Wunderlist Site Evaluation
Our challenge today is to get out from under the clutter that so impedes our ability to free space in our minds for creative time. Technological tools can be helpful to store and organize information in an external and readily available site, freeing the teacher to practice mindfulness, focusing on the needs of students, and on processing the important information that lives in the present moment. David Allan’s book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (2001) offers educators a challenging five step pathway to free up time for creativity and foster workflow. The five steps include: Collecting, Processing, Organizing, Reviewing and Doing.
For this post, I have chosen the application “Wunderlist” to explore how this tool might help me to more efficiently attack the first stage of GTD sequence, collecting. The name Wunderlist seems evocative. Wunderlust is a German term meaning desire to travel. Travel requires freedom. Freedom requires unstructured time, a luxury for educators who often are forced to relegate that concept to a “back burner.” The concept of freedom, or Wunderlust, conflicts deeply with pressured deadlines and due dates in multiple venues of my professional and personal life. Wunderlist will help to manage some of the stress of planning ahead.
Presented below it a set of screen shots that depict the sequence of steps that I learned to use as I tried out Wunderlist in real time. While the slides at times do seem repetitive, the overall goal is to demonstrate how easily I could free my mind by using Wunderlist and organize my varied interests and responsibilities.
Figure #1: Wunderlist support. While learning how to use this application, I took advantage of this site and varied Internet searches. (https://6wunderkinder.desk.com) Note: This site seems to be temporarily out of commission as I write this post.
Figure #2: This is the first page that opens on Wunderlist. Note the dark blue line. This is the place to start to drop your thoughts and ideas. You can type as many as you wish. They can stay here or become a task and be moved to a domain or folder, or be removed. No dates are selected at first. This is the “inbox” where you start to get clutter out of your brain. Later some of the tasks will be placed in domains and sub-folders that relate to aspects of your professional and personal life. Just push return after you have typed your thought. Then you can type the next thought. You can then set a due date for a task or just drag the thought to a domain that you establish. Clicking on a box by a task will cause a celebratory bell to chime as the task is removed from the list. (At a later time, if necessary, any task can be retrieved from the trash). One of the great options in this first page is to see the tasks listed that you have completed. Click on the box “Completed To-Dos”. You will see a number next to “Completed To-Dos.” When you select the box you will be able to view each task with a strikethrough over the text. (On my ancient pencil and paper lists, this action always was coupled with great satisfaction1)
Figure #3: Wunderlist allows the user to select three options with each task. A due date and/or reminder date can be selected from a drop-down calendar when the calendar icon is selected. A star may also be selected to indicate that the task has a priority status.
Figure #4: Once you have created a good list of tasks, the next step is to create the domains and folders. See the list of folders and domains at the left; this list was created by selecting the (+) button at the bottom of the list. A space to name the domain or folder will appear at the right of the page. After typing the name, click on it, and you will see the domain or folder listed at the right. (I know this is confusing, sometime a folder has no sub-folder, yet it is still a domain). Domains that are represented by a folder icon have at least one sub-folder. (Domain is a term of my usage, and not in the Wunderlist playbook. In the example below, “Classes 2018-2018” is the domain, and the names of the classes are the sub-folders that I named and placed under the domain. Clicking on a task affords the opportunity to add multiple sub-tasks and typed descriptions.
Figure #5: How to add a task and a sub-task. To add a sub-task select one of the items in the task, simply click on the task. A drop down box will open with the options to add a sub-task and to describe the task. The sub-task also affords the option of adding a due date, a reminder date, and also a priority star. One other addition to a sub-task is the ability to add and explanation. You can also add a reminder date, and you can also choose to prioritize the task by clicking on a star.
Figure #6: Wunderlist can be shared between different platforms on multiple devices. Users can create lists for sharing information.
Figure #7: Tasks that have been accidentally deleted can be easily retrieved.
Figure #8: Wunderlist can connect to Google Calendar
Figure #9: Wunderlist can present the tasks for the week or for the day. Click on the week button to see the list of tasks for the week gathered from multiple domains.
(all images above are drawn from https://www.wunderlist.com/mac/)
Wunderlist is a great tool to start to Get Things Done. I think that it is somewhat limited in comparison to some of the other applications that I explored. It seems to be most weak in the modalities of processing and reviewing. My experience so far has been limited to the free version. It is possible that a subscription might offer more options. At first glimpse, the reviews, that Wunderlist has received are favorable with many positive comments and ratings. From the GTD perspective, this application looks like a good first step in the right direction.
Allen. David. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. New York New City,
Penguin Books, 2001