I started out with great intentions that I would record and document all my actions for three weeks starting in January with three different methods. Unfortunately towards the end of the run I got bored and confused as the final task manager (Omnifocus) was just starting to get too much and I was drowning in a sea of uncompleted tasks. Now I know there will be people out there that could tell me exactly how to manage my time with this app but I came to the realisation relatively early into the weeks testing that I wasn’t going to get on with it fully. I spent time learning how to use it on the internet and thought I had picked up enough to understand how best I was going to manage but I was wrong, partly due to wanting to use it in an overly simplified manner. I am sure OmniF is a great app for people with many projects on the go but it swamped me with information that I either didn’t need to know or didn’t want to know. I put this down to the screw loose between the chair and the keyboard! and I may return to it at a later date. But in trying out this app it made me see what I was really looking for. Mostly I used to get by with a hoch potch of stickies, back of envelopes, mini whiteboards or maybe a diary if I was given one at work. This did not make for a particularly organised life but non the less added a bit of structure that would have in all honesty descended into chaos if I had not. Funny how you go through life avoiding and rebelling against parental advice for it to only mark your life later to the point you wake up one day and think “Oh, they might of been kind of right”. Well you wouldn’t want to admit this openly to them or anyone else in earshot, would you? Well it was my fathers tidiness and orderliness, from a career in the merchant navy that came back to bite me and here I am now putting things back in there rightful places and starting to use task manager software.
Going back to the test it was interesting to find that what I thought would be the pinnacle of task management turn out not to be and in fact even the simplest method of pen on paper turned out to be more productive to me. In the long run though it was not a particularly manageable form unless I started writing down days worth. Moving on to the Notes app on my iPhone I felt that this was a very good way of concentrating ones effort but again only for that current day. As the time went by both with paper and Notes app I was having to constantly redraw the daily schedule. Given that I don’t have a super busy schedule this wasn’t so much of a problem. However, I can imagine if I was to find myself in a tsunami of task management things would become a bit sticky.
At the end of the test I was left thinking that none of the systems really fitted my desired mode of operation but settling on the Notes app as it worked faultlessly on everything and could also use it as a semi photo diary too. Moving on a week or so I was thinning out the apps on my phone as part of decluttering, downsizing and only having the things on that were used in the last 90 days, I came across an app called Things. BINGO! It was exactly what I was looking for and I must of brought it when I was at the height of app buying sprees. It completely fitted my use and have been using it ever since. There is a desktop app too but I have restrained myself as partly it is £40 and also I don’t need to be able to sit at my computer and manage the day as it can be done just as well from the phone.
It is said something along the lines of its better to travel in hope than arrive and in this post I would certainly agree. Now that I have found a system that I can work with lets see how much more productive I can become.