Kevin Kaland's Developer Blog

Dec 6

Why is planning so time-consuming?

So here’s an interesting quasi-paradox that I’m sure many of you have run into: Planning, which saves time, itself can take quite a bit of time. In this post, I’m specifically referring to task management.

I don’t update my task lists/weekly plan as often as I should, but when I do, it tends to take about an hour. I’ve taken various steps to try to reduce this time, but it seems difficult to get it lower than that. There are a couple reasons:

  1. It’s easy to get distracted when planning. I might see a “quick” todo and say, “Oh, I can knock that out in hardly any time at all.” Fast-forward a half hour.
  2. I often over-organize my list or spend too much time making it look nice (I am currently using Google Tasks and the GTasks Android app, by the way).

Those are the two main problems with my current approach. I’m not sure if I could refine the approach itself any further, hence this blog post. What I currently do is just go through my master list of tasks (stored in reQall) and select the ones I want to do this week. I put them into Personal and Business sub-lists in Gmail Tasks, and I have sub-lists for each day of the week. Before, I’d schedule the tasks into weekdays as well, but life has been too volatile to do that recently, and I figured that just figuring out what I wanted to do in the week would be plenty. I could then spend a few minutes each evening picking some tasks for the next day.

I’d love to hear what other people do for this. I’m a serial over-complicater (look how long this “quick” blog post is), so if I’m doing it again, don’t be shy and tell me straight.