Embed Your To-Do List Onto Your Desktop

For the next week and a half, readers are submitting their best life hack for a chance to win an autographed copy of our new book, Upgrade Your Life.
Reader Denis wanted to embed a to-do list on his Windows desktop, and came up with a no-install solution:

I wanted a way to have an editable to-do list on my Windows desktop when I realised that Active Desktop and a simple HTML page can do the trick. I use only the basic HTML tags to make it readable. In order to make the list easy-to-edit, I created a BAT file that opens the HTML page with Notepad ready to be edited.

Here's what Denis' todo.html file looks like. Web monkeys will notice that the markup is there, but it is light and simple:

Active Desktop embeds any web page—whether it's saved on your computer or on the web—onto your Windows desktop. To add a page to your desktop, go to Control panel, Display, Desktop, and choose "Customize Desktop". On the "Web" tab click "New" and add the location of your to-do list HTML file, as shown.

Here's what Denis' desktop looks like:

The Edit link at the bottom of the list points to a batch file that opens the list in Notepad. The source of the todo.bat file is one line:

start notepad.exe c:\notes\todo.html

Denis says you can embed any number of lists using this method, but that you'll need a separate batch file to edit each one. Congrats, Denis! You just won an autographed copy of Upgrade Your Life.

Want to win one of your own? Here's how.


    Very neat however you have to right click on the desktop or in the todo web page on the desktop to refresh it for changes made to the underlying html file.

    You could also make a browser link to the web page in your favourites/bookmarks or on a personal toolbar in your browser.

    For me I prefer to use an Excel file saved as a html file with a Due Date column, a Priority column, a Task Name column & a Details column.

    The priority column is a number calculated from the difference between the due date and today's date. If the due date has already passed then the priority number will be shown as a minus number and in red.

    The list can then be sorted according to due date, priority or task name.

    I have saved this file in a Data folder on a Network drive & set up a short cut on my desktop. I also have a link on my browser links bar for the html file.

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