Lots of folks have already added insightful posts about their tasks / events / notes workflows, so I’ll limit my comments to the infamous TBR (To Be Read) problem.
Eventually, one does reach that age where there won’t be enough “somedays” left for all the tempting “maybes.”
I’ve hit that inflection point. I declared TBR bankruptcy, tore up my old TBR list, and have tried to be very intentional about what gets added back to it, and why.
I do what I learned to do in grad school: declare my areas of focus, and, within reason, limit what I choose to read to books or articles that are relevant to them. A personal syllabus, if you will. The items on the syllabus are tasks-in-waiting that I need to keep track of, but don’t need to add to a task list just yet. (If “syllabus” seems too high falutin’, “Netflix Queue” will do )
I keep my various syllabuses in Obsidian. There’s syllabus for each area of focus. When I come across a book, or an article, or a podcast episode, or a documentary, or an exhibition, or what have you that seems relevant to the topic in question, I add to to the list as a checkbox item. At the same time, I create a new note for whatever it is that I’ve added to the list. That note contains some basic bibliographic / reference information, a few words about how I came across it and why I might want to read it (or watch it, or go see it, etc.) and links to reviews and the like. I add a tag that tells me that it’s a TBR item relevant to one of my areas of focus. (Once I’ve read it, I add a “read+year” tag. If I DNFed it—Did Not Finish it—it’s tagged as such.)
When I select something from the syllabus to read, it becomes a task with a deadline, even—especially!—if it’s something I’m reading for pleasure. (It’s too easy to de-prioritize something we’re doing “just for fun” for the sake of some chore that’s taking on more importance than it deserves.) If I select a performance or exhibit to attend, it becomes an event I commit to by putting it on my calendar. Every day’s task list has something from one (or more) of the syllabuses on it.
The first rule of the syllabus is that even with the best will in the world, you’re not going to read everything on it. That means you have to review it regularly and honestly assess where you are, what should come next, and what needs to get crossed off.
The second rule of the syllabus is that life tastes better with a dollop of serendipity. Sometimes you stumble across something that has nothing to do with anything, but sparks a flame nonetheless. It would be a crime against the great gift of being alive in the world not to take it up and make it a priority, syllabus be damned.
This workflow is more work than just adding a book title to a Reminders list, but it keeps me from chasing after every bright shiny object that looks interesting. (And from getting tangled up click-bait screeds, the outrage du jour, or your garden variety internet time sinks.) And, it helps me make sure that there’s something on my task list that I’m doing for joy.
Re hobbies: I have three and I do some little thing related to them every single day. For instance, I’m an avid amateur photographer. I may not be able to squeeze in more than one photo walk per week, but I can take a photo of something around me with intention every day. “Daily Photo” is the first item on each day’s task list.