Things 3 not working out the way I thought it would —OR — Why I shouldn’t put everything on the Today view

February 14, 2020

It’s my fault because of how I am using Things, but I’m not sure how to fix it just yet. If I’m being honest with myself, I knew switching to Things from OmniFocus would not solve my overarching task management problem.

The problem is that I mark things as “Today” so I don’t lose sight of those tasks, but I have zero intention of actually doing them today. In fact, they may even be things I don’t intend to do for over a week. I think I do it “so I don’t lose track of them”, but all it does is clutter my “short list” and make it long and difficult to see what I actually need to do right now. Things 3 allows you to organize the tasks into any order you want, and in the beginning I was doing that so the things I need to focus on first were at the top of the list descending in order of priority or order to complete.

So, to fix this I really should clear out my “Today” list of everything that I don’t intend to complete today. The question is: How do I not lose track of tasks? Or, maybe more importantly, how do I break the habit of thinking I will lose track of things if they are not in front of my face??

Maybe I can utilize some of the things I am learning from Atomic Habits in my task management processes. I feel like I will lose track of things because I don’t religiously review and plan. If I am reviewing and planning, then I won’t miss something and I’ll be more intentional with my time. So, the real problem is that I don’t religiously review and plan.

How do I make review and planning a habit… Make it something that is completely automatic and regular?? I have been successful in making journaling a daily habit (using my modified 5-minute journal AM & PM templates in DayOne), as well as my Daily Stoic practice with my good friend JJ in a shared note in Apple Notes.

Habit Stacking, talked about in Atomic Habits, may be the way I can do this. Habit Stacking is essentially adding habits to the end of other habits you already have. As an example, you want to increase fitness by doing pushups every morning. Maybe (hopefully) you already brush your teeth every morning as an automatic habit. You could specify that, after you brush your teeth you will drop to the ground and do your pushups.

For my needs, since I already have a morning and evening habit/ritual of doing my 5-minute journal, both in the AM and PM, I can stack reviewing my tasks directly after writing in my journal. So far I have written in my journal every day for the last 141 days, so that is a pretty solid habit now. I will try this starting tonight.