On Creating Tasks

Lately, I have been corresponding with some OmniFocus Field Guide customers, and it reminds me that a lot of people have not given enough thought into how they create tasks. Whether you use a tool such as OmniFocus or a napkin to write down your tasks, there are a few ways to make it easier on yourself:

  • Assume future you has other things on your mind, so make tasks easy to understand. “Call Miles.” This is not good enough. Miles who? Call Miles about what? “Call Miles Parker about icon design.”

  • Consider “consider”. Tasks that start with the word “consider” give you the ability to track optional tasks. My database is full of tasks like, “Consider cleaning studio,” and, “Consider setting client check-in calls”. Tip of the hat to Kourosh Dini for this one.

  • They are tasks, not projects. Don’t make a task called “Garden yard”. Instead, make a series of tasks: “Rake leaves,” “Prune tree limbs,” and “Weed vegetable box.” Smaller, manageable tasks get done. Nebulous project tasks never get done.

  • Finally, think about writing tasks as an opportunity to be kind to yourself. Don’t give yourself dictates, but instead encouragement. We all have enough jackasses in our lives. Don’t be one to yourself.