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Organizing, Productivity

Getting things done with Hit List

Those of you who have read my article about my journey of organizational planners know that I am an organizational junkie. I love different organizational systems and am constantly jumping from system to system.

However, lately I have settled on a system that really works for me. In fact, I have used it since October, like 6 months now… which is like an all-time record for me! (Okay, not really an all-time record, but definitely longer than usual lately!)

The program is called Hit List, and I must add before I go any further that it is only for Mac. Sorry, PC folks. I guess you PCers can stop reading now.

I won’t go into a ton of detail, but this is why I like this program and why it’s worked better for me than any other program I have used. And the nice thing is right now it is in Beta and it is free! So download it before you have to purchase it! (I liked this tool so much I actually purchased it! And no, I am not getting paid to make any endorsements. I just happen to like to write about organizational products so I am just doing this for fun.)

The tool follows the conventions of Getting Things Done, which many task lists follow. I won’t go into details here, but David Allen’s book outlines a methodology for efficient workflow.

But even if you haven’t read the book, Hit List is useful!

In the top left corner, you will notice an Inbox. This is where you can toss any new tasks that come in if 1) you don’t have time to put them in the right place or 2) you are too lazy to decide where things go right now.

If you want to, you can add a beginning and ending date on it, and if the beginning date is today, it shows up in the Today folder.

So here’s the first reason I like Hit List.

Reason #1. It has pretty colors! It’s all about the pretty colors. You can’t customize or anything, but it has a very pleasant interface.

Reason #2. It’s clean. Nice sans serif font, white space.

(Can you tell I’m a graphic designer? Only graphic designers would put how things look above functionality. :-))

There’s an Upcoming folder too, so you can see all the stuff that’s coming up in the next 30 days. The checkboxes with the little arrows in them are recurring tasks. You can set how often you want tasks to repeat.

You can make project folders. These look like yellow pads.

The picture above also demonstrates the next reason I like Hit List above other tools.

Reason #3. You can nest tasks, something I really love that is not found on many task tools. This is great when you want to group tasks together. There are cute flippy triangles you can use to hide all the subtasks.

But here’s the REAL reason I love this program (two reasons, actually):

Reason #4. You can make smart folders.

Reason #5. You can prioritize your tasks up to 9 priority levels by just typing the number on your keyboard. (And each priority number is a different color — more pretty colors!)

A smart folder is a folder where you make a rule and all the tasks show up in that folder automatically. So what I did was create a smart folder for each day of the week. I use the priority numbers to say what day I will work on that task. (I’ve never really used priority numbers the way they were meant to be used.)

This means if I type a “3,” the task automatically shows up in my Wednesday folder. At the end of Wednesday, I select all the tasks and type “4” and they all show up in my Thursday folder. I then move the Wednesday folder to the bottom of the list so Thursday is on top. This way I never have to think what day it is when I am clicking on what I need to do — it’s always the day at the top of the list.

For anything that needs to be done after the week, I can enter the date in. But that takes longer. I like using the priority tool to move my tasks to the right day immediately. Plus, if something needs to be done later in the week, I type in “5,” moving it to Friday and it disappears from my Wednesday list that I am working on today.

And here’s another one!

Reason #6. You can choose the card view. It’s almost like having flash cards. This is perfect for easily distractible people like me. This is the one task you do — no others.

The image above also shows how you can make detailed notes or drag emails over (which is what I did here). When I click on that link, the original email opens up.

But, even cooler! When you check you are done, the card animates and flips away, revealing the next card underneath! It’s like having Christmas multiple times a day — what new surprise will be revealed next?

(And I’m so proud of myself that I managed to catch the screen shot just right as that card was moving!)

There are a ton of other reasons I like this program, but these are just a few. Almost everything has a keyboard shortcut, you can filter and jump to folders, open multiple folders, drag web URLs to the window and create an immediate task, etc. There’s even a fun sound when you check off your tasks.

What a great program!

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