stikkit for WWD. Anne is a steadfast devotee of pen and paper. Me? Well… I don’t have a favorite to-do tool at the moment. After watching Carson’s testimonial, I just downloaded OmniOutliner, though. Suffice to say I’d take any suggestions under careful consideration!



Hi Liz –
Great posting, especially with the video clip to explain things. I’m actually giving this a go for the next few weeks – it was an excellent reminder of what I learnt on a TMI course about ten years ago now (‘sfunny how the fundamentals don’t change . . .).

The structure I think I’m going to use is in DayLite rather than OmniOutliner I’ll have Projects for the major things I want to achieve, and then below these the individual Tasks that need doing. These can be converted into calendar Events, maintaining the link to the Projects. I’ve also created a series of classifications for the Tasks, so I can see what types of things (phone calls, marketing, client work, etc) need doing, and when I sync to my Treo, this info is carried across.

Ryan Carson

Hey Liz, thanks for letting everyone know about the video :)

The reason why I’ve gone for good ol’ paper and pen is that it’s the simplest method possible. Introducing technology in anyway tends to slow things down (strangely enough).

– Ryan


I’ve been using http://hiveminder.com for awhile now and it works really well. You can publish iCal feeds and send todo items by email. It also incorporates tagging and scheduling of tasks and will send you email reminders. Its still in it’s infancy but already performs some fairly powerful tasks.


So Ryan Carson will most certainly know about kGTD (http://kinkless.com/), the GTD extension for OmniOutliner Pro, which, amongst other things, allows you to use OO as if it was a digital version of your Hipster PDA.

It’s awesome. So much so, that the OmniGroup have decided to develop a GTD-specific app – codenamed OmniFocus (http://blog.omnigroup.com/2006/09/25/omnifocus-our-work-in-progress/).

But the major point of the To-Do (be it GTD, or whatever), and the pen-and-paper approach is to remove clutter, to keep things simple. Personally, I relate to handwritten text differently than to typed text. It’s just a totally different mnemic scenario.


I use rememberthemilk.com. It is pretty good and you can integrate with Google calendar (both Google calendar and the calendar app through Google Apps for your domain). I like it. Pretty cool.

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