To-do lists are EVIL?

Saw this in article and made me think…what if he’s right?

  1. To-Do Lists Are Evil. Schedule Everything.

To-do lists by themselves are useless. They’re just the first step. You have to assign them time on your schedule. Why?

It makes you be realistic about what you can get done. It allows you to do tasks when it’s efficient, not just because it’s #4.

Until it’s on your calendar and assigned an hour, it’s just a list of wishful thinking.

Here’s Cal:

Scheduling forces you to confront the reality of how much time you actually have and how long things will take. Now that you look at the whole picture you’re able to get something productive out of every free hour you have in your workday. You not only squeeze more work in but you’re able to put work into places where you can do it best.

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I usually just schedule time-blocks of focus where I’m not available. Then I focus on either a project (My Big Rock) or a group of tasks based on context (stuff to do on the computer, stuff to do with other people [meetings], stuff to do at the warehouse, stuff to do on the sales floor, etc.).

I always try to make my time-blocks sacred. No one or nothing will interrupt me during those time-blocks (except for a natural disaster or family emergency).

I don’t necessarily schedule single tasks because I never know what I’ll tackle. But I do schedule my time-blocks of non-interruption.

Yes, there are people who believe that, and think it works better for them. GTD is the wrong methodology for them and Omnifocus is the wrong tool for them.

This might work if your life and job are rather static. For me, circumstances, pririties and commitments change constantly. Having a non-scheduled but structured system available to me allows me to work on the right things at the right time.

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My counter to this is, no one has ever gotten more than 24 h in a day by managing their time. You get more freedom by managing the choices you make within the fixed time.

With this in mind, the implicit premise of the first statement is, everything we must choose can be scheduled (precisely, immutably, and with no exceptions) on a calendar. That premise is categorically false.

I’m curious as to why to do listen calendars are two separate things. AE states that:

Think of your calendar as your schedule that you HAVE to follow, whereas OmniFocus gives you flexibility for when you want to do things. For those who aren’t very disciplined, schedule things on your calendar as much as you can and follow it.

Anything that is time sensitive belongs on your calendar. Otherwise, it goes into OmniFocus.

This is best explained through a couple examples. Here are some things that go on your calendar (and not in OmniFocus):
Appointments (doctor, dentist, friends, etc).
Scheduled blocks of uninterrupted times.
Weekly review.
Workout times.
Social events.

To contrast that, here are some examples of things that don’t belong on your calendar but go in OmniFocus:
Morning/evening ritual.
Taking the trash out.
Cleaning your house.
Mowing the lawn.
Paying credit card bills.
Reviewing goals.
Things that belong on your calendar are time-sensitive. Otherwise, it goes into OmniFocus.

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What’s also interesting is that big projects like moving into a new house or starting a new college course are placed where?

I can see using both but I have yet to actually have success with using both in conjunction.

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@omnizen: thank you for that article.
I just realized that I am hanging out with the wrong people, trying to use the wrong tool. OF is built on David Allan’s GDT; focused on doing the shallow stuff.

Carl Newport is a Deep work guy: OF is not a tool that helps you with the deep work. it is built on a different philosophy.

thank you.