List of Six, available from Baby Katie Media and created by Bryce Beattie, is a nifty, small program that does exactly what it says it does: keeps short (6 items or less) lists of things-t0-do in an easy to use, user friendly interface that masks the real power of the program. It’s astounding how many things you can accomplish when you keep the list of things you need to do short and sweet. It’s something I know I certainly need, and I have a feeling that when my wife tries this, she’s going to be hooked.
See, my wife loves to-do lists. She likes to keep a running task list in Microsoft Outlook, and Outlook allows her to check a box marking when the item is completed. The problem is, Microsoft Outlook is an expensive and expansive program with a lot of nuances. Just getting it installed is a chore. Getting it to get it installed isn’t easy either. This is no free download from Microsoft, people, this is going to set you back enough money to buy the entire Microsoft Office suite, which is expensive, and that’s a lot of disk space to eat just to have a task manager.
Sure, there are others you can use. Many of them will be free, and dedicated just to being a task manager. That’s fine. What Bryce has done, however, is take an idea for the software from a story written a few decades ago (when there was still a steel industry in the United States and which is provided on both the website and in the readme file) and based his software on that principle. It works great, it’s efficient, and it’s so simple. I doubt you can find another task list manager that will be as nifty.
The beauty of List of Six is that it forces you to keep the list short. One of the things that makes my beloved sigh and procrastinate is the length of the list of things she has to do. Her Task Manager doesn’t do anything to help her prioritize the things she’s staring at, either. All of them are just tasks waiting to get done, staring out at her from the Task Manager pane with their metaphorical arms folded over their chests and tapping their tasky little toes impatiently. All of them clamor for equal attention, and when they don’t get done by the deadline they turn a nice, urgent red so that you’ll see them better.
Problem is, they’re lost amidst the other red items in that task list, which manages to always look like a roulette betting board.
Enter List of Six. It’s simple. The program presents you with a text field, where you can see the items you have on your list. It has a handful of buttons that are clearly labeled in normal, everyday English. No cryptic terminology or jargon to figure out. You can complete a task, add one, see the history of what you’ve done, and delete them as necessary from the list. You can then print the list out so you can take it with you, which is great for those quick runs to the grocery store to pick up a few items. Now, instead of letting yourself get all off-track and doing the aisle-surfing thing, ending up with a cartful of items instead of the four you actually wanted to get, you can take a moment, make a List of Six list and print it out to take with you.
And, if you get too ambitious and try to add more than 6 tasks to the list, you’ll get this little message:
This’ll keep you from getting overwhelmed. Nothing’s as flabbergasting and paralysis inducing as staring at a list of 300 things you need to get done before the end of the year. This way, you put in the top six, order them according to their importance, and get them done. Voila, no more arm-length lists of stuff to do over the weekend.
As writers, we need some help sometimes to get things moving forward. List of Six can help us do that by helping us eat the elephant one bite at a time instead of trying to take it all in one gulp.
The program’s flexible in its ability to allow you to re-order the priority of your activities, too. Just throw your list up there as it occurs to you. Drag the items up or down the list with the mouse to put them in a new order. It’s that easy. If a task suddenly drops off your radar screen, delete it or re-order the list to address the new priorities. In addition, there’s a history of the activities you’ve finished over a specified period of time – the prior week, month, year or all time. Cool, huh?
It’s terrific, it’s cheap and Bryce provides a money-back guarantee if you’re not pleased with the program for any reason. See the List of Six website for more information. Is it worth $14 to you to be able to increase your productivity? Even if you have a hundred things you have to do, tacking those things in groups small enough to see them all in one clear, clean screen and getting them knocked out will make you feel better about yourself.
Give it a try, and let the efficiency begin.