How do you keep track of everything?

Just broke into PM role. I am PM for 2 teams, coordinating with 2 VPs. A lot going on all the time. I tried a couple to-do apps, and notion but it just doesn’t do it for me. So how do you keep track of everything like to-do’s, research topics, meeting notes etc.?


Actually this is my advice. I don’t write things down. Important is to be remembered. Unimportant I will forget.


It’s legitimately good advice. For many products and companies things change so fast and so frequently that documenting the discussions is a waste of time.

Sure you can refer back and say “but you said last month the requirement was X” but in the end that’s not important. What’s important is that you align to the requirements as understood today.

It can feel like bad management sometimes, but this is actually a philosophy that hits at the heart of agile methodologies.


I am very jealous that this works for you, because I have definitely messed up some projects because I didn’t have everything properly tracked.


OneNote and dedicated review time at the start of the day

Also do a lot of internal prioritization, get a lot of requests but few of them are actually important/priority


You start with Notion, then Evernote, then Miro, then Confluence, then Notes, then a Trello board, and then pen and paper. Then you lost track of everything. Then you rinse and repeat for every single project you will ever work on! Welcome to product management (aka chaos management).


I went back to pen and paper for my daily stuff. I make a weekly overview of my important projects. Everyday I start by going over my schedule and writing to-do’s for myself. Works like magic. Always found the digital ways too time consuming.


I have one giant Kanban board for myself. Statuses are “To Do”, “Doing”, “Blocked”, “Done.” Anything that comes up or that I think about, I add to the To Do. I shuffle around the order at the beginning of the week, sometimes also the beginning of the day.

Recurring stuff I either have scheduled as a meeting or as a Slack reminder to myself.

Meeting notes? Take them live (or assign someone to do it) and share them out ASAP after the meeting. Honestly I find meeting notes to be not a huge deal and usually a sign of over complicated meetings. IMO meetings should be about one or two clearly defined decisions and you don’t really need complicated notes when that’s the case.


Noting things and performing follow ups right on the meetings is the latest work hack I’ve rediscovered. I stopped caring, usually share my screen with notes, docs or tickets and do things on the fly during the meeting. At the end I have followed up on most of the things, sans meeting with other people or actual harder todos. And sharing the process on screen commits you to doing it all the way through.

YMMV but do as many of the follow up actions as possible before the meeting is over.


I like Evernote. I’ve also set up a private Jira board in the past for myself as well.


The big thing to know here is that there is no application that will do what you want until you have a system that’s working.

Look into a couple of productivity systems to see if they will work for you: Getting Things Done, Inbox Zero, Bullet Journal, etc. Don’t fall too far down the rabbit hole on productivity, that way lies madness. But find a system or combination of systems that work for you and tweak it to work better for you.

We know that humans retain information better when writing vs typing, so I would recommend taking a system into a blank notebook, tweaking it until it works for you, and then move that into a task tracking / note taking application or combo of applications that suits your needs.

Then, you have to do the hard part. Maintain it. The easy part is the first 2-5 days, you’ll check your notes/application and be on your way. But from there, it’s a little bit of work to build the habit of updating/maintaining the system: don’t quit! Getting over the hump of building the habit is what makes everything happen.

The standard disclaimers apply: YMMV, sometimes the best tool for a job is one that you are the most familiar with.


Pen and paper. Although sometimes it looks like a table of contents made babies with scratch paper.


Todoist is the app I use, and I’m using something close to the Getting Things Done method. It takes awhile to get the system in place and the app setup the way that works best for a person, but it is worth it in the long run. Some people work best with just pen and paper though…


I took a half day GTD seminar 10 years ago and it probably shaped my day to day more than any other 4 hours since. I’ve gone through all the apps and also currently on Todoist; the built in Inbox is great, recurring/date based reminders better than others I’ve tried.

Highly recommend reading GTD but takeaways for me: collect info quickly and with little structure (I’ve got Todoist open on my desktop and a widget on my phone Home Screen, notebook for meetings), then process it with lots of structure in batches (take your notes/emails/slacks you saved and sort/prioritize 1-2 times/day). Use the 4 Ds: Do it (<2mins), delegate it (to someone else), defer it (later), or drop it. Per the other threads, you can probably drop more than you think. Review your list once a week to see where you’re at and add/remove stuff from your lists.


I have my Notes app. I have a running to-do list using the checkboxes feature. Every day I allocate ~3-5 “Big Things” for that day. If it doesn’t make the cut today, it rolls over to tomorrow.

I block off time on my calendar to get to my to-do list.

I have a personal backlog in the same note that’s “oh I can get to that when I have a moment” stuff.

And once I check something off, I move it to the bottom of the note. To a running list of things I accomplished broken down by week. So then I can go back and see “oh I helped X out with that user research project the week of Feb 10th” - this can be helpful when I have to argue for salary bumps, burnish the resume, etc.

Oh, and I keep my email inbox to 10-35 at a time. Once I do the thing the email is cueing me to do (task update from Asana, update on a Jira ticket), I delete the email, so my inbox is a secondary to do list.

Everything else? Like meeting notes? If it didn’t make the cut for an action item, or isn’t something I’m going to need to share with other people, I don’t really need to keep track of it. Mostly I use taking notes in meetings as a way to keep my attention on what they’re saying so I don’t multitask during the call.


Honest answer from me: I make tons of Asana tasks. It integrates with everything so when someone slacks you, emails you, whatever, you can just throw it on your Asana todo list. I roughly follow Getting Things Done and always assign a project and due date. If you want you can put tags like Waiting, Reading, 1-1 Topics, etc.

For more ambiguous tasks feel free to keep it high level and put a sub task for what you think the next step could be. It could be “figure out what to do first”. I don’t put due dates on sub tasks in asana. I find it makes my task board confusing.

Every morning review your list sorted by due date. There will be a ton to do! That’s when you prioritize and decide what you will NOT do.

As you complete things, leave comments for yourself so you can look back and see what you did later. You can also come back and view your completed tasks whenever you need to do a weekly/monthly/quarterly reflection or if you need to remember what you accomplished for a performance review.

If you find yourself cutting big things that really should get done then you need help and should think about how you could delegate some things or hire some help.


Honestly, no app/suggestion is going to solve this for you.

I would rather revisit what I am trying to achieve. Is it gathering all this info into one place and then moving them into individual buckets? Is the data I am spending time gathering worth it? Are there better/automated ways of gathering data to remove manual processes (e.g. auto meeting note transcriber)? Am I gathering too much useless information that makes me discard what I am doing? etc. etc. etc.

Review your problem statement and then look for the right tools to attack it.

My way (and this works for me): Notion as a catch all and then spend time EVERY DAY converting notes into either tasks, to-dos for that day yada yada. And I always keep a notepad besides me to capture crap that might be said on a phone call OR when typing during a screenshare/meeting is an issue. And for doodling shit in boring meetings.


Miro for diagramming and brainstorming - to get the visual aspect of a project or flow out of my head

Confluence and JIRA for the larger PRD and work breakdown for the teams

Text edit or my analog notepad for day-to-day tasks. I have a notepad that is mostly a calendar - so I take notes in each day of the week within that then carry over tasks that I care to continue to the next week.

Like others have said analog is how I start my day - jotting down everything in my head - then I move all team or cross collaboration work to the system that those people track in (calendar reminder invites for stakeholders, JIRA for engineers, etc).

Oh and delegate as much as I can!

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I start my day checking my Notion list where I have a todo for every day. Anything I won’t be working on will be pushed on the “WIP todo”, if it becomes irrelevant, I’ll delete it.

Then throughout my day, I will use pen and a notebook to write down all tidbits of my day.

At the end of my day, I check my notes and update todo list accordingly.