When you need to get things done, there are a few basic principles to keep in mind: You need to prioritise your to-do list, you need to know how much time each task takes, and you need to account for breaks to keep concentration levels high. Do Now automates these processes to help you tackle your action items.
Do Now is special because it recognises the link between these principles and marries them into a cohesive interface. Over time, you will be able to use this free Android app to get better at time management and set up routines to tackle tasks.
Break Down And Manage Your To-Do List
Do Now starts with setting an agenda. Like with any to-do list app, you have to list all the tasks that you want to do. These can basically be categorised in two sections: Planned and Unplanned. Planned actions are the things you want to do today, while unplanned actions are more of a “mind dump” for those tasks that you want to do some day.
The app connects with your Google account so you can import and sync your Google Tasks list (Read: Five killer ways to use your Google Tasks). One user has also set up a way to sync your Todoist list. It’s a small but nice feature so that you aren’t starting from scratch.
Do Now also has a section for routines, where you store a series of actions that you do regularly. This section’s true impact can be seen in time-tracking, but even otherwise, it’s nice to have a set to-do list of multiple actions that you can start in one tap.
Setting Up Do Now For Success
Take a few minutes and line up a series of actions you want to start doing, and set the estimated amount of time for each. Tap the “Play” icon to start the timer on the first task.
At any point, you can add more time to the task, in increments of five minutes. When time is up, an alarm will notify you and you can choose to finish the task and move to the next or hit Snooze and keep working on it till you are done.
Following the principle of the Pomodoro technique, Do Now lets you set breaks between tasks. You can customise the time increment for both the break and the snooze features.
The idea here is to track the amount of time you think a task takes, and see how much time it really took you. As you gather more data, Do Now will tell you how much time you actually need to allocate for tasks that you repeat often. As mentioned earlier, this really helps when you are checking how much time a routine takes.
The app has charts and graphics to present all this data, as well as pure statistical representation too. It’s as good as using Excel to create self-updating charts. You’ll be surprised how often you are wrong, and once you have actual data, you can go about applying better time management techniques.
Making Time For Your Passion Project
Personally, Do Now’s biggest impact for me was in the “Unplanned” section. Everyone has passion projects, be it writing a novel or finally building an iOS app from scratch. But the problem is scheduling your passion projects. We don’t really know how much time each task will take. And then there are other unplanned activities like cleaning the garage or making a meal plan, which infringe on your time.
The “Unplanned” section lets you add these tasks and set an estimated time. For example’s sake, let’s say you’re writing a book and set “Write 1000 words” and assigned 30 minutes to it. Similarly, you have assigned 30 minutes to cleaning the garage, and another 30 for making a meal plan. The next time you have 30 minutes of free time, you browse the Unplanned section to pick a task you want to tackle.
Once you time the task, you will know how long it actually takes. So you might find out that 1000 words in 30 minutes is not what you can manage, and you can thus change the time requirement to 45 minutes. Similarly, if a meal plan takes only 15 minutes, you can set the time accordingly.
The big benefit is that your unplanned and unscheduled tasks finally become manageable because you know how much time they will take, and you can start tackling them accordingly.
Do Now Vs. The Rest
Do Now’s biggest shortcoming right now is that it is restricted to Android, which means you can’t use it on any other platform like Wunderlist nor share tasks with others like Any.Do.
Still, that doesn’t stop the app from being useful, since it does other things well, so if you primarily use an Android smartphone, it’s worth getting Do Now. Without a doubt, this is one of the best Android apps to manage your to-do list.
Download: Do Now for Android (Free)
How Do You Manage Your To-Do List?
There is no one right way to handle your to-do list. Some productivity experts think it’s about prioritisation, some reckon it’s about time management, and some say it’s about setting your list by mood. How do you prefer to tackle your to-do list? How important is time-tracking?
Let us know in the comments!