This is the second post in a six-post blog series about my productivity tool of choice, Things for Mac.
My previous post covered the Inbox feature of Things, which is the “first stop” for capturing random thoughts and reminders that will later be processed into actionable tasks.
The section I want to cover in today’s post is the Today section in Things.
The Today section in Things is what drives and guides my day, both at work and at home. It’s not unlike everyone else’s to-do list of things they want to get done on a particular day, but it is a lot smarter. Today is populated with carefully selected tasks that I’ve previously asked Things to remind me about when today’s date arrives or tasks I thought of during the day that need to get done today.
My Today list for the day
When I sit down at my desk at work with my first cup of coffee for the day, I have a quick outline of all the things I want to accomplish throughout the day. Most of my to-dos during the week are related to my job as a software program manager, but there are the occasional high priority or time sensitive personal tasks too. On the weekends, I will typically have a bunch of house-related tasks that I’ve prioritized since I wasn’t able to do them during the work week.
This Today view lets me know right away what I’ve deemed to be priorities for the day. It doesn’t mean this is all I will do today, but it does mean these are the most important things I need to do or follow up on.
Things introduced a new feature with the release of Things 2.0 called the Daily Review, where you are reminded of all the tasks you previously asked the app to remind you of today before those tasks are are transferred to your Today view.
Cultured Code’s thinking behind adding this was that it gave you the opportunity to review if you really wanted to take on the task for the day (by clicking the Star icon) or defer it to another day (by clicking the arrow).
The not so helpful Daily Review feature
I personally find this feature a nuisance more than helpful. I don’t like having to go through all the items before they show up on my Today view. If I’ve asked to be reminded about something, I’ve already done the due diligence of making sure I want it to show up on the day I’ve selected it to show up on. I don’t need another review of the tasks I’ve previously prioritized before I start my day.
When the Daily Review pops up in the morning, I simply click on the Star icons for all the tasks without even looking through them. It’s pretty much a waste of time for me. I’ve even gone so far as to ask Cultured Code to have an option to hide the feature, but it doesn’t look like that’s in their roadmap any time soon.
A big pitfall I see in the way people use the Today section of Things is that they have way too many items. I understand people are busy, but if you try to fit too much into Today and are unable to complete most of the tasks most of the time, your brain is going to start to go numb to the list. Your Today section should always be kept fresh, with only the highest priority items listed. Things that don’t absolutely have to get done today but need to be on your to-do list should go in Next actions.
I’ll go over the Next section in Things in the next blog post in this series.