Organized Productivity with Wunderlist and OneNote

I like making to-do lists. I just never get around to doing them. It’s even less manageable when you’re trying to keep track of day to day tasks as well as goals for the future.

I experimented with GTD back in 2009 using Evernote. The first few days were great, but I didn’t even make it to the end of the month before I gave up. I tried the GTD experiment with OneNote a few years later. The results were the same. I liked the concept of GTD, but my paperless versions kept running into road blocks.

I finally realized ‘one app to rule them all’ was not right for me. I needed separation between the tasks and goals. Having them all in one place either distracted me or overwhelmed me.

For the last few months I’ve been using OneNote purely for the goals part of my organization, and Wunderlist for the tasks.

Here’s a simplified scenario: After my trip to Spain and Portugal, I enjoyed the octopus salad so much that I wanted to make it at home.

  1. This starts off as a goal in OneNote, “make octopus salad at home.
  2. During the weekly review, I create a new page for octopus salad and add it to the ‘cooking’ tab where I store recipes. Here I include a few thoughts about what I liked about it and links to recipes I found online.
  3. During a daily review, buying the ingredients and cooking it for dinner are added as tasks in Wunderlist in a list called octopus salad. These tasks are then prioritized.

For my day to day tasks I simply consult Wunderlist and once I make this delicious salad, it gets crossed off from Wunderlist. I update the recipe page in OneNote with details about ingredients I added or how it turned out for future reference.

Tasks like recurring bills or timed events exist only in Wunderlist.

My Wunderlist tasks are always limited to a few items for any given week. My OneNote pages keep growing as I have more goals and accomplishments. You could do both in the same app, but having this separation greatly helped me get things done.

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