Your Complex Task App Recommendations

Before we look at your specific recommendations, let’s discuss a concept we have pioneered here at ScheduleU.

The idea is simple: the volume of tasks you can manage varies with the setup of your habits, practices, apps and devices.

But that’s not all. There’s a corollary: when your current task volume exceeds the capacity of your setup, you inevitably experience a number of unwanted symptoms.

The good news is that you can change your setup, but the bad news is that most people don’t know where their setup came from, or what task volume it’s intended to handle. Therefore, they struggle.

But if you are using a Complex Task App like OmniFocus, Nozbe or Outlook, you probably didn’t fall into it by accident. I imagine that you did some research, downloaded a free trial and ended up paying for its extra functionality.

Yet, here you are at ScheduleU. You already know what time blocking is, at high level. Perhaps you have already tried it. Unfortunately, most Complex Apps do a poor job of time blocking because they are list-based rather than calendar-based. If they allow temporal tagging, it’s really an afterthought.

And I suspect that you aren’t here only out of curiosity. Maybe you already face some unwanted symptoms which are catching you by surprise. Or, you expect that your life will experience greater task volume in the future. The question you have is “What should I do?”

To understand what your options are, take a look at this chart.

At the moment, you find yourself at Level 4. But why are the unwanted symptoms happening or about to happen?

If you are like others who use Complex Apps but still have unwanted experiences, here’s what the cause may be: you are a victim of your own success.

At some moment in the past, you chose to use that Complex App in order to get rid of some unwanted symptoms – it could even be the same ones. It probably worked for a while. Your upgrade granted you an immediate boost of productivity and some additional peace of mind.

Naturally, most people who have this experience keep (happily) adding more tasks. They are loving it…until they run into a problem. Unknown to them, Level 4 has a limit to its effectiveness, just like any other.

Think of it this way. Imagine trying to move some gravel. A simple hand trowel might suffice if the amount is small. Encouraged by your new prowess, you try to move more. At some point, your trusted hand trowel becomes an impediment. To keep on moving as much gravel as you now want, you must use a shovel.

People who reach Level 4 and start to see a recurrence of unwanted symptoms usually find that they run short of time each day. In other words, they can no longer find the free time they used to.

In other words, they unwittingly consumed their free time by adding more tasks. The solution is to take time into account in their task management in a serious way. Perhaps that’s why you are here – to see if time blocking could help.

Making the transition to Levels 5 or 6 requires you to pick up some unique habits, practices, apps and maybe even change your devices altogether. It requires a different mindset than the ones you have used before at lower levels.

Unfortunately, many people who decide to pick up time blocking aren’t successful. While the concept is easy to understand, the implementation is a challenge and most people find out they are on their own.

Here at ScheduleU we have some answers. In fact, our training is geared towards helping people navigate Levels 5 and 6 with skill, or make a decision about which one to pursue after Level 4.

To answer these questions, I recommend you take A Course in Scheduling, my free training. (In a matter of months, this training will no longer be complimentary, however.)

It’s all about time blocking but it goes far beyond the introductory stuff that’s so popular in blogs, videos and podcasts. I have been studying (and using) the technique for almost two decades and this training offers one shortcut after another to ease the pressure many experience. It puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you lots of choices but making you aware of the consequences.

Of course, the choice of a next step is yours – I hope that you find an opportunity to improve your skills through A Course in Scheduling here at ScheduleU.