After trying out the Sorted app, time block planning has finally clicked with me. I tried it before with pen and paper and it didn’t grab me. Using GTD and Things it is so easy to pick up the quick administrative tasks that I can do in 10 minutes. But the more important work, Deep Work if you will, happens in 1 hour or more increments. Using Sorted, I now give each task a duration estimate. Then I use this to make sure I schedule at least 2 or more of these big rocks a day so I’m spending more time on what’s important. In a GTD style list I realize it is more tempting to check off a longer list of tasks, so at the end of the day you feel like you accomplished a lot. But then you fall into the trap of spending too much time on the trivial tasks. Like making a short phone call or filling out some online form. Of course those things have to happen, so I also make sure to set aside a block of time for what I call admin tasks (or do them during Zoom calls).
I’m also using Trello to give myself a bigger overview of everything on my plate. My projects are laid out on 3 Trello boards, the specific tasks are then put into Sorted when I’m ready to work on a project. This also helps stop Sorted from becoming an endless list of tasks that can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed. I would sometimes look at my Anytime list in Things and just be turned off by the list of hundreds of tasks staring at me. But as GTD points out, it is important to capture everything, so I have a backburner column in Trello. My day to day work happens in Sorted, so I don’t even see those items until I want to.
This setup was partly inspired by this blog post by Cal Newport, the Productivity Funnel: The Productivity Funnel - Study Hacks - Cal Newport