Clean Slate

When I was setting up my iPhone 11 Pro, I decided to set it up as a new phone. I wanted to install only the apps I needed. I wanted to remove the cruft and stuff I thought I needed. I do it every year I get a new iPhone, and it’s always satisfying to see a significant percentage less of crap on my phone than the previous one.

This is what caused me to completely wipe out my entire task management system, notes system, read later system, and even caused me to reset my Mac to factory settings. I did a complete reset on how I manage my life and work, and I have some thoughts.

Why I did this

I got to this point because of jumping between task managers as if it was my job. One week I would be in Omnifocus, the next Todoist, and then I would try out Things 3, and often repeat the cycle. Each time I made a switch to another task manager that meant moving all of my tasks over to the next app. I never called for task bankruptcy, I mearly just switched banks.

The iPhone set-up wasn’t the only reason I did this. That said, seeing me do it on my iPhone and the feeling I got from that is what drove me into action.

The main reason I did this was because I had a lot of cruft, crumbs, leftovers, or whatever synonym for undesirable crap you want to call it. I had physical notebooks, lists in Reminders, Bear, and Drafts for my notes. I also had tasks in Omnifocus 3, Things 3, and Todoist. It was a schmorgesborg of tasks, ideas, and thoughts that had no semblance or organization to it. I wanted to finally just declare bankruptcy, nuke everything and pave a new way for me to organize my life.

What I Want to Accomplish

When it comes to making this decision, it shouldn’t be made lightly. In fact, it rarely should be made at all. I am almost positive I missed a very important thing in one of my task managers that will eventually come back to haunt me. That said, I have already bulldozed my past tasks and notes and am now starting anew.

So here is my list of goals and accomplishments I want to hit in this experiment.

  • Have a clear idea of where my tasks, ideas, and notes will start (capture)
  • Have a clear system in place to process, clarify, and organize my tasks/notes/ideas.
  • Have a simple, easy to understand organizational system in place for all the tasks.
  • Know when to put events into a calendar and what app of choice to use.
  • Define and Setup a reading list system that works.
  • Create a habit to keep my finger on the pulse of my tasks throughout the day.
  • Maintain a weekly review that has a meaningful impact on my life.

My Plan

In order to make this happen I need to plan things out. For me, I know that the thing I need most right now is a task manager. I need to capture everything happening in my life and then process them accordingly.

When it came to picking a task manager I wanted something that would be easy for me to use day-to-day. I also wanted something simple enough to handle but robust enough to grow with. Because of that I chose Todoist. I am not saying that Todoist is going to be the reason I get my life together, it is nearly the material of my canvas I will be painting on. Pick an app that works best for you. Up next is calendar.

For my calendaring app I chose Fantastical 2, which to me was an easy choice as I have been a user of that app on both Mac and iOS for some time now. The bigger decision for me was whether to use Google or iCloud for the calendar service. For me, I decided that if I am going to use Todoist, I may as well use Google Calendar so if I just have a web browser I can get access to my main tasks and calendar no matter what.

Any app usually is fine on a Mac when it comes to calendars, but the tricky thing about Calendars is the system. I know I need to make a list of calendars and figure out my plans for this. So my calendar is also being scrapped as well.

The Timeline

I don’t like timelines, or deadlines, or anything telling me to get something done by a certain time. That said, I know that there should be a sense of urgency when it comes to getting a task manager setup. So for that I plan to get this setup and at least have a skeleton setup by November 11th. That gives me 4 weeks to get things together and work out some of the finer things as well.

I plan to keep posting about this as I progress but expect a much more involved post shortly after this deadline I set myself.

Jeff Perry @JeffPerry