Morning Brain Dump

Getting stuff out of my head really fast.

I wake up when the kids get up every morning, which means my schedule is never set. I can’t set a reminder to brain dump at X time, because I want to sleep as late as I can. (Big fan of waking early, but with two small kids it doesn’t work well for me right now.) I’ve also long complained about how slow it can be to add tasks to OmniFocus, and how much better 2Do handles this, but even 2Do isn’t low-friction enough in the groggy mornings.

I really like to dump everything out of my brain, and into to 2Do while I sip my morning coffee. But I also needed a better way to handle this.

Enter Workflow.

I created a quick Workflow which just presents me with a blank text box. Each task is a new line on that text box and from there Workflow creates all the tasks for me in 2Do.

You can download the Workflow here.

I had initially made this without assigning due dates, but found that I would forget about the tasks in my Inbox if I didn’t assign a due date. I chose 9:30am because I am always at my desk by then, and usually through the initial morning triage with my teams. At 9:30 I typically run through my task list and adjust due dates, and task assignments for the day/week ahead.

This setup has helped me tremendously in the mornings to just get it all out of my head.

After Meeting Action List

I took the same Workflow above and duplicated it, making some slight tweaks. (Download it here.) This is an action I invoke after I get done with a meeting. It’s entirely the same action, with the small change that after submitting my list I am prompted for a time when I want to set for the due time.

I am still tweaking this but it gives me a method to set everything due right away if it is urgent, or at a later time that same day. Again: get the tasks out of my head, and be reminded to triage them.

Couple Notes

I don’t set the start dates, as that needs to be set on a task-by-task basis. Likewise, I could set a task to triage all of this, when I create the other tasks, but that just led me to deferring the act of triaging. By being forced into a due date, I see what is on the list and can thus effectively manage the items before they get out of hand.

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