Your Tasks File Must Be a Living Document

Recorded on April 28th, 2016

Jeff of Nerds on Draft said a great thing on Episode 065 as he and Gabe weighed the pros and cons of 2Do and TaskPaper (or TaskPaper-formatted files in whatever arbitrary editor). At some point, Jeff described how he reviews his tasks multiple times a day, no matter what system he uses. I’m paraphrasing here, but he said something to the effect of, “I have to keep it up to date and make sure it’s a living document.”

That’s what I needed to hear, right at that moment. When things get crazy, I tend to prepend new tasks to a TaskPaper file, never putting a limit on them or organizing them into their proper projects. When it’s time to actually do something from that list, I most often just “pop the stack” and grab whatever’s on top, or near it. That’s a terrible way to work, because you never trust anything other than what’s on top, and you’re probably not working on what’s really the most important thing next. I realize that if I would do as little as open that file early in the morning and late at night, and then make sure that the stuff in it was correct and do-able, I’d be better off.

In other words, any system is a good one as long as you make the effort to live in it and keep it current. All the tags in the world won’t automate that for you.

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