I have been microblogging a lot lately about both the Enneagram (here and here) and transitioning to Things as my task manager (here and here). While I haven’t said as much, the two are actually related.
I wasn’t 100% sure I would actually post this, but after the latest episode of Connected where Federico Viticci talked about why he made the transition from Todoist to Things, there were enough similarities that I needed to share my story as well.
I had planned on writing a big post on the Enneagram at some point, and that may still come, but I need to explain some things about what it is in order to explain how it has impacted my task manager choice.
In the shortest terms, the Enneagram is a personality typing system. In some ways it’s similar to Myers-Briggs or Disc, or other popular personality test. In a lot of ways though, it’s different.
The Enneagram teaches that there are nine different personality styles in the world, one of which we naturally gravitate toward and adopt in childhood to cope and feel safe. - Ian Morgan Cron, “The Road Back to You”
If you’ve heard a lot of people talking about the Enneagram lately, it’s becoming popular in Christian circles because Ian Cron, a popular Christian author, wrote a book about it. But The Enneagram is not a religion. It’s not tied to one. It’s not something you have to believe or follow. It’s a tool to help you understand yourself, the good and bad. That’s it.
As I’ve studied the Enneagram over the last 6 months or so, I’ve determined I gravitate toward type 3 which is often called “The Performer” or “The Achiever.” Like all 3s, at some point in my life I began to believe that love was based more on what you did than who you are. I will transform myself (or perform) based on whatever situation I’m in to try to win people over and make them think I’m successful. I’m obsessed with productivity and efficiency because the more I do, the more value I have. This isn’t all bad. If you need someone to get a job done, find a 3. But the underlying motivation for me is often unhealthy.
So I’m slowly trying to let myself be at times. Let myself do nothing. Let myself stop always being busy. Being ok with not everything I do being a success.
This is where the transition of task managers has come in.
Todoist to Things
I started using Todoist about a year ago as my primary task manager. We got an Amazon Echo Dot in our kitchen, and I wanted to try working with a task manager that I could easily add tasks to using Alexa (it turns out I never did this anyway). Todoist stuck though.
One of the stickiest aspects of Todoist for me was Karma. Todoist even quoted me on their blog talking about how much I loved Karma. Every day I would work my tail off to reach 0 tasks in my Todoist Today view or continue my streak. When I didn’t make that happen, I would get stressed out. Anxious even. I started hating even opening Todoist because I felt like I couldn’t be good enough at my job to get everything done that I needed to. \ I tried turning off Karma, but it was so deeply connected with using Todoist in my brain I knew I probably needed to get out.
I’m at almost 2 weeks of using Things, and the way Ticci described it in this week’s Connected has been my experience as well. I like that there’s no karma. I like that if I don’t complete a task on a certain day, it just remains on my task list for the next. I like that there’s no congratulations from the app for getting through all of my to-dos for the day.
Things helps me do my job while not making my job my life.
There are definitely things about Todoist that I miss, but after 2 weeks, I’m really happy I made this transition. I hope it leads to more balance, and less stress in the long run. Ticci trying out Things for the same reasons was further confirmation for me that I’m on the right track.