David’s cool/convenient lists to have

Date: Saturday, March 06, 2010 by GTD Times Staff

David Allen’s list of cool/convenient lists to have
There are critical reminder-type lists that we all need to let our brain relax (re: outcomes and actions). There are other lists, though, that can be useful, fun, and interesting, that fit in the area of “reference” or “support.”

Account and $ numbers– credit card #s, PIN #s, etc. (make sure wherever you keep these, it is safe and secure.)
Affirmations– personal self-talk scripts for positive internal programming.
Basic personal numbers (self and family members)– drivers license, social security, insurance policies, Whatever you may need for yourself and others when filling out forms. (Again, make sure wherever you keep these, it is safe and secure.)
Birthdays– (if you don’t put them on your digital calendar system), group by date, as reviewable (those during a month, put in tickler for that month, etc.)
Borrowed stuff– things you’ve loaned folks and might care to get back someday.
Checklists– Travel, Take sailing…, Personal New Habits to Create, etc.
Gifts– organized by people and/or a general list of neat things to buy for others. Great for birthdays, ad-hoc niceness, and holidays.
Ideas I don’t know what to do with, now that I’ve had them…– we all have them, and they don’t fit anywhere except in an “they don’t fit anywhere” place.
Jokes– the current ones that you’d like to get some more mileage out of (but damn! they disappear out of our brain so fast.)
Might wanna buy…– could be one mega-list, or (more commonly) grouped by the type of thing it is: cds, wines, books, videos.
Might wanna do when…– possibilities when you’re in a certain location or doing a certain activity. By city, country, or region (things to do/think about when I’m in Napa Valley, London, Santiago.) Or by activity (Web surfing places to visit.)
Might wanna do with…– if you’re into any animate or inanimate objects: my kids, my spouse, my dogs, my piano, my woodcarving tools, my garden, my computer.
Previous addresses and employers– keep at least your last three. (What a pain when you have to supply them and you don’t have them!)
Quotes– quotes I’d like to see again from time to time.
Restaurants– for business or pleasure, to review for ideas instead of same-old same-old.
Style or product numbers I may need when I’m buying things– oil filter, vacuum cleaner bags, labeler cassettes, etc.
Tips/Shortcuts– speed-key codes, shortcut codes for new systems (voicemail, answering machine, pager, software apps, new Palm III, etc.) Any new skill set you’re learning can have a remind-me-about list specific to its features and activities until they are habitual and under your belt.
Vacation things to do– those things that you might like to do if you are into seriously doing nothing (take pictures, hike, hotels to stay in for a night, spa treatments, places to explore, etc.)

15 Responses to “David’s cool/convenient lists to have”

  1. I’d recommend a programs like EverNote or Yojimbo for storing this type of informatino. They work great for all of this reference like material without cluttering up your to-do list.

  2. Great set of lists.

    I keep a “drawer” in ToDOMatrix called “GTD Notes”, and in it I have two folders:

    1) How I GTD (I keep a detailed description of my system)

    2) GTD Concepts (key ideas from David’s books)

  3. Eve Maler says:

    How about lightbulb types/styles and max wattages for all the fixtures around the house? I keep one of these as a reference list so I can stock up when I come across a sale, and never need to cart around the old bulb.

  4. Ryan says:

    Some of my extras:
    – books to read (a great list to have when you find yourself in a library). Don’t forget to write down who gave you the reference so you can thank them and give them your impression of the book when you’re finished.
    – same for movies and music
    – Clothing sizes (self, spouse, and kids)
    – Funeral songs (that’s right, I am keeping a list of funeral songs for myself and about 4 other people). I think it’s a good idea…
    – Instructions (for little things you do often enough to need a set of instructions but not as often enough to have them memorized)
    – Stop doing list (like a to-do list but…well…you get the point)

    I use outlook notes for this as it synch’s automagically with my blackberry. And the “find” at the top of the blackberry notes app is crazy fast for finding the info.

  5. I find it helpful to keep a list of which credit cards or payment services (e.g., PayPal) are attached to which sites. In case you lose your credit card or it is reissued, you just go over the list to see which sites need to be updated. I keep it all on an IronKey for extra security.

  6. Don Sakers says:

    @Michael Malcangio: I agree completely about Evernote. AAnd I know it was a typo, but I love “informatino” — perhaps that is the fundamental particle of data?

  7. Anita says:

    Ryan, you can keep your ‘To Read’ list on Goodreads.com.

    I am keeping all the books I am currently reading, have read, and suggested to me list.

    My friends and I can recommend books to each other on this site.

  8. Ryan says:

    @Anita – Solid recommendation. Thanks!

  9. Jay Elmore says:

    @Michael Malcangio:

    I have a reference folder in Dropbox that I use to keep files like these lists. It’s easy for me to print to PDF or copy-and-paste to a text file and save it in there.

    I also have my Inbox folder on the desktop of all of my machines tied to Dropbox as well.

    Bonus! I can make a particular file a Favorite in the iPhone/iPod Touch Dropbox app, and it stores on them on the device for offline use.

  10. Hung says:

    I am a google (task, calendar and mail) man and also a Dropboxer. Since I got my android phone – it all now fits tight. I leveled up my GTD belt 🙂

    I also did try Evernote, but didn’t get it together for me – migth wanna try it someday/maybe the way you recommended it 😉

    The lists you have are inspiring … time to get some more lists to manage 😉

  11. Paula says:

    I have some of these, and they reallty do help.

    Another suggestion to keep with household items is paint formulas. When I get a can of paint mixed, I always ask for a duplicate label – that way when the one on the can fades/gets covered with paint, I still have the formula.

    Does anyone have a good suggestion for the myriad of passwords we have to keep secret, secure, and then change when we start to remember them?

  12. Pat Canaday says:

    Yes – KeePass Password Safe – http://keepass.info/

    Just don’t write down the master password and keep it under your keyboard!

  13. Jennifer says:

    OK, I am an organizationally challenged SAH mom. I can’t quite figure out where I am supposed to keep all the checklists. I have a great filing system in alphabetical order, a tickler file, folders for projects, support materials, etc. but can’t quite figure out where the checklists fit in this scheme. Please help!

  14. Kelly says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Really up to you. If you have a handheld that your Next Action lists can sync to, that could work. Especially if your list manager has a “Notes” or “Memos” section. If you are a paper kind of gal, put them in whatever section of that binder you store Reference.


  15. Flominator says:

    Not to forget: “Potential presents for person X”. Helps a lot around xmas.

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