When I first met Peter Bregman, he was on his book tour speaking at Microsoft Research. In 2012. He tried to convince me to give up Outlook Tasks for managing all the stuff that I wasn’t doing. His logic was sound. He repeatedly pointed out that “It’s a myth. You can’t do it all!”
I wasn’t yet ready to acknowledge that my [many] task lists were really just a pile of things that I wish I had time to do. But don’t.
I bought the book, 18 Minutes, anyway and had Peter sign it for me. He was very gracious.
My wife and kids have read it (and done better than I have at following Peter’s advice).
Sure, I adopted some of his recommended practices:
Even the partial adoption of the 18 Minutes philosophy has made me more productive and successful in the past two years. I highly recommend the book. Peter’s fun to read.
Fast forward 2 years, 2 months, and a fortnight.
I still have hundreds of task list items in 6 different mailboxes (two of them Office 365 mailboxes). Many of them over a year old. Most of them long overdue.
I’ve known that I have a task problem for a long time, but it was never a priority to do anything about it, and I always promise myself that I’ll review the task list someday and do those things.
So why am I saying goodbye to my task lists now?
Windows Phone 8.1 made me do it.
I’ve had the same Windows Phone 8 device since Launch Day™. I stood in line for 8 hours on Microsoft’s main campus with a couple thousand of my closest cow-orkers to get my “free” phone. I’ve never been without it since, not a single day. Until this past Monday. My reliable, beloved HTC 8X has finally gone to the great phone Valhalla in the sky. RIP, little guy. I’ll miss you.
I have a great new device, a Nokia Lumia 635 with Windows Phone 8.1 on it. I love it. It’s so yellow that you can see it from space. I’m not prone to losing devices, but just in case, you know?
Now, I’ve always had the comfort of being able to easily swipe over to my task list on my phone and look at them. Occasionally even complete (or delete) one! But over the years with Windows Phone, as it grows and matures, it is becoming clear that Tasks are an afterthought for the team that maintains the Calendar app.
I can’t swipe over to my task list anymore. I have to perform some alternative action to discover my tasks. As a creature of habit (part of my autism is being pretty change averse), this is painful. It just seems like nobody thinks tasks are important enough to treat like first class citizens the same way that email, contacts, and appointments are. I don’t know if Tasks are going the way of Outlook Notes. (I don’t think ActiveSync has supported Outlook Notes since Windows Phone 7, but I could misremember; maybe it never did. I gave up on Outlook Notes long ago.)
No. I don’t really need them after all.
Fine. I can admit when I’m wrong. I’m sorry, Peter. You were right.
With my grieving done, I’ve made one final task list in OneNote.
Goodbye, Outlook Tasks.
As a guy who absolutely loves, and needs, his daily dose of to do lists I am not sure if I could change much. Since you praised it this much, I guess I will try and find a copy of the book and just try it for myself. Will let you know how it went!
Christiaan, I feel your pain. Do let me know what you think of Peter's book. There are a couple others in the productivity space that have helped me in the past two years, but that's the one that got me started in the right direction. =)