A stripped view on task management

I have a confession: I am not following the GTD rules.

Tomas Ahlbeck
3 min readJul 21


I tried but I never got anything done, I just got lost and the list of undone things just got longer and longer.

Why? Well, I am not structured enough I guess. If I put a date on a thing to do, I forget about it and then I either move it forward when the date comes, or I get stressed since I have forgotten about it. That is why an app like Things3 — otherwise a very good app indeed — does not help me with getting anything done.

I then stumbled over a guy called Carl Pullein, and watched a few of his videos on Youtube. I even took some of his courses online. And I tried to adapt his thoughts on my way of thinking. I’mnot going to call him my “todo guru”, but that was when I started to realise that I was spending too much time looking for the app of all apps. And realised that instead of ONE app, I should use THREE.

These are the apps I now use for my task and project management:
- Apple Reminders
- Apple Calendar
- Apple Notes

In Reminders I have the possibility to add smart folders. I have one I call “Important” and there is where all todos that I have flagged or put as high priority end up.

To those who are totally in the GTD way of thinking this may seem unnecessary, but to me it is a real timesaver. Since when I do my morning check I can see not only what todos I am supposed to do today but also those I have marked as important .

OK, some may say “everything you put in Things3 (or Todoist or Reminders or wherever) is important”. True. But to me it is a way to not just get a very long list of todos I have forgotten to act on, but actually a way for me to get things done.

Things3 has a function with a deadline. Which to some is the main reason they don’t switch to Reminders. To me it is a function that just scatters my brain. The tasks that have a fixed deadline I put in Calendar on that date.
And as for checklists in projects: For every project I have a folder in Notes, where I put documents, checklists and other stuff. And I just put a link to it in Reminders.

Now, I understand that this might be a bit too stripped solution for those who work as consultants and have many projects for each client. But I am also certain that many spend a lot of time trying to find the one and only ultimate app that will solve every issue that might show up between now and the end of the world. And by focusing on the app-chase, they never get anything actually done.

To those I say: I understand you. I have been there myself. And I know especially Reminders does not have the bells and whistles that Things 3 has. But since I decided to go all in for Apples built in apps I have realised that I can live without those bells. And even the whistles. And my list of undone todos is getting smaller by the day. And in the end, that is what counts.

/Tomas A



Tomas Ahlbeck

Swedish Standup comedian, writer & diabetic. Published a few books, done a few gigs. ‘Sweden’s own dirty uncle, brilliant writing and some very dark humour.”