The best system of any kind is the one you actually use. In which case, the best system of any kind for me will always be on paper. I can’t seem to stick to any kind of technological thing with any regularity. Except maybe email, but no one else seems to love email as much as I do (except maybe Strong Bad?), so that’s kind of futile.
However! In terms of organisational apps, the one I have been coming back to, at least when I remember to, is Trello. I do love it. It’s super simple and it lets you drag and drop things around. I have it on my phone and in a perpetually open tab in Firefox on my computer, and it syncs automatically. You can have as many boards with as many lists as you want. And if I would just stop scribbling a million little post-it lists and get a bit more disciplined about dropping everything into Trello, I’d probably be way less scatterbrained than I am.
It’s kind of like a digital version of the massive post-it calendar I made, just for lists. I think that’s why I like it – for a digital thing, it’s fairly tactile. I did give up on using it for everyday stuff because I ended up writing things on paper or the back of my hand anyway. (Old habits die hard. I will always write on my hand because IT WORKS.) But a few weeks ago I realised I wasn’t really maintaining a Big List of crap to do for this trip properly, so I created a new board and I’ve been trying to dump everything on it that pops into my brain and haunts me with the threat that I’ll forget to do it and ruin EVERYTHING.
That’s maybe a little dramatic, but there are a lot of things that could be fairly major that either aren’t as immediately obvious as visas and tickets or aren’t as everyday as food and soap. For example, the thing that prompted me to start the list properly was the fact that I am allergic to shellfish and I am going to southeast Asia. I don’t know HOW allergic to shellfish I am because ever since having a fairly unpleasant reaction when I was younger, I just don’t eat it. And I carry benadryl everywhere, but I’ve never been tested or gotten an epi-pen or anything.
This is not something that worries me in my normal life because it’s pretty easy to avoid and I’m also able to communicate that it’s an issue. But if I consumed a bunch of crustaceans by mistake in the course of my travels, I have no idea if I’d have a way bigger reaction that I did when I was a kid or none at all. I don’t want to find out the hard way. SO. I kept randomly thinking, ‘Oh, I should probably get that checked out, you know, soon.’ Then I’d forget about it again. Then I’d remember a few weeks later and worry about it. And forget again because I didn’t write it down.
So now it’s written down. I just have to DO something about it. But at least it’s on the list.
I’m thinking I might take some time to do some sorting of this list while I’m sitting on my delightful train trip in the States next week. It’s entirely possible I’ll just start out the window listening to podcasts the whole time instead, but I should probably crack the whip a little. I’ve got about 6 months to go here, and that’s a long time, but it’s also not a long time.
I don’t think I’ll EVER have the list of things to do completely under control, and that’s probably fine, but I do want to make sure I at least cover the important stuff. Like, if I have rough plans for ‘this is what I’ll do if my computer gets stolen’ and ‘this is what I’ll do if I get incredibly sick’, at least if it happens I’ll have thought about it when I wasn’t in the middle of a crisis.
ANYWAY. If you love a list like I love a list, Trello is pretty great. So check it out.