August 18, 2008

The Book

When I was in college, I carried around this little book. It was about 4 x 2.5 inches² and it was blank inside. Well, not blank in the plain white paper sense, but it was lined, and those lines were blank. It was paperbound, with a picture of Albert Einstein on the cover. No, I didn't get it to make me feel smarter, I got it because that's what was available at the Caltech Bookstore.

For much of college Einie was my constant companion. Each line of each page held a reminder of something to do, from the utterly mundane (buy a new toothbrush) to the critically important (get letters of recommendation for grad school) it was all in my little book. I used to mark the last completed page with a receipt for a bookmark, and I was religious about not moving it until I had crossed every item off the list as "done" and made a vertical slash through the list on that page.

My roommate did the same thing, and in fact, he's the one that I stole the idea from. But somewhere along the line, somewhere in grad school, I stopped using the book.

I still make a million small lists, email this person, call that person prep this lecture, call the groomer, etc., but they kind of scatter. I have so many lists now, I forget what's written where. On my desk at the moment are about four small papers with notes, a whiteboard full of notes on things I needed to do last semester, and a big scratch sheet with notes and diagrams and 3 different lists from the last week alone.

I need one list. One that I can carry around and edit. It's funny. I mean, I have always had a memory like a steel trap, but these days I am so busy I have reached the working memory buffer limit. Which is seven items, BTW, which is why phone numbers are 7 digits in this country. Really. Ma Bell hired psychologists to determine the best length to remember...

Anyway, because of this I have become an aficionado of Google Calendar. It's easy to edit, smart, and follows me everywhere. And yet my to-do list has taken a step back in technology. My life in a million little pieces. Of paper.

I so need a useful, carry-able to do list again. Einie was awesome. I need to dig out the empty books I have in a box somewhere and start anew. Although, an online list would be helpful as well. One that I can edit and store online, and most importantly access and edit anywhere. Because you never know when I'll remember something I need to do. Anybody know a good one?

The thing is, I don't do PDAs, I never had a smartphone (although that is coming in the next couple of weeks) and the idea of ANOTHER gadget just to keep my to-do list is utterly ridiculous. But you all are super bright, and well, frankly, often a LOT more tech-savvy than I am. So any suggestions you have for a high-tech replacement for good old einie are VERY welcome and will be much appreciated.

Posted by caltechgirl at August 18, 2008 01:26 PM | TrackBack

Do you have a cell phone? If so then all you need to do is activate your Google calendar's SMS abilities. You can send yourself text messages to set appointments and reminders, then print off your Google calendar daily and keep it in your purse or pocket.

Posted by: Venomous Kate at August 18, 2008 01:44 PM

I actually do that with reminders from the calendar, but I want something with more of a general to-do list functionality, without being tied to a calendar.

Posted by: caltechgirl at August 18, 2008 01:55 PM

Google Hipster PDA. Basically, you buy a stack of 3x5 cards and a binder clip, and you have a pinnacle of technology!

For websites, Toodledo works pretty well.

If you have a mac,


Posted by: Pierce Wetter at August 18, 2008 02:18 PM

I like

Posted by: silvermine at August 18, 2008 03:45 PM

Try ToDoIst,

Posted by: [IMH] at August 18, 2008 04:18 PM

Cool question and answers. Now I'll have to check it out. I need something as well.

Posted by: vw bug at August 18, 2008 06:12 PM

I too, love to do lists so I will be much interested in what you find out :)

Posted by: Carmen at August 19, 2008 08:12 AM

Wow. I just used the old fashioned 3x5 cards or yellow stickies. I had no idea they had all this high tech stuff for listmaking.

Posted by: Bou at August 19, 2008 06:58 PM

I'll have to look into these too...

Posted by: Mrs. Who at August 19, 2008 06:59 PM

Ooh....this is my crack...and you just gave me my fix. *wink*

Posted by: Lauren at August 19, 2008 11:26 PM