Share how you use TP

I am in a low productivity period. Too much procrastinating on important but not time critical things.

One of the things I do is add @resist to tasks I know I am dragging on.

What are other people’s tips or hacks to drive your personal productivity in Task Paper.

Perhaps the trick is just to work out:

  • where you want to drive to, and
  • what’s the main obstacle to getting there ?

Software comes third or fourth here. Collecting too many ‘tasks’ along the way may be adding more to noise and distraction by other people than to signal or direction for yourself.

(See, for example, Joan Didion on ‘unanswered letters’ in her 1961 piece, On Self-Respect: Joan Didion’s 1961 Essay from the Pages of Vogue | Vogue)


It might be worth using TaskPaper more as an outliner, to clarify thoughts, than as a “task manager”.

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Thanks for the thoughts, the big picture is part of it!

Also looking to share tips on the more tactical side

I have used Taskpaper strategically for so many years that I can’t recall when I started. I tend to use Taskpaper when I have multiple specific projects to track. I’m an academic so during an academic year, I can have 8-10 projects to manage. In the summer I often have just three writing or research projects to brainstorm and accomplish as tasks. I keep my workflow simple:

Project One:

  • task 1
  • task 2
    perhaps a note, perhaps not.

Project Two:

  • task 1
  • task 2
    perhaps a note, perhaps not.

Project Three:

  • task 1
  • task 2
    perhaps a note, perhaps not.

The colon following the project name is important.
I set up due dates, defer dates, soon tags and someday/maybe tags (if it’s just a stray idea).

The flexibility Taskpaper affords is why I use the app so often. Taskpaper doesn’t constrain me in the way some of the larger task managers do. This little workflow is simple and neat. I like the way that I can focus in on the project I’m working on in the moment so that I’m not distracted by other projects.

That’s the extent of how I use Taskpaper,

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At the top of my file I have goals, some in the form of tags.

I also have a special project at the top called Navigate with collection of tags for one click access. Of course I could type them in search bar but this makes like a pseudo tool bar.

Navigate:
	- tag @top 
	- tag @today 
	- Status  @followup @resist @15min @5min 
	- People @lac @ash 
		Others @christine @sam @sarah
		Intentions @expressive @create
		@silab @delivery

I use this Matthew Vickars’ template to create a dated to do list

http://matthewmcvickar.github.io/taskpaper-month-generator/?year=2022&month=8

As i finish tasks and days, i delete them, but inevitably, some tasks don’t get done, and i just move them to the next day.

Screenshot 2022-06-19 at 08.53.11

Speaking of which, maybe this template could be added to TP as a feature.

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I find it best to pick one task and focus on it.

I tag the task with @next.

Keyboard Maestro finds it, and displays it in my Macs menu bar, which keeps me focused on completing it.

pick one task and focus on it

And Richard Rumelt’s The Crux, for example, is eloquent and persuasive on the centrality of building ‘goals’ and ‘next steps’ around deciding:

  • where the key problem is really to be found, and
  • what you can most effectively do about it.
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I think this is the right answer, thank you @complexpoint !

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and in this case what differences to Bike?

I don’t personally think that the choice of the particular tool is the key issue.

Bike is clearly a more general-purpose (and Moby Dick capable) instrument – TaskPaper has some specialisations for tag processing, dates and project naming once a project takes more shape – but the gathering and ordering of thoughts can be done in either. Whatever comes to hand.