Most effective way to set up todos?

I’m still making the perfect todo method, have tested many, and feel like im getting closer to completion – does anyone know of a fail-safe way they’ve found to be incredibly helpful?

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I’m a big fan of Mark Forster’s methods. But nothing is failsafe. If you fail to do, then no method can solve that.

my method is failsafe, that’s one of the many aspect of what makes something, at least for a good amount of things in the universe, good, including that of todos

i was unable to find the method due to the site being a mess, and i wasnt able to review it due to not being able to find the method. you hadnt mentioned what was good about it

what exactly is incredibly helpful about it?

Mark is a chronic experimenter so there isnt one method but rather a series of variations. What’s common to them all is an emphasis on doing things little by little. Typically ypu would write stuff in a simple list and just scan through them looking for a thing to work on, do that for a bit, and set it aside for later by moving it to the end of the list. If you do this consistently while also taking care not to be doing too much stuff, you will find everything gets taken care of in due time.

Search “Simple Scanning”.

dont see/understand how that would be a helpful or good or effective way,

the most effective way currently would be priority based + other many ‘setups’ + checks & tests

(unless i see/run into something way better)

That’s a matter of approach. Mark would argue vigorously that “Priority” is not the way to organize your work. It’s more a matter of whether you will do it, or won’t do it, and his emphasis therefore is on minimizing effort organizing and maximizing time doing it. In the process of doing it you will gain a better handle on what is out there to do and understand your workload better.

But if you are happy with your priority-based approach, carry on.

I don’t believe in fail safe methods in this area. In the heat of the moment we’re all fundamentally irrational to varying degrees, and external pressures aren’t static. Using an outliner like Dynalist, rather than a dedicated todo app like Todoist, Things, or Omnifocus is teaching me the value of context and not giving every todo a due date or reminder.

Giving everything a due date and/or reminder seems reassuring … at first. “I definitely won’t neglect to do this important thing now! Right?!” Hmm :thinking:

Until one day you realise that you’ve become conditioned to subconsciously ignore reminder notifications and little red iOS badges (and the red date tags in Dynalist), or have developed a ‘Snooze’ reflex… and sadly a snooze reflex doesn’t seem to protect flow state! And now you’re expending effort trying to reschedule todos into realistic time slots instead of making valuable progress.

Here’s what seems to be helping me at the moment

  1. Keeping todos alongside notes and other context, so that I’m reminded of ‘why’ and ‘what done feels like’ each time I look at them
  2. Using infrequent reminders (e.g. once a day at most) to review my goals
  3. Ensuring each important goal/project has a documented next step

Of course it’s possible to simply refrain from assigning dates to Todoist/Things/etc items, but these apps aren’t flexible enough for point 1. Neither are the popular ‘notes’ apps like Apple Notes, Evernote, Bear etc: their hierarchy is far too rigid and flat to be my external long-term memory. For me, this is a huge plus of ‘enhanced outliners’ like Dynalist.

This is probably quite GTDish, but I have’t read the book, or Mark Forster’s … kept putting it off … so I’m not sure :expressionless:

Maybe this will be useful in someone else’s journey to stay effective?

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I’ve definitely felt that “Snooze” reflex. The moment that I realized it for the first time was chilling.

I felt that a rigid routine for assigning todos and reviewing them at end of day is a double edged sword. When it’s done right (rarely), it’s really effective. But if for some reason you fail to do it well, you’ll feel bad, worse than if you never devised this system in the first place.

So now I start with a system that I’m confident I can comfortably follow. Then I tweak it little by little, giving myself lots of time to adapt to the little changes.

They say, in programming, premature optimization is the root of all evil. I think in productivity, similarly, aiming too high is the root of all evil. The actual magic moment is when you actually get something done, not when you make the best plans. In this regard, a realistic system is 100x better than an optimized but unrealistic system.