Bifurcation

This summer has been a busy one. It seems like the time of year that things will always get busy for me. I'm currently working on a global launch of a product in four countries, and with all the little differences and nuances in each place, it has been difficult to keep track of all my tasks.

Which is why I love 2Do so much.

But this summer has been really different for me. Instead of one thing to focus on, I have a bunch more. More than I've ever had to keep straight. And it's made even further complicated by personal life stuff. So there's been a need to re-evaluate what I'm doing, and how I'm doing it. Luckily, I have some amazing friends, and one in particular that has had similar issues and feelings this summer.

Seth and I have had many conversations about this, and he's had a lot of sage-like insight on the topic. In fact, he's written a three-part summer series on it, and I highly recommend that you take the time to read it (if you're in to the nerdy stuff we're in to). It's some magnificent writing, and I couldn't have said it better if I had tried.

I can manage a lot with 2Do. In fact, I can typically manage everything with it. It's the central hub, the central nervous system to my task management. But this summer has shown me one thing: I often need to split stuff in my brain and do things differently. Sure, I can filter what I'm looking at, but it was starting to not feel like enough. Earlier this year, I tried some new things as experiments to see what else was out there, and how it could better serve me. Ultimately, I came back to where I started, and things were working OK. Kinda.

What I was noticing for work is that I wouldn't always see everything that I needed to do. I was managing my work tasks on my personal phone so that I could keep track of them, and keep them close at hand. But then I would forget to add an email to follow up on, or not remember to enter something from the chat system we use at work. If I'm missing tasks that others are depending on me to get done, then I need to fix something.

I don't use a Mac at work, but rather the eight pound monstrosity that is my laptop. So I needed something that talked between iOS and my PC, but only for work. For many reasons, I'm not going to keep my personal life on my work computer, but I didn't mind the reverse.

So I once again tried Todoist. But rather than moving over everything and having the app on my first home screen, I put only work tasks in it and moved it into a folder on my second screen; this allows me to be able to access it, but it's not in my face. As Seth said:

Now I’ve realized with all the things I’m tracking, the best way to do that and accommodate my personal wishes to keep work and personal life connected but separate means I take that information and split it right down the middle.

Now, I really didn't like this to start. Not at all. It broke my brain. Give it more time: it will be OK, I was told. So I did. And as I continued, I had the same feeling as he did:

For the next 36 hours or so, I had all of my life in those two apps. And then I just freaked out. No, seriously, I did. I had a baby anxiety attack, quickly righted the ship, realized I’m a total asshole, thanked the heavens that this was my biggest problem right now, and just said fuck it, it’s going to be [my app] again, and that’s that.

After about a week, I began to see how much I actually really love this. I've been able to install the Outlook add-on for Todoist, so that it's completely integral to my workflow. And that's been a game changer. In fact, it's been a huge boost in productivity for me. I was originally going to wait until I had my new job,1 but the suggestion that I set this up now instead of when I'm in my new role was a great idea.

So here's my current setup: I'm still using 2Do for my personal tasks. But I'm also using Todoist for work. And this bifurcation is working. I'm still as just productive as using one app, if not even more so with two. I can use the right app, at the right time, in the right place.

The big thing with all of this: you shouldn't worry about what app(s) others are using, but rather you should focus on what makes sense to you and how it makes you feel. If your work and personal life need a specific solution, whether that is one or more apps, it just needs to help you stay focused, feel OK, and allow you to take care of your needs.

I'm really glad I'm not alone in this. Not by a long shot. I have made several friends specifically because of this condition line of thinking. We're not in the same physical space, but at least we have a way to talk about it. As Seth put it:

If you’ve made it this far, I truly am sorry. And thankful. We should hang out.

We should. And we will. But for now: we'll continue to talk frequently about things like this, commiserating, changing, learning, and sharing our experiences. And that's good enough… for now.

  1. Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, I got a new role at work. It's going to be great.

2 thoughts on “Bifurcation”

  1. I am in a similar situation myself, having OSX at home and windows at work.

    For a number of years I have been using Cultured Code Things for personal tasks, but have recently been trying 2do due to its regular commendations, but not yet fully convinced it suits my needs. It certainly is a very powerful todo manager, but my problem in changing tools is having used Things for a number of years, i expect any other todo manager to work in the same way as i have become accustomed to. Just wish CulturedCode were more open with their customers on Things 3 features and timelines. The closure of the forums on cultured code was another event that lead me to think that they are not that interested in their customers.

    For my work todo’s i have been using TickTIck, but have just yesterday moved to Tidiest as i have had a couple of gripes with TIckTIck, and i am also a todo app addict…

    I also have a third set of todo’s in iOS reminders for family tasks that i share with my wife….Oh for one app to rule them all! Simple enough to share tasks with my wife, cross platform access to have my work tasks, and powerful enough to tailor to my own method of working.

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