The Best To-Do List: A Private Gist

I’m a HUGE fan of todo lists. They help me stay organized, prioritize my day and add structure to an otherwise chaotic day. 

I recently discovered what appears to be the best yet simplest way to keep a todo list: a GitHub Gist.

Edit: As mentioned in the comments on HackerNews, this is the best to-do list for me based on my workflow (I use this on a daily basis at Thinkful). Depending on your workflow, other to-do lists might make more sense (here are some recommendations from HN and some from LifeHacker).

Allow me to elaborate: GitHub has this thing called “GitHub Flavored Markdown” which allows you to write task lists.

Go to gist.github.com, create a new Markdown file (ending your filename with .md will auto-set it to Markdown). Enter some Markdown and create a Secret Gist (secret ‘cause you don’t want others peeking on your todos).

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Notice how the above example includes task lists which, when saved, transforms into checkboxes.

The notation is:

  • - [ ] for an empty checkbox
  • - [x] for a checked checkbox
  • Note: As mentioned by Ben in the comments “you need a space between the dash and open bracket and, for unchecked items, a space between the open and closing brackets.”

It’s like magic, but real.

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Whenever you complete a task simply check it off (all changes are automatically saved):

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At the end of my workday I click “Edit” to delete all tasks completed and move tomorrow’s tasks up:

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Save the file (shortcut: cmd + enter) and voila!

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Wait, but what if I want to know when I completed something? Easy, this is GitHub! Simply go to the revisions tab, your entire file change history is available there:

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Find the sample todo list here. Let me know if you found this useful and happy holidays! :)

P.S.: I often tweet about Marketing, Engineering and Startups. You should follow me here.