How to get the Most out of Wunderlist

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Wunderlist has become my close friend and trusted advisor. I’m always learning how to improve my organization and get things done efficiently and productively and Wunderlist is a fantastic tool perfectly suited for this.

I mentioned it previously in the Eleven Tools I use Every Day post, but I wanted to give this one a bit of special attention as it’s increasingly becoming a bigger part of how I work and get organized. It’s perfect for managing my work, the work I do for my clients and all areas of my life.

Using Wunderlist is easy and it’s free, works on Windows and Mac, Android and iPhone and all its variants. Wunderlist is my primary inbox for everything.

wunderlist-shotI use it to gather all the items that come whether they’re bills, client project tasks, or just about anything else. If it’s not an appointment it goes in to my inbox in Wunderlist to be sorted.

The key to getting the most mileage out of Wunderlist is using its ability to create multiple lists. Right now, this morning, I have 15 different lists but that number grows all the time as I add more projects. These are my "Projects" and "Next Actions" lists along with "Someday/Maybe" and my "Waiting For…" lists. (shown on the right)

After I’ve collected everything in to my inbox I then get them sorted in to my lists by dragging them to the right list. Using these lists along with the "Getting Things Done" philosophy has helped me go virtually paperless. One of the biggest helps for me is my "Day’s Top Actions" list. Each morning I go through all my lists as I’m thinking through my day and the things that I need to get done first are moved to this list.

As I mentioned before I’m virtually paperless in this system and I’ve accomplished that by using Wunderlist in conjunction with Evernote.  Each of my projects lists all have a corresponding notebook in Evernote where I keep any associated files for those projects. This is my digital filing cabinet. If it’s paper, it gets scanned and dropped in to the appropriate notebook in Evernote.

It’s perfect for helping me wrap my head around the various client projects that I have going on at any given time. I have project lists for each one of them and in those lists are the tasks I need to accomplish to get their project completed. 

wunderlist-listsI’ve separated out the "NA – Communications" and the "NA – Clients" lists from these project lists. It helps me to prioritize what needs to be done, and gets the communication clutter out of the production-oriented lists for the projects. As I evaluate my production schedule I grab the tasks from the projects lists and put them in to the NA – Clients list and work through them in order. It’s taken a lot off stress off my mind as I can focus on what needs to be done next.

I’ve taken a hybrid approach between something similar to what Michael Hyatt discusses in his posts on Evernote, and a tagging system I found on 40Tech for organizing Evernote and it works great. The one thing that I did a bit differently than either of them is I have created a general reference notebook that is the collection for all archived material and then I also have an alphabetical tag list  for all the items that I want to keep for reference.

wunderlist-overdueWunderlist has a note-taking feature which is nice, but I prefer to keep all my stuff in one place so I keep all my notes in Evernote. It also has the ability to schedule a due date for each task. You can even back-date the tasks if need be to keep a bright red reminder that you’ve got an overdue task (as I do right now).

The best thing about Wunderlist and the primary reason that I use it is that it synchronizes between all your various platforms. I have it on my desktop and my laptop, as well as my Android cell phone. 

Wunderlist will also allow you to share your list with other users too. I know that Cliff Ravenscraft has been using Wunderlist for his show notes for his podcasts and he shares out the link before each show. If those with whom you share your list are not already Wunderlist users they’ll get an invite and you’ll have to reshare the list, but this is a very cool feature.

My work is much more task-based than hard-appointment based and Wunderlist really helps me keep things organized – I can’t recommend it enough. Did I mention that it’s free? How cool is that?!?