We all have stuff that needs to be done, and keeping it together is clearly difficult enough to warrant the existence of a gigantic to-do list industry.

Recently I stopped writing to-do lists, at least as most of us know them.

Instead I opted for writing anything that needs to be done directly into my calendar. I use BusyCal on OSX because of it plays nice with Google Apps and has local network integration.

In my mind there is no better to-do list than one that reminds us not only what needs to be done, but also when it needs to be done. To-do lists don’t really engender action–without time specifically allocated to a task they’re just a list after all, and there are never enough hours in the day …

Allocating specific time to do the work made all the difference for me. Importantly I now know when a task can actually be done; at the moment I’m about 4 weeks out on dealing with any discretionary client requests. Before the change it’d be hours of late night “catch up”. So this is also very much about taking control of my time.

It takes a little time to get used to moving from those lovely long lists that make us feel either incredibly important or totally overwhelmed (or both) to putting everything in your calendar but you’ll be glad you did.