How To Think About Your To-Dos, Part 2

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How To Think About Your To-Dos, Part 2

So, I said on Monday that you shouldn't think about your to-do system as a source of reward, but simply as a source of truth for tasks you've got to do. I think this is the fundamental factor in sticking to your system, but obviously while most systems should be augmented by technologies but sufficiently simple that they're not wholly dependent on them, I think it's a stretch to say that the app (or whatever) you use doesn't matter at all. So here's a brief expansion on how I make this all work for me.

The app I use is Things (Mac/iOS only, sorry). It looks very nice and clean and splits things up in a GTDish fashion that I find very useful. Crucially, I think, at no time am I ever looking a list of 'everything on the list of possible things for me to do', I'm pretty much always looking at the "Today" view, which (obviously) only shows me things I need to do today.

Tasks are also split up by 'area' (some of mine are Physical & Mental Health, Family & Friends, Activism & Impact—you get the idea, and you can come up with your own), can be associated with a project, and also by when they're going to be done. I add tasks to the "Inbox" section, and then sort them by area and due date later, usually daily, unless they need to be done urgently.

You can also set up recurring to-dos for frequent tasks: every Saturday I have a Chores task with a bunch of subtasks for taking out the bins, doing the laundry etc. Even if I don't do it all on that day, I will still have the nudge that reminds me to do it in the system; I just bump it to the next day.

Anything that doesn't have an explicit date on it lives in the "Anytime" section, ready to be pulled in to "Today" or given a date in the future ("Upcoming"). There's also a "Someday" section where you can put stuff you want to do at some point but not any time soon. This means you can put stuff you want to do at some point but not yet into the system without being worried about losing it, but it's got a place, rather than presenting you with an Overwhelming List Of Stuff, which I think helps with viewing it as a reminder system not a reward system.

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