Wunderlist is a truly amazing task management and productivity app. It’s sleek design makes it a very popular choice for beginners and experts alike and offers a range of features suiting both the solo user and teams, or even a household. I had used Wunderlist for a few years and only recently have made the switch to Asana to take advantage of some more project management style features. I love Wunderlist, and I believe you will too. I caught up with Chelsea Richardson, an expert Wunderlist user to gather some insights on how other people are using this simple, and incredibly versatile tool. I particular like how Chelsea moves tasks to her Kill List to get a clear idea of what needs to be done today! I also found her use of hashtags to assign a team to a task to be a very effective trick.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am an associate at Jeffrey DeMure + Associates Architects Planners, a firm specializing in residential, Older Adult, and boutique (aka. projects that don’t fall into one of the other categories) work. I am also a wife and new mother to a nearly three month old little boy. My life is very, very busy. Enter GTD and Wunderlist.
Are you a GTDer? Do you follow a different standardised process, or have you created your own system?
I discovered GTD probably about 5 years ago. Maybe it’s been a little longer. I listened to the audiobook version and have listened to it at least once a year since, often more. Although I don’t follow the method to the letter, my system is pretty close. I’m an app addict and my favorite kind tend to fall under the productivity umbrella. My first love was Omnifocus and I’m still a big fan of it. The biggest drawback that I ran into, wait, actually there’s two. First, it’s way too easy to get sucked into the quagmire that is the program. To be effective, you have to plan the work and then work the work. Omnifocus made me feel super organized and like I never got anything done, because I was always planning the work. The second big drawback was the lack of collaboration in a Mac and PC environment.
How did you first start using Wunderlist and why do you use it over other apps? What are you favourite and least favourite features and why?
Ultimately after trying several different apps, I chose Wunderlist. Frankly a lot of the reason came down to design. Working in a design-centric environment, aesthetics are a big deal and so many of the apps I tried were just plain ugly. What I discovered is that if the app doesn’t make me happy to use it… I won’t. Then I’m off the GTD wagon and in a completely reactive place. Wunderlist’s beauty drew me to it, and its simplicity and flexibility has kept me using it for the last two years. We’ve implemented it in our studio and it works great by following Einstein’s rule of making things as simple as possible, but no simpler.
What is your approach task management with Wunderlist? How do you capture, organise, process, and do?
My setup is pretty straightforward. I mentioned that I tweaked GTD slightly in my system. The main tweak is contexts. Contexts used to make a lot of sense, but with smartphones and iPads, there’s not much I can’t do wherever I am. As such, I don’t focus much on contexts.
The major GTD element that I am dedicated to is capture and process. I have Wunderlist installed on all of my devices and if I think of anything I need to do, I immediately drop it in the Wunderlist inbox. From there, I process everything into my lists. We have shared lists for different aspects of our work in the studio, agenda lists for the various team meetings we have, and then I have my lists for the projects that are on my plate. I have a Kill List and a Next Targets List.
My Kill List is the stuff I want to accomplish today. Either at night or in the morning, I’ll go through my Next Targets List and move the things I want to accomplish into my Kill List. I try to just keep a couple of things on my Kill List, with the goal of it being empty at the end of the day. If a project is just going to take a few steps, I keep it in one of these lists and use subtasks to list out the steps (next actions) to accomplish the project. If a project is more intensive with several phases and collaborators, I make it its own list and define the tasks for that project there. Then I’ll just put a bookmark on my Kill List to remind me that something needs to be done to move that project forward.
I use hashtags to either assign general context (such as #CALL Joe Smith or #EMAIL re: printer situation) if necessary. I also use them to assign more than one team member to a project using initials (e.g., Inventory the plotter room #KW #AS). Wunderlist only allows you to assign one person to a task, so we use that field to assign the person who is actually responsible for owning and managing the task; the hashtags represent the support team.
The other thing I love to do is keep project support materials or notes in Evernote and then use Copy Note Links to put a link in the notes section of the Wunderlist task. This doesn’t always work depending on the current build of Wunderlist, but it’s working now and I love it.
Wunderlist Free or Pro and Why?
We’re on Wunderlist for Teams! I was a Wunderlist Pro subscriber almost from the beginning. I can’t even remember what the additional features were back then, but I remember they were good. Regardless of the features, my M.O. is: if something makes my life better, I should support it. So I support Wunderlist by paying for it. Evernote too.