Digital To-Do Lists Are Failing Me

I’ve probably tried every GTD/task management app out there. Some are okay, some are terrible, and some are great. For me, one app stands above the rest and I’ve come to rely on it everyday. It’s core to my personal tech stack. That app is Todoist.

But while Todoist stands head and shoulders above the rest, I’ve found that it has recently started to fail me. Things were going great for a while until the number of tasks recorded within hit a tipping point. I tried to remedy this task overload by creating a special category called “6 Things”. Each day, I’d drag tasks over to this list that I deemed the 6 most important things I needed to get done.

This worked relatively good for a little, right up until my “6 Things” had about 8 things on it. Uh-oh.

The problem with to-do apps (I think) is that your tasks are just always staring at you. This isn’t a problem if you are able to maintain a balance of completing tasks and adding tasks. But, for me, working as a one-man department temporarily at a tech startup, my ratio of added tasks to completed tasks is erring on the wrong side.

So last week I decided to try something new. I closed Todoist and pulled out a good old-fashioned pad of Post-it Notes.

I wrote 6 things I wanted to get done on a single note and kept it right next to my keyboard. Guess what?

I crushed my list.

Now, it’s possible that this was pure luck. If I had to put money on it today, I’d probably say that was the case, but there was no denying that I did in fact cross more things off the list. If I had to form an argument against the luck angle, I’d say that the analog list presents a more focused list without the distractions of the other tasks that need to get done that always seem to peek their heads out in digital form.

But, I’m not one to guess. In fact, for me, 2017 is the year of data. So, I’m going to test my analog process for a few more weeks and compare my productivity to the preceding time period where I relied on Todoist. I’m very curious to see the results.

Do any of you stick to an analog task management system? What differences have you seen?

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