I’ve been using Things as my task manager for some time now, both on my desktop and on my iPhone, and have absolutely loved it. It’s clean, super-functional, and generally trouble-free.
But then last week I found something even better to love about it. It allows you to set recurring tasks, of course — all decent task managers do. But it allows you to set those tasks pegged not just to a certain fixed span of time, but to a certain time frame since the last time you did the task. Which is excellent for those tasks you really need to do more frequently but tend to stall a bit on.
Say, for instance, you need to clean out the litterbox, and you want to do it every other day. For the sake of argument. If you’ve got a regular recurrent every-other-day task set up, and then you don’t clean out the litterbox on the first day the task appears in your to-do list, but do manage to clean it out the next day, you run the risk of being annoyed when a second “clean out the litterbox” reminder appears the very next day. In fact, you’re likely just to delete that one and wait for the next one. Not that I have any experience with that.
But if you set the task up with an interval that only begins after completion, and you stall one day on cleaning out the litterbox, the next reminder appears two days later, at the point when the task really needs to be done again.
It’s a small difference, but it’s really changed my relationship to some of my recurrent tasks, and how I respond when they appear in my list for the day’s tasks.