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The misguided distinction between events and tasks

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
May 27, 2018 at 11:21 PM

 

I agree with Hugh. I understand the desire to be able to schedule tasks in your day, but I don’t think tasks and events should be treated as the same things. Events are usually locked in for the time and date they are scheduled, because they usually include other people who are relying on you to be where you’re supposed to be. Tasks, on the other hand, need to be fluid because they often are dependent on other things happening first. Also it is nice to schedule time for a task, but it is easy to change that time if something else comes up. It is less easy, sometimes impossible, to change an event.

Hugh wrote:
Personally, I prefer a “separation of functions”, that, say, OmniFocus
>allows, with dragging and dropping of tasks, into, say Fantastical. That
>way you can use a top-notch task manager alongside a top-notch calendar
>application.

 


Posted by Dellu
May 28, 2018 at 12:25 AM

 

Stephen Zeoli wrote:
I agree with Hugh. I understand the desire to be able to schedule tasks
>in your day, but I don’t think tasks and events should be treated as the
>same things. Events are usually locked in for the time and date they are
>scheduled, because they usually include other people who are relying on
>you to be where you’re supposed to be. Tasks, on the other hand, need to
>be fluid because they often are dependent on other things happening
>first. Also it is nice to schedule time for a task, but it is easy to
>change that time if something else comes up. It is less easy, sometimes
>impossible, to change an event.

The point of scheduling a task is to force yourself to accomplish the task in a fixed time range. This is a way of pushing yourself. It would be nice if you can understand tasks like you understand events; that they should be done at that specific time.
Once you have the schedule, you will learn to say “no” when distractions came by.

I would like to quote Cal again:

>Assigning work to times reduces the urge to procrastinate. You are no longer deciding whether or not to work during a given period; the decision is already made.

Even studies support that scheduling helps with procrastination; mentioned https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/08/how-to-stop-being-lazy/

 


Posted by Ken
May 29, 2018 at 01:59 AM

 

Dellu wrote:

>
>Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>I agree with Hugh. I understand the desire to be able to schedule tasks
>>in your day, but I don’t think tasks and events should be treated as
>the
>>same things. Events are usually locked in for the time and date they
>are
>>scheduled, because they usually include other people who are relying on
>>you to be where you’re supposed to be. Tasks, on the other hand, need
>to
>>be fluid because they often are dependent on other things happening
>>first. Also it is nice to schedule time for a task, but it is easy to
>>change that time if something else comes up. It is less easy, sometimes
>>impossible, to change an event.
> >The point of scheduling a task is to force yourself to accomplish the
>task in a fixed time range. This is a way of pushing yourself. It would
>be nice if you can understand tasks like you understand events; that
>they should be done at that specific time.
>Once you have the schedule, you will learn to say “no” when distractions
>came by.
> >I would like to quote Cal again:
> >>Assigning work to times reduces the urge to procrastinate. You are no
>longer deciding whether or not to work during a given period; the
>decision is already made.
> >Even studies support that scheduling helps with procrastination;
>mentioned https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/08/how-to-stop-being-lazy/

I hope that Cal’s approach works for you, but I suspect that his success might have less to do with his schedule and more with his personality, internal motivation and tenure (as it is hard to fire a tenured faculty for just saying “no”).  I would also guess that the success of his system is dependent on the type of environment that one works in.  I am constantly responding to unplanned requests from those above me in the form of meetings, emails and dropping by my desk.  And the same goes for my “clients” who also email and call.  It would be great to just say “No” to these people, but I am afraid that my reputation for customer service would greatly diminished to the point of my getting a bad reputation.  That doesn’t mean that setting time aside for tasks is a bad idea, but I have to agree with Stephen about the need for flexibility.

Regarding the idea of forcing myself to do things, it is just not a system that would work for me for any meaningful length of time.  If this type of system works for you, then that is great.  But I have always been guided by the idea of doing something right rather than within a fixed amount of time, even if I am doing the estimating.  Granted, I will prioritize tasks that impact other people’s schedules, but my work tasks are not always identical and some need a lot more time and attention than others.  And the thought of “pushing myself” seems more stressful than useful.  I know what I have to do, and I know when things have to get done, so planning out my week to the minute would not be useful as I would constantly be adjusting the schedule, and that can be a time vampire in its own right.

In the end, it is great that there are software packages that allow us to work as we desire.  I hope that you are able to make one of the above programs meet your needs, and wish you success on adopting Cal’s recommended work methods.

—Ken

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
May 29, 2018 at 08:42 AM

 

Pagico allows you to do this, too. You can create “events” by giving notes specific dates/times, but you can also treat tasks as events because they’re automatically booked into your calendar when you give them a date/time (they sync with Apple Calendar, too). The advantage of Pagico over a standard calendar is the excellent Timeline view - it’s easy to shift tasks/events to new dates/times simply by dragging and dropping. I tend to treat tasks and events as different things, but if I wanted to, I could use tasks for both and simply use different colours (or tags, or whatever) to differentiate appointments from to-dos. The compatibility of Pagico with Apple Calendar is one of its major advantages, but it has its own Calendar view as well.

 


Posted by Dellu
May 29, 2018 at 04:25 PM

 

MadaboutDana wrote:
Pagico allows you to do this, too. You can create “events” by giving
>notes specific dates/times, but you can also treat tasks as events
>because they’re automatically booked into your calendar when you give
>them a date/time (they sync with Apple Calendar, too). The advantage of
>Pagico over a standard calendar is the excellent Timeline view - it’s
>easy to shift tasks/events to new dates/times simply by dragging and
>dropping. I tend to treat tasks and events as different things, but if I
>wanted to, I could use tasks for both and simply use different colours
>(or tags, or whatever) to differentiate appointments from to-dos. The
>compatibility of Pagico with Apple Calendar is one of its major
>advantages, but it has its own Calendar view as well.

I have totally overlooked Pagico.  Pagico could be the ultimate solution given it also works with Windows and Android, and offline, it could solve all my problems.
Thank you for reminding me. I think this is going to be perfect.

 


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