I’m still hammering away, working at making Things my trusted system.

Again - huge shout out to Peter Akkies, whose course you can take here. (Note - these links are NOT affiliate. I recommend the course, because I found it useful.)

I covered off last week how I got going, and how I use the various views to work out what I need to be doing. What else do I use Things for?

Startup Routine

There is absolutely no point in having a task management system, unless you use it. So, I find it essential to check in with it, at least daily. On the other hand, to a reader’s point, fiddling with a task management app is NOT the same as getting the tasks done, so I want to guard against wallowing in the task manager for no purpose. I settled on needing to establish a startup routine. I call it a startup routine, because of golf. On a golfing day, I’m out with dogs at dawn and then off to the golf course, so my startup may occur after lunch.

I use two additional features of Things for this. First, I have a repeating task, one that repeats daily. So - whenever I open the Today View, there it is; my imaginatively named task “Startup Routine.” Secondly, the task contains a checklist. It’s almost a project, but not quite. A checklist task is best-suited to a series of sub-tasks that are likely to be completed consecutively or in one sitting. My checklist is:

◦ Check-in to OYNB accountability thread

◦ Complete Readwise Daily Review

◦ Meditate for 10 minutes on Calm

◦ Read Economist Espresso

◦ Complete OYNB video

◦ Update Journal

◦ Prioritise Day

OYNB is “One Year No Beer”. This was the challenge that I took in 2020 to spend a year without alcohol. I have lifetime access to the challenge, and started it again on August 10th.

Readwise is a fantastic service. It’s about 100 $/£/€ per annum, but I don’t begrudge a cent of it. Anything that I highlight in kindle gets sent to Readwise, which then serves these snippets back up to me, helping me to reconsider them, and perhaps even internalise them. Each day, I read five of these, plus a generated suggestion.

Meditation. The evidence is overwhelming. Meditation is good for you. Tried it? Not for you? Couldn't do it? I’ve a secret for you. It isn't for anybody. Nobody is good at it. In many ways, that’s the point of it. Try again. I like Calm, but there are loads of apps out there. Headspace for example.

I subscribe to the Economist. It’s morning “shorts” are my primary source of news each day.

OYNB - see above.

Journal. I have always alternated between hand written journals and Day One. Still am. I love the accessibility of Day One, the ability to add photos etc., but have a love affair with pen and paper too.

Prioritise Day. This is the exercise that I described last week with the “anytime” view. One quirk, is that I transcribe the top three tasks for the day, so my priority and two others to a Today Card, from Analog, by Ugmonk. This sits on my desk, catching my eye all the time, reminding me of what I’m supposed to be doing. It has the added benefit of allowing me to close Things, and not allow it to become a distraction.

My hope is that many of these individual items will become habits and may drop off the checklist, but for the moment, I keep them there and thus far it works.

Shutdown Routine

I don’t have one. In fact, it’s a task to create one. My first stab therefore will be:

◦ Clear Inboxes

◦ E-mail

◦ Slack

◦ Message Apps

◦ Review Tasks

◦ Analog Card

◦ Things

◦ Time Log (I use Timing on Mac)

◦ Review Calendars

◦ Write in Journal

◦ Celebrate success

◦ Create New Draft Analog Card (set intentions)

◦ Tidy

◦ Crank desk to standing

◦ Clear desk

◦ Replenish dogs water

I’ll make this a repeating daily task (week days only) and will probably schedule it for 1600. I have regular  appointments on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 1700 or later, but I’m not going to dig further into my evening with my shutdown after those.


On the advice of Peter Akkies, I use these extremely sparingly. Currently I have two: “Waiting For” - where I mark tasks or projects that I am unable to progress without input from a third party. This means I can ignore them, or follow up on them, whichever is appropriate. "Priority". I'm using this in my daily planning. ONE task gets the tag. That is the most important task of the day, the one that must be completed.

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