Where do these tasks go?
If you use Notes for managing checklists of tasks, you’re missing out on setting deadlines, location-based alerts, etc. But sometimes creating Reminders can be a pain, especially if copying from somewhere like iBooks. To my knowledge, you can’t grab a snippet of text from iBooks and set a reminder.
Solution: Start with Notes, end with Reminders
Here’s something I’ve tried: use Notes to create a basic checklist, but if then if these are tasks you need to do and need to be “reminded” of them, convert them to individual Reminders.
Did I mention I’m certified in project mismanagement?
I often make the mistake of mixing my tasks, events and information into a mismanaged mess. Reading “Do More Better” by Tim Challies helped me out quite a bit to understand the importance of using the right tools for the right job. Sure, you can use a screwdriver to hammer a nail, and you could use a knife to screw in a bolt, but there are better tools built for the job.
So now I try to strictly use:
I don’t use Reminders for storing information or tracking events. I don’t use Calendar for managing tasks. And I don’t use Notes for any events or task management unless it’s a backlog of ideas I need to jot down.
I mentioned that I was reading “48 Days to the Work You Love” and going through the daily assignments. I started by exporting the assignments to Notes to create a basic checklist, but then I noticed I was going to run into the same problem I always do: I put a list of to-dos in Notes, and then forget to do them.
Aren’t there better apps out there to manage this?
Short answer: yes. Absolutely. Todoist*, which Tim Challes mentions in his book comes to mind. Microsoft and Google have their own sets of apps out there with advantages and disadvantages.
But another pitfall that I sometimes fall into is chasing after the new shiny thing that promises to make things better. The last time I went through a major job search in late 2016, I was using a CRM (customer relationship manager) called Insightly (which BTW is a great CRM) for managing the project. I also used Paymo. The problem was that these were overly complex for trying to manage somewhat simple tasks that I could have done with using Apple’s built-in apps.
Rant over. Like I said, the short answer is yes, but I’m trying to stick to the native, default apps within the Apple ecosystem.
How to create a checklist, starting with Notes, ending with Reminders
Probably the best place to do this is on a Mac and not trying to do it on an iOS device.
- Open Notes with your checklist and stick the window on one side of the screen.
- Open Reminders on another side of the screen and create a new list for project.
- One by one, copy a checklist item from Notes and copy to Reminders. When you copy a checklist item, usually it will add some brackets where the check mark goes. Just delete that.
- Once you have the checklist item in Reminders, you can set the due date using the interface, but I prefer to just drag and drop the reminder on to the date that it’s due by.
Crashing the party
One note about Reminders, I noticed if I try selecting several reminders and drag them to set the due date, sometimes Reminders will freeze. I even got the black screen of death one time. It only happened when I tried selecting 7 reminders at once.
There’s probably a Automator thing that can do this faster
As I was going through the conversion process, I realized there’s probably a way to use Automator to grab a checklist item and then create a new reminder. I’ll have to set a reminder to look into that later.
Resources to help you with Notes, Reminders and other things
*As of publishing this article, I recently switched to Todoist over Reminders, mostly because of Reminders’ wonky way of setting deadlines, sorting and lack of subtasks.