Life with Backpack & Satchel

Although there are positive and negative aspects to living my life by lists (can you say control freak?), I've found that I'm simply happier just giving in to my desire to micro-manage my time. I've used several applications in the past for this purpose, but I've never been happier that I am with 37signals' Backback on the web, combined with Satchel on my iPhone! I literally use this website more than any other (even more than Google!), and I'm sure that I tweak my lists and notes (or at least glance at them) several times an hour, every day of the week. Since everything is on the web (rather than trapped on my hard drive), I can mess with it at home, at the office, or anywhere at all via my iPhone. I just love the simple, clean look of Backback, and the brilliant user interface (which allows be to drag around list items) is just my style. Backpack actually has tons of features I don't even use, since I keep my calendar using iCal and MobileMe. The funny thing is that I'm still using the free version after nearly three years of constant use! (I really should pay them something since they are kind of ruling my life.) Here's a quick look at how I use Backpack and Satchel to organize myself, all in five simple pages.

To Do: Of course, my first page contains standard things to do, using Backpack's awesome lists, which let me quickly order items or even move them between different lists. I have lists for Today, Weekend, Do Soon, and Goals (which are longer projects that I'm committed to working on daily, like organizing photos). First thing in the morning, I uncheck the usual things from my Today list (like studying Japanese and exercising), just for the joy of checking them again when I get them done. On Friday I uncheck my Weekend items (like laundry) and do the same thing.

Projects: I use this page mostly for ideas, so I won't forget when I'm inspired by some concept for a video or anything I'd like to create someday, along with detailed notes when I flesh something out. I also use this page for blog post ideas (like the one you're reading now).

Shopping: This is a pretty specific page, which is mostly a list of cool things I want to buy someday that don't really work on my Amazon Wish List (like obscure T-shirts or toys). There are also lists of gifts (ideas for things to buy for friends and family, or for keeping track of Christmas gifts and such), plus specific lists of collections I'm working on (like Planet of the Apes figures!) so I can remember which ones to buy!

Remember: This page is a catch-all for all kinds of random notes, but also has some specific stuff like my auto maintenance log (so I can keep the Acura service shop honest!), investment funds to check out, and plans for future vacations and trips. Backpack was especially useful for planning my latest Walt Disney World trip!

Thoughts: My last page is filled with personal notes, such as my last few years of New Year's resolutions (so I can see how I did!), affirmations that have helped me out, and other random stuff in the philosophical category.