August 17th, 2021

Task Managers Make it TOO EASY to Input Tasks

Jamie Todd Rubin on the ease of entry for task managers.

The fact that to-do apps makes it easier for us to record what we have to do is part of the problem. We accumulate more stuff because it is easy to accumulate. The fact that there are market forces driving us to feel more productive also help to proliferate tasks. Then, too, we don’t often think of the accumulation of to-do items in a time-context: we only have so much time in our lives to get things done, so we need a better way of figuring out what matters and then actually doing that stuff.

This is similar to the email problem IBM encountered when they started using it. After surveying all communication they built the email system to handle all communication plus generous buffer. Then it collapsed under a 6X increase in communication1. With friction reduced people started sending far more email, much of which didn't actually matter.


  1. See A World Without Email Page 70 for the story.