- Pencil and paper - Most of us are familiar with this variety of list making. It's low tech and easy. It never crashes or needs to be backed up but for many of us it just doesn't work. As you cross items the list becomes messy and you have to carry it everywhere.
- Stickie notes - They are easy to use and handy but get out of hand quick if they are not kept under control. Try to corral them in a folder or on a piece of paper rather than all over your desk. Judith Kolberg describes this method in her book Conquering Chronic Disorganization. This is one of my favorites since it is tactile while being flexible. The stickies allow you to move them around and categorize them however you wish.
- PDA, smartphone or cellphone - Use the memo, calendar or task feature on your phone so that your to do items are always with you. This is especially helpful when you remember a to do item when you are away from your desk.
- Electronic calendar - The electronic calendar is my new best friend, especially one that lives in the "cloud." It can be synced with your portable device and accessed from any internet connection. Corrections and changes are immediate from any place you access the calendar. Tasks can be added to the task list or scheduled on the calendar.
- Timeline - Map tasks out on a timeline in the order that the need to be done so that an important step isn't forgotten.
- Planner Pad - This is a to do list and calendar in one that helps you prioritize and schedule tasks for maximum effectiveness. You can find them on the internet for purchase.
- Monthly and weekly desk calendars - Theses are a great choice for folks that are usually at a desk or prefer to handwrite items. You can see a block of time and plug into it the things that need to be done.
If the method that you are currently using isn't working for you try a different one. Many times we beat ourselves up for not making the system work when we are really using the wrong system for us. Think about what you do and seems natural to you when picking a system. For example, if you are always out of the office and hate carrying a bunch of stuff then a bulky planner may not be for you especially if you are always leaving it at the office.