Mijndert Stuij

How I do to-dos


I tried every single to do list app under the sun – the one I stuck with the longest is Things, an awesome native app on Apple platforms. But the tool at hand isn't what I want to talk about today. The app doesn't matter, it's just that all of those apps try to push you towards a certain way of doing things. And using an app like Things, I'm pretty much stuck in the Apple ecosystem, unless I meticulously export all my data.

In an effort to ween myself off of being stuck to a particular ecosystem, I'm trying to implement File over App as much as I can.

Today, we are creating innumerable digital artifacts, but most of these artifacts are out of our control. They are stored on servers, in databases, gated behind an internet connection, and login to a cloud service. Even the files on your hard drive use proprietary formats that make them incompatible with older systems and other tools.

Now I have a folder in iCloud Drive called 'to-dos' with a sub-folder per year. I create a single note per week in which I write down my to-dos for that particular week. Since the notes are just text files I can open them in any editor (currently Vim or BBedit). If any items didn’t get done I move them over to the next note.

Yes, this approach adds a bit more friction but I'm really happy to have a little freedom.