Inbox Zero, Everything Zero
So excited to announce something I’ve been working on for ages… a new todo app: https://t.co/TAjy0z6snK It uses touch, so it’s webscale.— Zach Holman (@holman) August 5, 2013
Maybe I was being a bit facetious when I tweeted this yesterday, but it is indicative towards how I do things these days.
todo is a (very) simple script
that basically runs
touch ~/Desktop/$1, so
todo book-nyc-hotel will create a
blank file on my desktop called
book-nyc-hotel. When I’ve booked a hotel, I
just delete the file from my desktop. That’s it.
Workflows without tools
I’ve used a lot of tools. Tools designed to streamline your workflow, tools that tag things, tools that organize things, tools that organize your tools.
Everyone works differently. The trick is finding out how you work best. For me, I tend to take an OCD approach to emptying things. I keep a clean desktop: under three icons at a time, preferably. It made sense to use my desktop as a kind of bucket I needed to empty: it’s always there, and I can put short, actionable items there because that visually disturbs me enough to want to clean it off (and do the action).
This is why Inbox Zero works so well for handling email for me. I try to use that mentality everywhere, really: iOS notifications, browser tabs, terminal tabs, and so on. Reducing ambiguity around what to do next is a huge deal for me.
I think what I like most is that this approach isn’t glamorous. I can’t search
through my todos (well, aside from
find(1)). I can’t tag them. But that means
it forces me to focus on actionable things I can accomplish today or by the end
of the week. Anything further out just doesn’t matter right now. Constraints are
Tools are great. But make sure the tools you’re using aren’t themselves another version of shit work.