Saturday, July 7, 2018

To Dos and Time Management

It has been almost over two months since the last update, which is largely due to scheduling collisions between my work and home life. Time is a rare resource and we can’t make more of it and we can’t redo it. We get one shot so we need to make the most of the time we have got. I am in a continual struggle with the clock; I am not great with time. I am intuitively curious and have a tendency to get pulled down tangents and into different projects. I am good at handling the immediate task at hand though often get weighed down or scramble to plan even a few weeks out. I am constantly trying to find a better system or tools to help me manage my time so I am often switching between different apps or systems to find the ideal method.

I used to/still struggle with using my inbox as a to do list, which is like the maginot line for time management pundits (i.e. it seems like a great idea though you are quickly overrun by to dos). While it is highly convenient to use your inbox as a to do item it can be hard to tell which items are messages and which items are actual to dos. Furthermore, if you don’t clear our email regularly and you have all these unread emails it gets daunting.

I am never fully satisfied with a system and have tried several different to-do style apps: Things, Todoist, Google Tasks, Microsoft To Do, and Remember the Milk and I am constantly on the look out for the next one on the horizon. My current app is Things from Cultured Code as I love the design and the functionality for their iOS app. (I am a die-hard iPhone user and having a rock solid iOS app is a requirement.) I also like the fact that the app is not subscription based so their is only a single upfront payment required to access the full app.

I have been using the app for several months now and it is a work in progress though I come across a couple of rather simple lessons learned to help make the everything run more smoothly.

1) Curate your Tasks: Any task management app only works if you can set-up your tasks properly. Things has a share sheet function on iOS, which allows you to import items from the web into the app though it doesn’t really matter your import the item into the app so long as it is availiable.

2) Don’t over Engineer: Don’t spend too much time formatting or setting up a faceted structure around your tasks (even if you want to…). The task should help you manage your workload and not be adding to your workload.

3) Focus on the Large Picture: Improving your time managment is easier to conceptulize if you have a goal or series of goals that tangible. If you have a marker that you want achieve then you can measure your progress.

4)Constantly Iterate: If the system is not working or your seeminly still not where you want to be then change things. The system needs to work for you and provide results. Time is too important to waste unknowingly.