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I find this helps me stay on target. If I didn't do this I would end up being a lot less productive.
It's a lot like planning. If you don't have a plan then the end result will be far short of what you had in mind. Planning your day is just as important as planning a project.
How do you address this issue.
I use the calendar in MS Outlook. I put items to be done in there as appointments and when they are due I get an audible reminder. I can move actionable stuff to an appropriate time according to their specific priorities.
I know that this is not very clever but I have been doing it now for about 15 years or more and it works well for me. I seldom forget to do something using this method.
- it's free and open source and I'm cheap
- it allows for dependencies, so I can have a task list like
*Take over the world
-- develop evil plan
-- create secret weapon
-- unnecessarily start by attempting to kill superhero
- one-click access from system tray.
- I can set due dates, start date (it also allows for some basic time trackign, but I don't use that).
- I can set priority and risk for any given task.
- full search
- unlimited task lists, so I usually have a task list for every project I'm working on, whether it's a website, a book, or tasks around the house.
- I can have "tasks" and "notes" so the view is really compact, but if I have a task and, while working on something else, come across a key piece of information, and idea or whatever, I open the todo list and add my thoughts to the notes, so I don't lose track of it, but I don't get sucked into working on the task.