scratching off todo list items?

I've seen a couple discussions pop up lately about why paper todo lists are better than electronic on a couple blogs., and webworkerdaily are the main ones. Probably be something on 43folders soon if there isn't already...

One thing I found odd is every single one of these articles advocated crossing out things when you're done. Crossing out a task is my indication that a task has been canceled. I've always placed a checkmark by items I've completed and since being properly introduced to planners an arrow indicates a task that has been postponed.

I've also started making just about any item on any page of notes a todo item by putting a little square box next to it. This makes the item easy to find and transfer to my todo list, such as when I get back from a meeting.

Another thing I found interesting. The comments on one of these articles (sorry, can't remember which one) mentioned that if you use circles instead of squares for your checkmarks, they are quicker to draw and will save some time.


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some other thoughts...

I've read here, and other places, that better than scratching out completed tasks, to use a hilighter to mark them off. The theory sounds good, and all who I've read tried it preferred it.

As to circles vs squares. It takes me about 1/2 a second to draw a circle, and about 3/4 a second a square... Circles can look like "O"s or "0"s. A square is an obvious square.

But here's what I do. If I write down something that is a potential task, I draw an underline before it. (Actually, I frequently do this for lists--a line at the beginning. If I want it to be a task, I draw the sides and top to complete the square. So squares fit my way of working best.


Not better, per se

I don't think paper is better than electronic, per se, or vice versa. It just depends on what's best for each person. Some like the manual scratching off, other like the simple click and *poof* it disappears of electronic. :)

My personal taste runs toward using paper, but I am also continually seduced by sexy new software. So, when asked which is better - paper or PDA? - my answer is usually "Yes!" LOL

Checks & X's

Old habits die hard, so I use the system I learned from FC. When a task is completed, I place a checkmark to the left of it. If a task is deleted/cancelled, I place an "X" next to it. For tasks that are "in process" I place a dot next to it (looks like a bullet point). If planned forward, I draw an arrow that points to the right. If its a delegated task, I draw a circle next to it along with the initials of the person to whom its been delegated.

Sometimes if it is a task that has been on my list for a while, I will also double-strike it with two parallel lines in addition to placing a checkmark next to it. I even use red ink for this ceremonial crossing off.

I derive such satisfaction from checking things off of my list that sometimes I'll complete a task that is not on the list and then right it down, only to immediately check it off.

I don't get the same level of satisfaction from electronic To Do lists.


Similar principle

When I start an action but I'm waiting for the action to be finished or waiting for a response, I highlight the square next to it. When an action is done, I fill the square. When sub actions/info are done/obtained, I check those. When an action is cancelled I put an X.


I highlight items that are complete. That way when you look at your to do list it is easy to see those items that are left to do!