ToDo Today: Create a Better Checklist
September 24, 2012 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Business was ... simmering ... and I was starting to let things slip. To get back on track, I created a couple of simple checklists of occasionally recurring processes and saved them as .txt files in dropbox. It works. But it's not very elegant. My lists lack an easy and satisfying way to "cross off" or "tick" finished items. I don't think the system will scale well. I'd like to have some calendar functionality. I may want to share them in the future. Do you have a better way?

My checklists aren't really todo or task lists, although they're close. They're more like aviation pre-flight checklists or medical practice checklists as advocated for in The Checklist Manifesto.

Here's an example for a weekly batch of manuscripts to edit:
* Collect docs, save into pub date folder
* Update Ed. Calendar for each to "submitted"
* Prelim Edit
** Format
*** Subheads bold only
*** Convert inline lists to numbered and bulleted lists
** Edit for Style and Voice
** Review sources and links
** Copyscape
** Find and add local links
* Final Edit
** Upload
** Add tags
** Write headline
** Write teaser
** Review source html
*** Remove nbsp, if any
*** Remove font codes, if any
** Save & Proofread live preview
* Notify client of upload and forward notes and commentary on each mss
I've looked at a couple of the online task managers (asana, toodledo) and both offer "recurring tasks" that can be setup like checklists. But given many failed attempts to use those tools to manage tasks and projects in the past, I'm reluctant to trust my checklists to them (or to me and them).

TL;DR: I don't want a full featured todo or task list manager; I want a lightweight checklist maker and manager. Any ideas?

(previously and previously)
posted by notyou to Work & Money (9 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This looks like a job for OneNote. I use it with Dropbox and am pleased with its simplicity and depth of available options (formatting etc.).
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:15 AM on September 24, 2012

Google Tasks, especially in the not-well-known full page mode?
posted by COD at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you want to build on your existing text-file based solution, you can use something like TaskPaper. It's a simple text-file format that is implemented by apps for a variety of platforms (list here

The text file can be opened and manipulated in an text editor, but in an app specifically designed to work with it you'll get some more advanced styling and control features. It tends to work well with dropbox, because it's just a simple text file.
posted by fitzage at 10:07 AM on September 24, 2012

I don't have an answer to your question, but I just wanted to chime in and tell you what a great tool you've employed. Checklists are so often overlooked by managers, but they work so well. When making your final choice, make sure you pick one that you can archive. Reviewing the history is an important step to keeping your checklist current and viable.
posted by raisingsand at 10:46 AM on September 24, 2012

TODO.txt would very much fit the bill, especially if you actually have specific reasons for using plaintext, ie, you want to use an editor like vi or Emacs, or you spend a lot of time at a command line, or you don't want to have your documents trapped in someone else's data format. There are a variety of clients and interfaces, but the basics are open source and free.

I do like Google Tasks quite a lot for a certain category of tasks, though, but for process documentation type stuff like you're talking about, I use a combination of Todo.txt and Simplenote/Dropbox/Google Drive for sync.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 10:53 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by heatherann at 12:50 PM on September 24, 2012

wunderlist is what will help you.
posted by Okapi at 4:36 PM on September 24, 2012

It's more for full website launches, but I've always had an eye on Launchlist. They do let you customize/template the lists, so it might work?
posted by Remy at 6:22 AM on September 25, 2012

This sounds like a job for Omnifocus!
posted by iamabot at 7:01 PM on September 25, 2012

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