Regarding Completion

Back to One Master TaskPaper File

Recorded on August 16th, 2016

I abandoned the additional This Week.taskpaper file and am back on one single Current.taskpaper file. It was getting to be too much to flip between the two on the phone, so I never did it. The new Current.taskpaper file is expanded to include some day-oriented faux projects at the top of the file, because I can’t seem to reliably adopt regular TaskPaper due dates.

The lesson here is: do not let your task list fester like a fridge full of old food (something Merlin Mann has said many, many times). Get rid of the stuff you’re never gonna eat, even if you had good intentions at one time, and especially if you’ve been carrying it all around for too long. Same with moldy tasks and actions.

I was almost lured into signing up for Todoist, which is a great system run by good people. I know, though, that the attraction of that app for me is to have a perfect relational database of tasks. The flaw in that idea is that a perfect task structure may help get things off your mind, but it can be so perfect that you go numb to it and just gaze at its perfection. Your projects and tasks shouldn’t have to sit around long enough to need a perfect structure. You should have enough structure there to make them not chaotic, but there should be enough mess in there that you want to get rid of (i.e. complete) the tasks as quickly as possible.

No matter what system or app you use, there is just no substitute for the unsexy work of:

  1. Regularly reviewing your commitments and what steps will need to happen to get them done
  2. Being realistic about what you can achieve in a day or week
  3. Actually doing the things on the lists