Posts about Productivity

I completely forgot to include CJ Chilvers’ article when I wrote about the benefits of messy desks. Better late than never!

Messy Desks

The other day, during a conversation with one of my clients, we talked briefly about the messy state of our workspaces. I like to keep up the pretence of a clean desk (see my workspace tour from 2020 or my Sweet setup interview in 2018), but in reality, my desk is often a mess.

My desk is littered with guitar picks, some keys, a stack of receipts, a few USB cables, four notebooks, a couple microfibre cloths (not just for wiping monitors, but also for polishing guitars), coffee cups, a stapler, wire cutters, and a Swiss army knife. 

I should put some of this junk away, but one thing I realized in this conversation is that a messy desk is a productive desk, and a messy office or studio is probably the same.

Here are a couple quick, well-known examples of messy offices so we’re all on the same page:

Albert Einstein's messy desk hours after he passed away

Albert Einstein’s desk was famously messy.

Steve Jobs' home office was a war zone

Steve Jobs didn’t have a particularly organized home office.

I think this is also why I’m personally attracted to huge desktop towers (like the Mac Pro) and giant speakers. Part of what you pay for is the statement it makes when you walk in to your workspace: this is where the magic happens.

Recently, I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of staring at audio professional setups. These rigs are typically filled with racks of studio equipment, musical instruments, and sometimes multiple computers. Even if you take all the clutter off the desk, these setups never look clean.”'s image of their audio workspace

I love this setup from’s review of the 2020 Mac Pro. You can’t hide this mess. When you walk into this room, there’s no way to hide its purpose. You’re going to get work done here.

A music production sit/stand desk

I also love this marketing image for a sit/​stand music studio desk. There’s not one, but two Mac Pro towers (I’m jealous). Each rack slot is with gear. There is rack equipment on the floor. Cables everywhere. For minimalists, this is a nightmare. But I love it.

Austin Kleon's studio

Austin Kleon (not a musician) keeps a messy studio too. I love the roll of paper towel. (I also love that his super-large L‑shaped desk has space for both making and visiting.)

If there’s anything to glean from this, all I’ve learned is that my desk probably isn’t messy enough.

If you do enough bad writing, it is inevitable that some good writing will slip through.” Love what Seth Godin has to say in his brief 5‑minute talk about writer’s block and doing the hard creative work every day.

Herman Martinus’ post about staying motivated as a solo creator struck a chord with me. It’s similar to my own schedule, but I need to get better at finding my people (locally, not just online) and sharing my work.

The value, or lack thereof, in bidirectional linking

From today’s issue of Casey Newton’s Platformer:

In short: it is probably a mistake, in the end, to ask software to improve our thinking. Even if you can rescue your attention from the acid bath of the internet; even if you can gather the most interesting data and observations into the app of your choosing; even if you revisit that data from time to time — this will not be enough. It might not even be worth trying.

The reason, sadly, is that thinking takes place in your brain. And thinking is an active pursuit — one that often happens when you are spending long stretches of time staring into space, then writing a bit, and then staring into space a bit more. It’s here here that the connections are made and the insights are formed. And it is a process that stubbornly resists automation.

I’ve got a couple use cases for inter-connected notes in my life, but those use cases will not help me think. They are, as Casey writes, about retrieving something in storage. 

My canonical example of this is for Bible study. Every time I learn something new about Genesis 1, for example, I can link my note to the book by writing [[Genesis 1]]. When I revisit Genesis 1, I can quickly see my notes beside it, and see where and when I learned it — key information for long-term study.

That being said, this information is not useful or helpful outside of my study. It is often useless in the realm of work; it would probably be easier for me to retrieve my meeting notes later were they organized hierarchically in directories. 

Even in the case of study or research, I question the value of several disparate notes. Take my example again of Genesis 1. Would it not be more helpful to see my thoughts directly attached to the original document itself? (The digital equivalent of writing in the margins of a book.)

Once again from Casey’s story, this time quoting Andy Matuschak:

The goal is not to take notes — the goal is to think effectively… Better questions are what practices can help me reliably develop insights over time?’ [and] how can I shepherd my attention effectively?’”

In a world of artificially intelligent machines, the only path to success for the modern worker is to develop critical reasoning and think more effectively than our dystopian counterparts. I worry we’re collectively losing our ability to do that.

Mark Slouka’s essay about quitting the paint factory and escaping the business of work is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time (via Austin Kleon).

Tips for working from home

For many people, this is their first week of working from home. Hi! Welcome to the club. We eat cookies whenever we want, because we’re always taking breaks in our kitchen.

I’ve worked from home since 2012, so I’ve socially isolated myself for my whole career. This can be a tough adjustment, so I’ve written some tips and tricks. Hopefully these are helpful for you! And if you have any other tips I should add, or any questions, hit me up on Twitter.

  1. Start the day with a standup call. If your team is used to hanging out in the office ever day, make a routine out of beginning the day with a quick 15-minute video call to catch up, say hi, and share what you’re all working on. Bonus points if you can avoid talking about the news, but since it weighs heavily on us all, don’t beat yourself up if it comes up.
  2. This might be a good time to try Slack or Microsoft Teams, if you haven’t already. But if you do use them, establish some rules. Let people log off once in a while to get real work done. We can’t be productive if we’re staring at a chat window all day.
  3. Start making lists. Small, approachable lists you can check off throughout the day will empower you and give you a sense of control and productivity. Trust me, this is helpful whether there’s a global crisis or not. We all need to feel like we’re accomplishing something.
  4. Don’t check the news or your email first thing in the morning, if you can avoid it. That includes Twitter. These things are poison to your happiness, and your productivity.
  5. You need to wear pants. Most of us are used to going to the work place and leaving work behind at the end of the day. That’s no longer the case. Now, you have to get into the work mode. So put on some pants. You can take them off when you’re done working. (I know some freelancers who wear shoes during the workday. If that helps you, don’t hesitate.)
  6. You need a routine. Workplaces thrive off routine. Your work mode needs one. I have a breakfast routine, lunch routine, daily gym routine, and even a caffeine routine. It keeps me stable (although my gym routine is definitely in flux right now, and I’m feeling it).
  7. Don’t take breaks at your laptop. You’ll stop associating your laptop with work, and then you’ll be on it all the time. 
  8. Music! Try and listen to some music. Shawn Blanc wrote about this a few days ago with some recommendations for instrumental music that keeps you in the zone. I’ll add some to the list: every Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross soundtrack (especially The Social Network, The Vietnam War, and Before the Flood), 65daysofstatic, Jon Hopkins, Ludovici Einaudi, Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, and Miles Davis. I could go on for a while, but you’ll figure out what you like pretty quick. The music (or a white noise app) will help you concentrate and get in the zone. If you need them, this is a decent time to invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Here are some picks from The Wirecutter. (I bought the Anker headphones they recommend as their budget pick, and they’re okay, but not great. This is a category where you get what you pay for.)
  9. Ergonomics are important for productivity — so get comfortable! I don’t necessarily think people should buy desks or chairs or anything — they can get wildly expensive. (But if you want a new chair or desk, I have so many thoughts!) If you need a bigger screen to be more productive, get a cheap monitor. If your laptop is too low on your table, get an external keyboard and pointing device and put your laptop on a stack of books. Don’t be afraid to budget a little bit of money to save yourself a lot of pain.
  10. Don’t forget to stretch at the end of the day!

Good luck with your new workspace. If you have questions, let me know on Twitter. If I’m following my own instructions, you won’t hear back from me before the afternoon.

The workspace

Over the past year, I have completely replaced my desk. At some point last summer, I realized that my entire office was designed based on assumptions I made ten years ago about the way I work — when I was still a university student. 

This is what my workspace looked like in 2014:

A Thunderbolt Display on a small desk, a couple cheap computer monitors, and a cheap IKEA chair.

After my wife and I got married a year later, everything about the setup changed. This is what the desk looked like by 2018:

An LG 5K monitor on top of a big IKEA desk sitting on two filing cabinets. The chair is now a Herman Miller Aeron.

Apart from the desk itself (and its enormous size), the core philosophy of this setup hadn’t changed much. I plugged a laptop into the nicest monitor I could afford, on a second-hand desk gifted to me by my parents or my wife.

This was a workspace I designed when I was in university. Back then, I had to go to classes, or visit clients, every day of the week. Portability was of the utmost concern. The workspace itself was an afterthought.

This is my workspace today:

An iMac Pro on a small sit/stand Husky workbench.

Obviously, a few things have changed.

The desk

The centrepiece of every workspace is the desk. I’ve wanted a sit/​stand desk for nearly five years now (I even mentioned it when I shared my setup with The Sweet Setup in 2018). After years of research, I settled on a Husky sit/​stand worktable from Home Depot1. It’s supposed to be a carpentry workbench, but it’s exactly what I wanted for my work. 

This desk can hold up to 300 pounds. It’s remarkably stable at max height, and its maximum height is a good standing height for me. The manual crank is smooth and solid, and after several months, shows no signs of giving out. We added a half-decent cable management system to the desk, so you don’t have to see all the different pieces of the setup. Finally, I added a custom keyboard tray with parts from Amazon and this IKEA shelf2. What more could you ask for?

You could ask for casters. Putting wheels on a desk probably sounds ridiculous, but I’ve quickly come to depend on this. A couple times every month, I end up doing small product shoots in my apartment. It’s very useful to be roll the desk out of the way and make more space in my office3.

I was particularly inspired by Jeff Sheldon’s post about his desktop stand, so I built something similar. It’s a lovely accent piece, and it stands 2” above the desk, which is just high enough to stow some notebooks, archive and backup drives, and my iPad Pro.

The desk shelf.

As a creative professional, your workspace should be no different from a master carpenter’s workshop. It should put everything you need within arm’s reach. It should be easy to use, but specifically customized to your liking. It should be as big as it needs to be, but not too big, lest it gets unwieldy. 

But mostly, a creative workspace should be reliable. No matter what situation the creative professional finds herself in, she should be able to rely on her workspace to get her through it.

That’s what this desk has become for me. It’s a place of solace — a place where, no matter how hard the work gets, I can be comfortable and productive. The desk lets me work how and where I want to work, and when it’s time to get down to business, it gets out of my way.

A vanity shot of the whole desk inside the office.

The computer

The same is true of the computer. Some time in the last year, I realized I had the wrong computer setup for me. I was tired of hearing my laptop fans spin up anytime I compiled any intensive code, opened Lightroom, or started adding a lot of layers in Photoshop.

After experimenting with the 16” MacBook Pro, I finally gave in. I returned the laptop and ordered a base spec iMac Pro with 2tb of storage.

I love this machine. It’s whisper quiet (I have no idea what the fans sound like), it never fails, and the keyboard always works. (In fact, as time goes on, the keyboard is getting more broken in, and becoming even nicer to type on.)

There’s not much to say about the iMac Pro that hasn’t already been said by smarter and more cogent people. It’s the best Mac for people who need power, but don’t require the amount of power the Mac Pro provides. That’s certainly been true in my usage.

To put it simply, the computer is a lot like the desk: it’s reliable, powerful, and does everything I need it to do. 

The best kind of technology is the kind you don’t really think about — the sort of technology that just works. More or less, that’s been the iMac Pro for me.

I like tools that are unobtrusive. I like tools that get out of the way and let me work without restrictions on my creativity. If you put me at this desk with a cup of coffee, I’m a pretty happy guy.

  1. Credit where credit is due: Tyler Stalman and Jonathan Morrison came up with it first.↩︎

  2. I’m not totally sold on the keyboard tray. If I position the keyboard tray at the right height, the iMac is too high. If I remove my iMac stand from the desk to compensate, the iMac isn’t high enough when I’m standing. Like everything in life, the keyboard tray is a compromise. I’m not sure it’s the right one for me.↩︎

  3. Also, my office doesn’t have any windows. On nice days, I like to roll the desk to the living room and enjoy some of the sunlight.↩︎

Two great podcast episodes about getting more productive

Focused, hosted by David Sparks and Micke Schmitz, has quickly become the podcast I wish I made. Over the past few months, Mike and David have explored what it means to be truly productive. I used to be obsessed with this stuff, and I thought I had a lot of it down pat, so I don’t say this lightly: I’ve learned a lot on the topic thanks to these two.

I want to point you to their latest two episodes: Moving the Needle and Intentional Constraints. The two of them are best listened to together, in the order of their release. If you’re looking for a new perspective on Getting Things Done, you could do much worse than spend a couple hours listening to these.

The massive takeaway for me is that not all work is equal in value. If we want to do good work, we have to be laser-focused (there’s the title!) on what will move the needle forward for us. After listening to these episodes, this really clicked for me, and I don’t think I could give this topic the same clarity and justice these two gentlemen have. Go listen to their show! I can’t recommend it enough.

Listen here: Moving the Needle & Intentional Constraints

Measuring creative productivity

Austin Kleon just wrapped up a tour for his latest book. During a stop in Chicago. Eddie Shleyner asked him a great question: Do you ever feel like no matter how much work you do, you can or should be doing more?”

This question immediately resonated with me; it’s an issue I’ve personally struggled with and am currently struggling through.

Thankfully, Eddie recorded his answer and transcribed it on his blog:

Yeah, always,” he said. If you get into that productivity trap, there’s always going to be more work to do, you know? Like, you can always make more. I think that’s why I’m a time-based worker. I try to go at my work like a banker. I just have hours. I show up to the office and whatever gets done gets done. And I’ve always been a time-based worker. You know, like, did I sit here for 3 hours and try.’ I don’t have a word count when I sit down to write. It’s all about sitting down and trying to make something happen in that time period — and letting those hours stack up. So that’s sort of how I get over it.”

I love this. I love that the answer is simply to sit down and try and get some work done. If you don’t make it, that’s okay: try again tomorrow.

I think most people — certainly creative people — put a lot of pressure on themselves to deliver every day. We aim for perfection. I think the pursuit of output, rather than the joy of the chase, keeps us from doing our best work. Perhaps even more dangerously, it leaves us worse off as people.

A friend of mine told me that Cormac McCarthy, the author of No Country for Old Men and The Road (among many other popular novels), had to stop hanging out with other writers after he stopped drinking. All of his writer friends drank until inspiration hit, and he thought that was a poisonous attitude.

That idea, of creativity beholden to vices, keeps us from doing our best work. It keeps us from facing the blank page and making something. The fear of perfection will literally drive us to drink.

So what can we do instead?

We can sit down, measure our hours rather than our output, and make something. As Shawn Blanc says (and I love this), we can create without overthinking.

Work as a spiritual practice

Over the past couple years, I’ve tried to transform my work into a spiritual practice — not unlike Jiro. As often as I can, I spend a few minutes each morning in meditation with God. On the days I can do that, I find I’m much more at peace with my work. Inviting God into my work changes why I’m working.

I’m reminded of Colossians 3:24:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Our spiritual relationship and development is tied up in our work. Recognizing that has removed a lot of stress from me. 

On the other hand, no matter how dedicated you are to your craft, rest is important: 

Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.” 

  • Ecclesiastes 4:6 NLT

On his deathbed, will Jiro wish he spent more time perfecting sushi? Or will he wish he spent more time with his sons?

The spirit of the shokunin

The other night, my wife and I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The film is a study of Jiro Ono, the man widely considered the finest sushi chef in the world. 

Jiro is a shokunin. A shokunin is a sort of artisan, a person dedicated to the improvement of their craft for the betterment of the public. As Jiro explains it in the documentary:

I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is. Even at my age, after decades of work, I don’t think I have achieved perfection. But I feel ecstatic all day… I love making sushi. That’s the spirit of the shokunin.

Of course, a shokunin doesn’t have to be a chef. A shokunin is a person wholly dedicated to his or her craft. Director and cinematographer Daniel Olivares made a short film about the shokunin at Varis Japan — craftsmen who make aerodynamic parts for high-speed vehicles.

The shokunin are fascinating because they are perfectly content with something I think many of us struggle with in the west. They dream of doing the same thing, every day, for decades. They don’t appear to have a problem with repetition. They are relentlessly hard on themselves in pursuit of the perfection of their craft.

In our culture, we struggle with the Groundhog Day of our lives: the mundanity of a day-to-day life where much of it feels the same. On the other hand, a shokunin looks for repetition. It is an opportunity to improve. Repetition is a chance to get better.

Jiro just wants the best fish to practice his craft on. He is content with that. He and many other shokunin have transformed their work into a spiritual practice.

This is a noble pursuit.

For those of us outside Silicon Valley, the push towards the new” can be set aside. We can agree to work on perfecting what we do, and let that lead us where it will.

Project Hubs: The best way to keep clients up to date

If you work in a services business, you know how difficult it can be to communicate with clients. They need to know what’s going on, but email is the actual worst. Searching through email is slow. Email makes it too hard to view a list of received deliverables in reverse chronological order. This is especially true if you’re working on the project with a team of people.

I’ve tried every collaboration tool out there to fix this. They’re probably all tools you know, and maybe even use already. I’ve tried Slack, Asana, and even Kanban tools like Trello. I’d create projects or teams for each client in the system, and invite them in to collaborate with me.

The closest I’ve come to success is Basecamp, which all my clients at least like. And while all of these remain exceptional tools, none of them are the right tool for the job.

The thing is, collaboration tools require buy-in from entire organizations if they’re going to be useful. Communication tools are great for service providers like you and me, but we can’t push those apps on our clients and expect the same results.

But today, after years of experimenting, I think I’ve got it. I finally have what might be the best way to keep your clients up to date.

Over the past few days, I’ve been carefully considering Project Hubs, originally coined such by Brad Frost. The trick with a Project Hub is that they remove collaboration completely, and treat projects as timelines. As soon as you see what a Project Hub looks like, you get it. It just makes sense.

This is Brad’s demo Project Hub. For clients, this is a godsend. And for people like me, it’s easy to keep it updated. It’s just another part of process.

Brad explains in a little more depth why this works in his blog post, but simply put: using consistent URLs for all your work means that clients know exactly where to go to find the latest version of that thing you’re making for them. No need to create multiple versions — just update your single source of truth”. If they need the latest design file, they can just visit www​.pro​jec​thub​.your​com​pa​ny​name​.com/​w​e​b​-​d​e​s​i​g​n​-​m​ockup and get the latest version there — every time.

I started whipping up Project Hubs for my clients this morning, and I’m excited about keeping them more closely updated. If you’re of a technical leaning, you can download the sample project on GitHub and install it on the server of your choice.

If you work in client services and want to integrate something like this into your website, get in touch and I’ll see if I can lend you a hand.

How I use Omnifocus to manage my life

For years, I’ve gone back and forth from OmniFocus to other task management systems. I’ve tried so many of them: Things, Todoist, Wunderlist, Basecamp, Reminders, Asana, 2do — I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. I’ve never lasted more than a month or two with any of these before coming back to OmniFocus.

I have a love/​hate relationship with OmniFocus. (I once called OmniFocus expensive” and dystopian” on my personal blog, which may have been a bit melodramatic.)

But this app is honestly the only task management system that lets me work the way my brain works.

I’ve spent the past year going back and forth between all these systems, and after purchasing it three or four years ago (whenever version 2 came out), I’ve come full circle to embracing OmniFocus again. I’ve made a lot of notes over the past year about how I work and why OmniFocus works for me.

If you’ve been struggling to embrace a digital task management system, or trying to figure out what app you should use, then I hope this can help you.

Outlines of tasks

First of all: like many creative types /​coders that I know, I tend to think in outlines. Give me the back of a napkin and I’m writing a list out on it. OmniFocus is the only todo app that feels like an outlining app. (Obviously, that’s because OmniFocus shares heritage with OmniOutliner — another app I’m a huge fan of.) So every day, when I’m doing a bit of a brain or idea dump, I can write it exactly how I would an outline. (It’s even better once you have the keyboard shortcuts memorized.)

But I know I’m not using OmniFocus right. I don’t use Reviews (well, not often). I don’t know use Contexts at all (seriously, not even a little). But I use Projects religiously. I’ve organized my life into folders of projects in OmniFocus. Each folder includes a project called Miscellaneous, which I use to dump individual tasks that don’t belong to a larger project, but still need to be filed in the right place. I have a folder for my studio, a folder for my church volunteering projects, and a folder for each client and product that I cater to. When a task gets added, assuming there’s a project or client related to it, the task immediately gets dumped in the proper spot.

I know what you’re thinking: This sounds like a ton of work. I don’t want to think this hard.”

But it’s really not. It works just like an outline. Here’s a bullet list to show off (in brief) what a typical list within folders might look like.

  • My Studio Projects
    • Website Update
      • Write New Copy
      • Get a Headshot
  • Acme Corporation Projects
    • Brand Package
      • Create logo
      • Design system
      • Put system into a beautiful book
      • Collaborate with an awesome A+ printer to get the book printed
    • Website Update (Project Two)
      • Design
      • Development
      • Kick-Butt Copywriting

Etc, etc.

It’s not hard. It’s sensible — the exact same way you’d write it down on the back of the napkin.

Deferred projects

To manage the bloat of projects, I also set up a ton of deferred start dates, which often repeat annually for clients on retainers. I can plan out a client’s entire year with them, and then start nudging them the day a project is set to start. This has the side benefit of hiding any inactive” project from my regular OmniFocus views. So there’s not too much clutter. Just enough to get a birds’ eye view.

Managing it all with perspectives

All of this sounds really hard to manage, I know. I’ve got about 50 active projects going on at any given time.

This is where a task management system usually falls apart: what happens when you have hundreds and hundreds of items in it?

Most people start using Contexts at this point. I really don’t understand Contexts. I don’t get tags either. These systems don’t work the way my brain works. They give me headaches.

How I work with all this

I bought the Pro edition of OmniFocus, so I could set up custom perspectives. Perspectives are, for me, a bit of a lifesaver. They let me focus on individual projects at a time, instead of the full monte. (Hence the Focus” in OmniFocus.)

I have two perspectives I use religiously.

Doing perspective

One is called Doing”. I manually select the projects that I must make progress on every day right now, and have only those listed in this perspective. With one click, I can go to the perspective, see a quick list of the projects I should focus on, and check on the related tasks for each project.

Today perspective

The other perspective is called Today”. It also focused on a project, but this project is just a single action list called Today”. Every morning, I delete everything in the list and write out only what needs to be accomplished that day. I don’t assign a due date or anything — I only use due dates if my life depends on it — but I start working through Today” every time I finish in my Forecast.

My key Principle: Daily task curation

Most hardcore OmniFocus people have a Today view in OmniFocus. The problem is, that Today view is usually based on some mixture of defer dates, due dates, and flagged tasks. I can’t have an entirely automated system like that; I need to manually curate my daily tasks.

I’ve tried, and tried, and tried to set up so many similar lists in any other app, but it never works for me. OmniFocus is the only app that bends to my will. (Things comes close, but their app is too inflexible to be of any real use for people with a million projects and areas of responsibilities.)

This workflow works if you’re the sort of person that dumps everything you need to do into your phone, but still writes out a quick list on paper every morning. I’ve just elected to make the whole thing digital.

If I’m being completely honest: you could probably make a compromised version of this system on anybody’s platform. But I don’t think anybody else makes it as easy to do what you want.

This isn’t a sales pitch. I get 0% of the money from doing this. I’m just finally happy with my system. If you want to try it out, you can check out OmniFocus on OmniGroup’s website.

Thoughts on todo list apps

Most digital todo lists suck. I’m sure you’re aware of this. I’m certain you’ve probably spent hours combing through tips on LifeHacker about how to organize the chaos of your life with this one simple app that will blow your mind.” Or maybe you’re like me and you’ve bent over backwards to fit your workflow into somebody else’s expensive dystopian view of getting things done.

I don’t need to tell you that task management apps suck. 

But I need to share this because nobody is saying it, and we’re all pretending like we’re organized, but the truth of the matter is that the people who make these apps must have nothing to do — because their apps don’t work for busy people. So this post is for them. 

I only need one thing from a todo list: to tell me what I should be working on right now. And when I’m done that, what’s the next thing I can do?

That’s it. No gimmicks. It’s that simple.

Yes, all your extra features, like sub-tasks of a sub-project inside a project within an area of responsibility in the context of Phone Calls’ are all well and good, but if you cannot give me a high-level look at what needs working on today, don’t bother.1

This isn’t just about what’s due: it’s about what’s important, what’s in progress and what big-picture project I should be working on. If I need to finish a project by Friday and it will take three days, then it should show up in a special Today view as early as Wednesday and not leave the Today view until it’s done, even if it’s overdue by three months and a day. 

My task management app should be about managing what’s important, making changes to the unimportant on the fly, and getting crap done. 

For reference, this is where I’m storing all the crap I need to do now. 

Note: This post was originally called I Tried Every Todo List App So You Don’t Have To’. I changed it for the sake of brevity, not because it’s untrue. I think I did try almost every todo app on the market for iOS and the web.

  1. If you plan on making a todo app, the second-most important feature is not fiddle-daddles like sub-projects and nesting. It’s making your information hierarchy really bloody obvious. Even some of the most famously simple task management apps fail at this. ↩︎