I confess. I’m always on the lookout for the best task management apps. I’ve tried almost all of them. Things. Omnifocus. All the ones with “ToDo” or “Tasks” in the name. Even one that promised to be just “awesome” called Awesome Notes. They all do what they promise. They provide a nice blank space for you to enter your tasks and projects… and then ignore them after they’ve been entered.

That’s my problem. I don’t have any problem entering my todo lists. In fact, I embarrassingly admit to having copied my entire todo list before and just copied it into various apps to see how they manage, list and coordinate my tasks. I’ve read David Allen’s infamous Getting Things Done. I know all the right principals of project and task management.

I just don’t practice them. Much.

However, after reading a recent article on the importance of not multitasking, I’ve embraced task management with renewed fervor, and I’ve got a system working right now that seems to have me on the right track. So, without any further ado, here’s my Miraculous System to End Multitasking and Use Apps to Help Me Be More Focused (MSEMUSHMBMF):

SimpleNote. It has a website that syncs with the apps of the same name that I have on both my iPhone and iPad. It’s become the repository for meetings notes, ideas, blogging material, collections, quotes, etc. You can tag the entries, and so far, my tags are: devotional, bible, discipleship, meeting, staff, idea, later, sermon, song, email, writing, thoughts, death, giving, and thanks. (Not that you’d want to know). However, by tagging your entries (and I’m going to have to refine my system in general categories, you are able to catalog the randomness of it all)

2Do. Very nice and attractive app on my iPhone and also a version for my iPad that has been worth the money. It syncs with a website called toodledo.com which I’ve now set as my default homepage. So when I start my browser up, my tasks and projects are there.

How they interact.

  • I regularly (usually twice a week) spend about 15 minutes moving things that aren’t really tasks out of 2Do into SimpleNote by copying and pasting. Sometimes I’ll find an idea that it’s time to implement in SimpleNote which now becomes a task and makes its debut in 2Do.
  • I use the 5-minute principle of GTD on my task lists. If there’s something there that I can get done in 5 minutes, I do it immediately as the first thing every day. I try to limit that to 2-3 tasks, otherwise I’ll be wrapped up doing nonessentials (most of them are).
  • Every time that I have “downtime” in my day, I come back to both apps for a refresher to organize my thoughts or to schedule my next work sessions. Many times, I’ll simply say, “Enough for the day,” and move into “people” mode.

The People Principle

I try to remember, “Don’t be productive at the expense of people.” A meeting with a person is not a task. (Ok, some people are a chore to be with, but in general…) It’s not right to mark off a person as if they were something to “get through with.” When you’re allowing your schedule to master you rather than vice versa, your attitude toward people gets skewered. When you sense that happening, it’s time to back up and reevaluate.

Feed my addiction… what productivity apps are you using? What does your workflow look like?

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