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Stop to promise the moon and start to keep promises

Is there a Portuguese version here.

It seems that having so much technology at our disposal has diminished our memory capacity. Maybe our brain is just optimizing storage, anyway why do you want to remember the path if the waze is there in your hand?

To avoid being against nature, David Allen’s GTD suggests that we write down our tasks so that our brain is focused on executing them rather than remembering them. Of course, typing the assignments in a pocket note book can be charming, but nothing practical if compared to the solutions available in electronic form.

Basically, is it possible to split the tasks in: habits we want to create or maintain and tasks to do. For the first ones, the main impediment for people to create a new habit is to focus on the quantity against the execution.

Basically, you can divide the tasks into habits that we want to create or maintain and tasks to be executed. For the former, the factor that most prevents people from creating a new habit is to focus on quantity rather than execution.

Creating a new habit

When we want to create the habit of reading for example, we create a personal task: read 20 pages every day before bedtime. However, on that day that we are very tired, just imagine in reading 20 pages is sufficient to discourage and we skip that day. And it is exactly at this time that we kill the creation of the habit! Once we skip an execution, we stop instructing our behavior and the habit is not created. Change focus: Your goal should be to read any number of pages *EVERY DAY*. The focus should be on execution, not quantity. Once you have read two pages, you will often end up reading more than that and when you least expect it will be at 20 pages per day. But, remember: focus on running! Do not skip a single day, even if you only will read a single page.

Learn to say NO

One of the big problems is our lack of ability to say no. Sometimes because of lack of courage, sometimes for fear. But, in fact, for both parties, both for whom asked and for who will perform, may not be the best option.

For those who asked, the certainty of execution matters more than feeling cared for. Say you will execute and not keep the promise can be frustrating for both. Learn to promise just what you can accomplish, this will make you seen as a trustworthy person and delivering quality tasks.

Tasks + Calendar = Success

As soon as you are asked for something, take a look at your to-do list and see if you will be able to deliver with the required quality. Remember: Do not negotiate the quality of your work just to meet a deadline.

The trick here is to look at both the to-do list and your appointments. It’s not sufficient to look only at the to-do list if your schedule is full of meetings. The really good is when both, list and events, are together and the same screen. And yes, that’s what we’re going to get!.


I have already tested dozens (for real) of to-do list apps and surely elect two as the best: Todoist e Skedpal.


Tem versão web e apps pra tudo: mac, windows, android, iOS, torradeira 🙂

Is there a web version and apps for almost every device: mac, windows, android, iOS, and they are planning a version for toasters for next year 🙂

Even in the free version it supports projects, subtasks, dates in natural language and recurring events with several options.

It has a nice and fast interface and a plenty of possible integrations. With a little help from the IFTTT, you can integrate with whatever you want. For example, you can create a task in your list whenever you assign a card to Trello.

But surely the most killer integration is real-time two-way with Google Calendar. It allows your Todoist-created tasks to appear on your calendar, and more than that, if you change anything by the Calendar, by dragging or changing the description, it is automagically reflected in the Todoist. When creating a task in the Todoist you can do it in natural language, like this:

“Write a medium text [40m] today at 4pm”

Todoist will not only create the task in your to-do list for today as it will sync with Google Calendar and create a 40-minute event for today at 4 pm. And if, by the Calendar, you drag it to 18h, this will be reflected in the Todoist.


If the Todoist did not solve your problems, the Skedpal will.

It is a hardcore version of time management, with a poorer interface than the Todoist, but with more resources and more complex features.

The basic concept of Skedpal is Time Maps. You create maps to perform tasks and sorts in three levels: green, orange and red, in order of preference. For example, you want to do physical activities in the morning, so you can create a Time Map like this: 5 to 6 hours in red, 6 to 7 hours, orange and 7 to 8 hours green. Thus, when assigning a task to this Time Map, it will automatically schedule it, giving preference to 7 to 8.

Here’s the magic of Skedpal. Based on priority and Time Maps, and your plans, it will set your agenda. And, of course, it’s possible to integrate it into your Google Calendar. In this way, the Skepal considers your appointments to schedule your tasks and put everything together like a charm.

Furthermore, it still warns you in a Hot List if you have any problems, such as a task that can not be performed before the due date or according to your initial plans. Sensational, is not it?

It also provides good resources for recurring tasks, allowing you to choose the behaviour, for example, if you do not have enough time to perform the task at that time: alert in the Hot List or ignore.

It is still in beta and fails on some things: the interface is not the most pleasant (the app sucks) and the integrations are only with Google Calendar (and only one calendar) and with Evernote.

Show to your life who is the boss

So, the next time you are asked for something, open your calendar (already integrated with the Todoist or Skedpal) and check if you really can execute with the quality you want and, only after that, respond with a sonorous and confident: YES!

Stop to promise the moon and start to keep promises was originally published in bawilabs on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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