List.it and don’t you forget it

Many people keep (with varying degrees of success) a to do list in one form or another. I for one am always making lists on little pieces of paper (often old card catalog cards) and then losing them in the bottom of my tote. Even worse…I have a friend who procrastinates by recopying lists instead of tackling the tasks they outline.

The folks at MIT have kindly developed a tool to help us manage our lists. List.it is a Firefox (version 3 or above) plugin for electronically creating, managing, and backing-up your list.

List.it's sidebar window

List.it's sidebar window

After downloading the plugin, a small yellow icon will appear in the bottom-right corner of your browser window. Right clicking the icon allows you to quickly type in a new list item. Left clicking the icon opens your list as a narrow window as a sidebar to your browser window.

With the sidebar open you can added list items, edit items, move items up/down in your list, search your list, and best of all – delete items as you finish them. In addition to the regular search box, List.it allows you to create custom quick search buttons. For example, you could start all task related items with the words “to do” and then create a “to do” search button to quickly retrieve entries that include these words.

Example of a "to do" quick search button

Example of a "to do" quick search button

Other advanced features are customizable hot keys and synchronized back-up capabilities.  Under the Options tab you can set hot keys for opening/closing the sidebar, bringing up a search box, and quickly opening an input box. To have your list backed-up on List.it’s secure server, you will need to register your email address with them and create a password.

After playing with this tool for just a few hours, I would say it is intuitive, convenient, and helpful. I’m going to use it to keep track of all the books I would like to order, but can’t afford. Each new item could include a link to an online book review and a department code, such as bookWMST. Then once my budget is something above zero, I can search for bookWMST and retrieve my list of ideas. Ah…that will be a great day.

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