Why I don't like todo apps

At a personal level

Friday, March 10, 2023.

Well, I lied... sort of.

I don't like using them all the time. When I want most focus, I use good 'ol pen & paper -- it's delightful.

Todo lists are nice tools for keeping track of the things you want to accomplish during the day.

A few of them are good, some are bad -- but it all comes down to you and or the organisation you're working with.

I have tried a few of these apps like Todoist, Google Tasks (coupled with Google Calendar), any.do and more. If you're in an organisation, apps like Todoist or Asana will likely be indispensible but if you're an indie maker like me who just wants to get things done, they're over-kill.

Sometimes they work, other times they don't but it comes down to two things:

We think computers are more than mere tools

It begins with the perspective at which we look at computers. We think of them like magical devices that can grant our wishes and this is because we know they can do a lot if properly instructed to do so.

We use computers to offload our work, not to assist. We think they are more than just tools -- and the rise in AI tools amplifies this.

Our inability to develop actionable tasks

Our inability to express what we want to do in an actionable way and writing blurry tasks hinders us from tackling them later. This could be the result of us wanting to -- yet again -- offload the bulk of work to the computer.

We would usually write something like

  • "Do all my assignments".

instead of

  • "Solve exercises 3,4 & 6 at page 113 using Gaussian elimination"

Do you see what I mean?

Over all, for someone working on the computer or phone all they long, todo apps offer benefits such as syncing your work across devices or setting reminders in case you've got a puncture on your back-head.

Google Tasks is one I encourage you to try especially with Google Calendar. If you don't like it, fine!

Pen & paper work, too.