Day One as a ToDo List

Over the last few weeks, my use of DayOne has increased, on both OS X and iOS. Not because I’m journaling anymore, or feeling the need to track more ideas and thoughts that come to mind. No, I’ve started to use DayOne to hold my daily checklist of tasks that need to be completed.

Allow me to expand. 

OmniFocus has been my ToDo list app of choice for nearly two years now and I have no desire to move away from it. Even if I wanted to, just thinking of the amount of upheaval required to migrate everything from a system that took so long to get to it’s current state fills me with dread! So no, I’m happy with OmniFocus. However it doesn’t suit every purpose and I do miss the process of writing down or typing the tasks I want to achieve over the coming hours or days. It seems to embed itself in my mind more, makes me think about it more and makes the tasks more present. So I started writing my ToDo list down in my Moleskin notebook. This worked great. Using Patrick Rhone’s [[DashPlus]]( system, the pleasure I got from writing tasks down and physically crossing them out when completed had returned. 

However there was a day when Mr Productivity here failed to take his trusty Moleskin to a client site one day and that particular system fell apart. I also had an occasion where I needed to send a client a list of tasks completed and, although this was achievable using a combination of Evernote, my iPhone camera and the Moleskin page, there were still a few more steps in that process than I cared for. 

So I thought to myself how can I prevent this happening in the future? What do I have that is on my person all the time, allows me to export content at the touch of a button yet is easy to use. 

Hello DayOne

The next day, as part of my morning routine, I completed my journal entry as normal and then decided to try putting my ToDo list for the day into DayOne. I opened OmniFocus and manually typed out the tasks from my Dashboard. This, of course, is not something that everyone will want to do. Some will want to have some kind of automation to copy all of these actions across. In fact, there are times when I need to do that as well, especially if it’s a fairly large list and time is against me. Is there a way of doing this?

You bet there is. 

When DayOne was installed on OS X, so too was a service called “New Day One Entry With Selection”. It is simply a case of highlighting all of the tasks from my Dashboard perspective with a simple ⌘+A keystroke, then bring up the context menu, select Services -> New Day One Entry with Selection and voila, one to-do list. There are times when I don’t want my entire Dashboard, merely a subset of tasks I will be completing in the morning so I individually select the actions/projects with ⌘ and export them to DayOne

Now, there is a DayOne entry on all devices, for the specific tasks and actions that are to be completed today. I play about with the selection, ensuring there are 3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) sitting at the top of the entry and weeding out anything that I don’t think is relevant, then I get on with actioning the items. If all of the work is for particular client, I will tag the entry appropriately so that it is easy to find and export the content at a later date. 

So - how do I mark an item as complete? 

Well, this is important, because as I specified before, there are times when I need to export this list to a client to confirm work that has been achieved, so it needs to be highly presentable, yet still readable. No strikethrough font will be used here so what can be used instead? 

Markdown comes to the rescue. 

When a task is in process, I highlight the text, hit ⌘ + I and this indicates to me, at a glance, that I am working on that currently. When it’s complete, I hit ⌘+Bto mark the text as bold. It’s so simple and I daresay there is a lot of room to complicate it further, yet I neither need nor want to at the moment. Each time I enter a new mode during the day, be it PublishingStudyingHomeProject Specific Work, I create a DayOne entry for the actions that need to be completed so I have an auditable trail of everything that has been completed, a list of tasks on me whereever I am and a means of accountability when it’s needed. 

This is not something that will work for everyone, however if you already use DayOne and frequently find yourself needing to provide lists of work completed, or need to work with smaller micro-level lists of tasks and actions, you could do a lot worse than look to using and, where applicable, modifying the process above. 

I’d love to know how you would modify my process to suit your own workflow. It’s not 100% yet and I know there will be various iterations over the coming months to improve it. That’s why I love this stuff! Your input would be greatly appreciated as I know this blog has some great readers. 

IPhone Version

iPad Version