Strategy: Figure out a to-do list system

Hey Mike, it’s Mike (from the future!)

At some point, you’ll feel overwhelmed with all of the things you want to do in life. 

  • You’re starting a new business. 
  • You have real estate goals. 
  • You have family priorities.

So today, we spent a little bit of time figuring out the best way to organize our to-do list.

How do you manage your to-do list?

I thought about the Eisenhower Matrix decision model:

  • importance / not important,
  • urgent / not urgent 

I’ve also categorized tasks

  • A, B, and C. 
  • Urgent, important, later, on-hold, no.

Sometimes I might focus on one project, but then I lose track of the big picture of all the things to do across my other projects.

Remember, we listened to that Tony Robbins audiobook about goal setting a long time ago. There’s probably a solution in there that I need to adopt: 

  • I need to set my goals across different areas of my life, 
  • I need to bring it back to a quarterly check-in
  • I should do a weekly check-in where I overview my progress on different goals…
  • Then figure out on a day-to-day basis 
  • And tweak what I do on that day.

Make Decisions about the Tools You’re Going to use for your Project Management / Life To-Do list system

Today, I made some decisions and posted them on my wall. 

Sometimes I go in circles trying to figure out different ways to do things. Or, I rethink a decision I forgot I already made. Either way, I’m wasting time and energy. 

I’ve made a decision here, so it’s time to move on. 

(But I’ll revisit in a few months to make sure it’s going the right way. How will I remember to do that? Darn it! I need somewhere to write that down so I don’t forget it.)

Here’s what I want in a task management system:

  • A place where I can quickly jot down a to-do list item and then forget about it until I need to do it.
  • I want to trust that if I put something into my to-do list system, it will look at it again. (As opposed to the black hole to-do list system that I have now.)
  • I want a place where I don’t feel overwhelmed with my to-dos
  • I want to make sure that to-do tasks from different projects appear on my radar when I need them.

What’s my Return on Time? Trello for task management. TimeCamp for time logging.

I decided to use Trello and TimeCamp to figure out my task management.

I’m not entirely sure what that will look like on Trello. I know they have a bunch of templates and stuff, so I’m sure I can find something and see if I can tweak it to work. 

Why I’m not using Zoho Projects (even though I really wanted to.)

I was hoping to be able to do my time management stuff in Zoho Projects because I like how they have Gantt charts, but here’s why I’m not using Zoho projects:

Zoho Projects doesn’t integrate well with TimeCamp. 

  • I’ve been using TimeCamp for the last little bit to track how long I work on different things for clients. 
  • Moving forwards, I want to start tracking how much time I work on different projects 
  • For example, how long does it take me to create a teaching resource, and is that a good return on my time?

So, I want to keep with TimeCamp. That’s a priority for me.

Unfortunately, Zoho Projects doesn’t integrate with TimeCamp right now. 

TimeCamp doesn’t integrate with Zoho Projects right now.

  • So, either, I manually enter in the tasks on TimeCamp.
  • Or, I create a custom integration using Zapier, Zoho Flow, or APIs to figure out how to make Zoho Projects work like Trello (with regards to TimeCamp integration.) 

That’s not going to work for me.

I pretty much need an automatic system to track time in my to-do list (or I won’t do it.)

I also don’t want to spend time here creating a custom integration. Not a good use of my time as the Return on Time would not drastically improve sales or movement towards my goals.

The TimeCamp Desktop App isn’t for me

Before you say anything, Mike, I know that I could use the TimeCamp desktop app to track what I’m doing automatically.

I’ve used it in the past and it’s nice that it automatically tracks the apps and websites I visit. It just doesn’t always connect the time to the right projects.

(Yes, I could set up better keywords, but I feel like my time would just be better off clicking start and stop on TimeCamp.)

I like to have more granular control over which projects I’m working on by clicking the start / stop button myself. 

That way, I know if TimeCamp says I’ve done work for a client, I can trust I actually did work for that client at that time. (As opposed to always wondering if the TimeCamp desktop app correctly attached the time log with the correct project.)

TimeCamp integrates so nicely with Trello.

I assumed all TimeCamp integrations were as nice as their integration with Trello.

  • On the Trello card, there’s a button to start a timer. 
  • It also shows you how long you’ve worked on that task on the card itself because it pulls the data from TimeCamp. 
  • It would’ve been cool if that functionality was available on Zoho projects, but it isn’t.

The only thing I wished TimeCamp would give me is the option to hide all of the individual time entries on the Trello card. After you’ve been tracking time on a Trello Card, that list of entries becomes quite long…

Thinking about the TimeCamp Google Chrome Extension

Yes, I chatted with TimeCamp support. 

They have a Google Chrome plug-in that adds a button to some websites apps. So, you can click the start/stop button directly from the webapp.

Unfortunately the TimeCamp Chrome plugin extension doesn’t work on Zoho.

Even if it did, this Google Extension isn’t an integration with Zoho. The TimeCamp Google extension looks like it simply inserts a start/stop button onto the webpage.

So, the TimeCamp Google Extension wouldn’t sync with TimeCamp to create time task entries. I imagine it’s like making a photocopy. If you change the original, those changes aren’t tracked on the photocopy.

  • So, if you moved tasks in Zoho Project, I don’t think any hierarchical structure you created in your TimeCamp records would capture your changes later on.
  • Plus, if you renamed your task in Zoho CRM or Zoho Project, I don’t think the TimeCamp Google Chrome Extension would catch that change. 

Bottom line: Using Zoho Projects with TimeCamp seems like it requires a lot of manual work right now.

Yep, Mike, I know what you’re going to say. 

TimeCamp and Zoho CRM integration seems too basic for me

You found this TimeCamp/Zoho CRM integration option. 

There’s a TimeCamp add-on that integrates with Zoho CRM.

(By the way, Zoho CRM is a completely different product from Zoho Project.)

I like Zoho, but they seem to have many different apps that all do similar things, but offer slightly different features towards different markets.

So, there’s a lot of overlap between elements in their ecosystem. 

  • For example, you can create tasks in Zoho CRM, but those tasks are separate from your list of tasks in Zoho Projects. 
  • Yep, I know that you can integrate Zoho CRM with Zoho Project. But, essentially all that’s doing is creating a tab in Zoho CRM and then embedding the Zoho Project interface within a frame on that page. 

What will your To-Do list system look like?

Later on, we’re going to go around in circles and try to wonder how we can create a system where we can put our to-do list in and trust that those items will get done.

Right now, that’s not happening. 

  • I’ll put things I have to do into my system, but 
  • I won’t check the right board in Trello, so then 
  • Things get missed, and 
  • I feel overwhelmed.

I’m going to forget my thinking later on, which is why I’m writing down my thinking here…

So, step one: Make a decision. 

I’m going to use Trello for my project management and keep on top of everything I have to do.

I will use TimeCamp to automate and log how long I work on different projects.

Step two: Figure out how to use Trello to stay on top of the to-do list…

Next time, I need to figure out how to use Trello better.

  • I need all of the different essential tasks across all of the different aspects of my life to be on my radar
  • I need to make sure I can see important things from one spot.
  • I need to see the important things and not all of the tasks at once or that will be too overwhelming. (So, I need to organize and prioritize my tasks.)

(Yes, Mike, I know that Trello premium allows you to create custom views with tables and calendars. I actually upgraded to Trello Premium last month.) 

Now, I just have to figure out how to organize my to-do list system on Trello. 

I should put that on my to-do list…

What do you think? What do you use to keep track of everything you have to do?

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