Bye bye London. You have been amazing!
Your people are lovely, technology is cutting edge, and your coffee, desserts and cuisine (Galbi, Bibimbap, Kyochon Chicken) are heavenly!
And oh! Your subway 🚇 is utopian.
I feel lucky to have visited you thrice so far.
And I can’t wait to return.
The usual workflow to add tasks to any to-do app involves loosely a few steps:
- Find the app on the computer
- Open the app
- Find the Inbox folder
- Click the Add task button
- Type the task name
- Hit Enter to add task
These manual steps of adding tasks are way better than not having a to-do system in the first place. But the problem with manually adding tasks is the number of steps it involves. The six steps I listed above don’t even include deciding the project of the task, priority, due date, labels et al. The basic six manual steps are hard to do (and hence easier to skip) especially when we are busy doing other things. This often meant, I missed adding some tasks or had to distract myself from my current task and take a detour to my to-do app just to add the tasks.
This has been my biggest problem with how I used Wunderlist. Until I discovered Zapier early last year.
Zapier is a tool that allows you to connect apps you use every day to automate tasks and save time.
After seeing some of my colleagues use Zapier for automating some work tasks, I got curious and started exploring it. This lead me to learn about zaps.
A Zap is a specific link between two services you’ve connected on Zapier.
Zapier provides a ton of app integration ideas. You can start from here: https://zapier.com/apps/integrations/ and explore some integration ideas depending on the apps and services you use.
For work I use the following Zaps:
- Add new starred emails to Todoist as tasks (so when I just star a Gmail, it appears as a task in my Todoist with the link to the email for the context)
- Add new starred Slack messages to Todoist as tasks (so I just star a Slack message, and the message would appear in my Todoist with the link to the Slack message)
- I use Alfred a lot. So I setup Zapier for Alfred workflow which allows me to add tasks to my Todoist from the Alfred window.
- Unrelated to Todoist, but I also set up an Alfred workflow to add events to my work calendar right from the Alfred window, through a Zap in the background.
I also have a version of all the above zaps (except the Slack to Todoist zap) to work with my personal email, calendar and Todoist lists.
All these zaps allow me to add tasks to Todoist or calendars without having to stop what I am doing and without leaving the keyboard.
Regardless of which apps you use, there are a ton of zaps and Alfred workflows that offer myriad options. But a word of caution though: too many options means often we end up using none! After experiencing this for a long time, I optimized my workflows for simplicity and inexpensiveness in terms of both my money and cognitive energy. This means, I use Zapier’s Free plan which allows me to have only 5 zaps, and each of those zaps can only connect two apps. And I can use only 100 tasks per month. This seems to be sufficient for my needs and is working pretty well for me.
Likewise, if you use Alfred, you will find many sophisticated workflows that allow you to set tasks labels, priorities and other details right from Alfred window. While these options are good, it also means I need to learn those options and remember them. This often requires mental bandwidth and energy. This mostly lead me to stress and confusion and as a result, uselessness. So again, I optimized for simplicity and just use a basic workflow that sends whatever I write in Alfred window to Todoist’s Inbox from where I will triage later, so I don’t have to remember much or leave what I am doing. This works well for me rather than trying to use complicated workflows that require me to learn and remember their options.
A few rules that stood out to me:
21. Being nice to people is the easiest career competitive advantage.
22. Being smarter than others is the hardest.
Then there is this rule that I liked:
2. Most people are afraid of looking wrong.
I think not worrying too much about my ego, always being open to feedback and iteration are what makes me unafraid of looking wrong.
As an aside, if you have more time, I highly encourage you
I have been looking for Wunderlist replacement since last year. I can feel Wunderlist is staling. Wunderlist’s new incarnation, Microsoft To-Do, isn’t making good progress. It lacks basic features like sub-projects et al. Given how long it’s been since Microsoft’s acquisition of Wunderlist was announced and the development progress of the To-Do app, I have no hope that To-Do will be worth the wait.
Trello seemed to be a good replacement for a bit, but on looking deeper, Trello is a great project management tool, but not so much a to-do list. Sure, I can tweak Trello’s boards with checklists, but that’s taking one tool and making it work for something that it is not designed for. I prefer to avoid such hacks where possible. Sorry, Davor!
As luck would have it, I recently learned that
So that helped end my (re)search for the next to-do app. I look forward to
Wunderlist — you have been great while you lasted. But it’s time for me to move on to greener pastures.
I imported my Wunderlist to-dos and projects to Todoist. I will soon upgrade to Premium. I also need to set up some zaps and other workflows that will take some time, but I should be done with Wunderlist by the end of this quarter.
I am constantly looking for better workflows and today I stumbled upon this useful workflow to manage the app windows in Mac using Alfred.
Over two years ago I released Div — a simple @alfredapp window manager. Today support for multiple screens landed. Finally! AppleScript and Objective-C are not for me. Enjoy 🥑https://t.co/6QWAUpuDoLhttps://t.co/L5k8fHuMYj#alfred #workflow— Paweł Grzybek (@pawelgrzybek) February 3, 2019
I set it up and used a few times. I loved using it!
Thanks for making and sharing it, Paweł.
I am also on the lookout for better Space Manager apps and ideas. But more on that later, when I find a solution that I love.