To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

The To-Do List

How do you keep your to-do list?

Paper? iOS Reminders app? A spreadsheet?

What's on it? Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul? Anything else?

I've been using Toodledo for years. Well over 10 years now. It has an iOS app as well as a web app. It has a kajillion features with folders, contexts, priorities, due-dates, starred items, a "hot list", status, and even hierarchies of related items.

I've started using Trello. Which means I have two (similar) to-do lists, old and new.

Trello has considerably less built-in structure. Boards. Lists. Cards. That's kind of it. You can assign people and color code the cards. But. You can adapt this flexible structure to a lot of purposes. I'm a little vague on how best to handle repeating tasks. There's a "Card Repater Power-up" that handles this, I think.

Currently, I've got Toodledo folders with names like "Commissioning/Survey", "Repair", "Maintenance", "Operations" (What's the distinction between ops and maintenance?) "Inspect", "Upgrades", "Offshore" (A kind of upgrade category, why is is separate?) and "Tools" (with nothing in it, why is it still there?)

I've got Toodledo contexts with names like "ADC/Engine" (ADC is American Diesel, my supplier for parts) "Boatyard/Haulout", "Ongoing" (Nothing in here, what does it mean?), "Red Ranger", and "Shopping" (Which is really planning.)

Clearly, I have too many folders and contexts because I don't know what they mean or why they're there.

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In tech world (from which I'm retired) it would be time for a retrospective. What works? What should we do more of? What should we do less of? What's really important?

  • Collaboration. We need one, central list. Either tool does this well. Trello seems a little easier to add collaborators and share.

  • Relatively simple organization of data. Too many folders and contexts can be bewildering. CA likes the visual layout of Trello.

  • Recurring scheduled tasks. Everything in my "Maintenance" and "Operations" folders is really a recurring task. Oil change. Rig inspection. There appear to be Trello Powerups for this.

  • A variety of "in-process" options. Shopping for parts is a precondition to doing the work, for example. The picture above is a reminder than the 2″ zincs may be too long and I need to buy 1¾″ zincs (E-1D, not E-1.) This is a blocker for the real job, which is to change out the engine zinc. Which is a repeating inspect and replace task.

Here are some of the options:

  1. Reorg Toodledo. It has an offline app; it can work when we're not close to shore. We can collaborate. It's visually old-fashioned, and a bit cluttered. I only pay about $36 annually for this, but I think a collaborator needs a not-free subscription, so maybe it's closer to $72 if we both use it.

  2. Move my notes from Toodledo to Trello. With more than one powerup, this becomes "Gold Level" and will cost something like $40 annually.

  3. Switch to Asana, Basecamp, or Wrike or one of the various Trello alternatives that provides repeating tasks.

Of course, this isn't the whole story. There are more files:

We have an inventory of boat systems. It lists everything. It lists many (but not all) consumable supplies, tools, and maintenance tasks. It also lists a lot of other things. It's a complex outline, actually, because a flat list of "systems" seems unhelpful. Further, the ongoing notes and reminders and what-not need some freedom. The inventory document includes, for example, all the pump rebuild kit part numbers.

We have two Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) docs. These overlap a lot, and someday we'll edit them into a single SOP that we can maintain. CA is really pragmatic and writes good, focused documentation. I don't.

We have cruising history and cruising plans, but that may be separate from the maintenance, repair, and overhaul/upgrade tasks. May be separate. Preparing to leave is a list of "must do" tasks, including provisioning, as well as finishing repair projects and maintenance tasks.

Interestingly, when I go to export my data from Toodledo, it can still support the PalmOS app. PalmOS! I had a palm pilot. In the 90's. I think I recall buying Toodledo because it was a Palm app that had a web interface. Maybe it's been 25 years!?!

Update: Total 246 total cards in the Trello to-do board.