I’ve been using Things for many years now. The way I organize the tasks inside of it is constantly evolving. Recently, it evolved again, to a much more simple setup. I’ve been happy with how it turned, and how much I’ve been able to accomplish because of it.
I used to have a more detailed layout for all the tasks and projects in my life. I was overcomplicating all of it. Areas of Focus like “Create”, “Personal”, “Work” were the folders that the projects were inside of, with tasks inside of the projects — and somehow all of that was supposed to make sense to me. Looking back, it’s no wonder why I struggled to get anything done. It looked good, but I spent more time organizing my tasks than actually doing them.
I knew I needed something that would that would be easier. More nimble. Something that fits my life. Something that, at a glance, I could tackle. I knew I wouldn’t have time tinkering and figuring out where something goes. Basically, this wasn’t the time to get cute. I decided to structure everything the way my mind actually works.
This time, I put a major focus on context. Admin, Errands, Home, Phone, Work, etc. It’s much easier to make a list of all things on my mind now: decide when I want to do it, and then throw it in the proper context bucket. When I open Things when I wake up, the few tasks I have for the day will look something like this:
It’s easy to think about (how everything is structured). It’s easy to add a task to the right pace instantly (this is an errand, put it there). It’s easy to find (I’m in the car, let me look at the tasks for today that are errands).
My process of managing these tasks look something like this: if it’s important, I add it to Today view, make sure it’s assigned to right context folder, then I decide how soon I want to accomplish it. I often times move it a few days out.
Then throughout the week, I move things around, depending on how many tasks are planned for that particular day. If I see that I have more tasks in a day than I’ll be able to handle, I’ll move something that isn’t urgent that day to a day in the near future.
I didn’t get rid of projects. I still have a few. But they make more sense now, and they’re underneath the context folders. The few I have are easier to think about because my entire system isn’t built around hypothetical projects. These are real and are currently in my life.
This setup has been a refreshing way to handle all the different areas of my life. It’s the right amount of structure to keep things in order, but simple enough to manage on the go. It’s given me the freedom to accomplish more, without the added complexity and stress that usually comes with a usual setup. I hope something in my new Things setup helps you handle all the different areas in your life.