Over the years, I have used various tools to manage what I do on a daily basis. Here are some tools I have used.

  • Outlook Calendar
  • Microsoft To Do App
  • Trello
  • Microsoft One Note

I have not been super happy with any of these and constanly find myself tuning each of these. For instance, I would enter all tasks in the calendar and as it fired reminders I would try to accomplish the task. More often I found that the tasks fired at times I didn’t want and I would snooze it. The snoozed tasks kept cascading and the reminders window became unbearable. The notification itself was some sort of a trigger to not do anything.

Microsoft To Do App is just so damn slow that I find it hard to use even though I go back to it many times during the day. Sometime ago, I started using Trello as I liked it’s column based approach of moving tasks. However, it got boring after awhile and I stopped using it.

A few weeks ago, while organizing To Do’s for an India trip, I just started putting stuff in Google Sheets. I like the simplicity – no reminders, easy entry, lightweiaght and good performance. I color code the tasks by filling its cell – white when entered first, green once completed, All tasks for a day would start in amber state. A blue fill shows something very important that made it during the day that may need attention later. If a task needs to be continued into another day, the entry would be copied (not cut) and pasted to another day. If I have to do a few tasks regularly every week, then I just create an entry called Weeklies and use another sheet to note down all the tasks that needs to be completed for the week in addition to the daily tasks. I like the view this provides. The color mosaic tells me in an instant if I am tracking well or not. Most of the time, I just need that.

I feel more in connection with my tasks without a lot of software interface getting in the way. Marking as complete by filling the cell with green rather than a check box seems more fulfilling.

A weakness with sheets is that it’s hard to use on a mobile phone. I don’t know how they make it better without breaking its simplicity.

Current Task List

Let’s see if this continues to work well. I am interested in tips and tricks that people have used to adapt sheets as a personal task tracker.