I’ve never quite understood the concept of a to-do list. It’s never made sense to me to have a standalone list of things to do at some unspecified time, even if they can have pretty color coding and labels like Urgent, Priority and Today. I rely instead on calendar reminders.
I do make very limited use of Apple’s Reminders app, but only for location-triggered ones. It’s really useful to get reminded of something when I’m in the right place to action it – at home, at a shop and so on.
But for everything else, my calendar is my to-do list, for one simple reason …
For me, scheduling something is the one sure-fire method of ensuring it gets done. So all the tasks that some would put on a to-do list, I schedule in my calendar. Of course, you can assign dates and times to items in the Reminders app too, but using the calendar also means I can see visually how busy my day or week is in terms of tasks as well as appointments.
An urgent task, that absolutely must be completed today? No problem: I schedule it for a free slot in today’s calendar. Less urgent things might get shuffled around a little.
I might have good intentions to do my accounts after work today, but then when it comes to it I can’t quite face it, or something else comes up – and it’s then trivial to drag it to a new time or a new day. Even if I have to significantly revamp my plans, it takes just seconds to drag things to their new slots.
The best thing about scheduling my tasks is I get calendar reminders when it’s time to tackle them. If I’m not quite ready, or need to finish something else first, I use the snooze feature to have the reminder pop up again a bit later.
But there’s one tiny little thing that bugs me about the snooze feature: it only offers me fixed delay options:
- 1 minute
- 5 minutes
- 15 minutes
- 30 minutes
- One hour
- Two hours
- A day
- A week
The nature of my working day is somewhat unpredictable. If there’s a lot happening, writing news pieces might keep me busy all day. Sometimes there’s a flurry of news earlier in the day but it gets quieter later. The quiet times are when I write opinion pieces, reviews and … feature requests.
A news piece might take me 25 minutes to write if it’s short and sweet, or 45 minutes if it’s longer or there are lots of backlinks to include.
So all scheduled times are estimates, and I rely on the snooze feature quite a lot. But if I know I need ten minutes to finish what I’m doing, I can’t snooze the reminder for 10 minutes – only five or 15. Similarly, I can’t snooze a reminder for 45 minutes nor anything between two hours and 24 hours.
That’s a trivial complaint, I know. I’ve just said how easy it is to drag appointments around the calendar, so that’s what I end up doing. But minor annoyances you hit multiple times a day are more irritating than they should be, so I’d really love Apple to give me the option of a user-defined snooze time in addition to the presets. A text box where I can type a number, and a couple of check boxes that default to minutes but can be changed to hours with one click/tap.
Anyone else want this, or is it just me and my eccentric approach to to-do lists? Please take our poll and let us know in the comments.
Update: A couple of readers have suggested a related feature: the ability to cancel the next instance of an upcoming alarm, for example a wake-up call when you are already awake. At present, the only way to stop the alarm is to cancel it, running the risk that you’ll forget to re-enable it later.