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The world is changing everywhere we look.

It feels like everywhere you look it’s “AI this”, “AI that” meanwhile us normal people have an overwhelming schedule and can’t seem to make progress on our ever-growing task list. Why should we care?

I agree. There’s a time and a place for everything and most people have way better things to focus on before AI.

How about we learn some basics first and build on that?

When you build a strong foundation of the basics you’re able to build on top of those core principles and use them as an anchor when learning more advanced concepts.

This guide will walk you through the best practices for using tasks, events, reminders, and notifications.

Trust me, there is an art and science to handling these tools effectively without a headache. This technological evolution has made tools such as tasks, events, reminders, and notifications more critical than ever for efficiently managing work and personal life.

These tools aid in managing our daily responsibilities by ensuring productivity and preventing us from overlooking important tasks or events.

Why Care

You can attend all the events you want to, get alerted to all the best product drops, or be reminded to take something out of the freezer (I needed a reminder when I wrote this), and still accomplish 247 tasks in a month and a half (see here).

It just takes a hyper efficient organization system, which starts by understanding the differences between all of what I just mentioned.

A tool is just a tool.

Most people have access to all of the same tools.

The thing that makes it seem like some people accomplish anything they set their sights on isn’t because they have access to better tools, it’s because they know how to use them properly.

And when they know how to use the right tools alongside other tools, their output soars because they understand and leverage the synergies between the right tools.

It’s not a superpower, it’s just doing the basics. All of them.

I’m here to show you how to maximize your time by understanding the current digital landscape and how to best navigate it.

It’s only getting more complex, this guide will teach you basic foundational concepts that you will be able to use for the rest of your life, no matter how complex it gets.

Let’s save you time, shall we?

Here we go.

Best Practices: Tasks, Events, Reminders, and Notifications

First off, let me explain the differences. Each of these tools are used to help you reach the same goal: remember to do something.

The amount of stuff that we want to do but say we’ll get back to just keeps on growing. The only way to ensure you don’t miss out on doing all the things you want to, and are expected to, is by effectively managing your day to day activities in a clear and repeatable way.

You don’t have to make up your own system, just use the simple tools at your disposal correctly.

After all, a tool is just a tool.

At the end of the article I put together a formula for how to consistently use these tools together to become an insanely productive person with ease and impress your family and colleagues.

Each of these tools are used for a different purpose to help you reach the same goal: A well-ordered existence.

Here are the tools covered:

  • Tasks are things you need to complete.
  • Events are any scheduled occasions.
  • Reminders are personal nudges for tasks or events.
  • Notifications are alerts for updates or new information.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of each and how to maximize their usages:


Tasks are the individual steps that lead us to our larger goals. Effective task management is crucial for anyone looking to enhance their personal output and achieve their objectives with greater efficiency.

Tasks help organize your day-to-day activities in a manageable way.

Use these 5 approaches when considering your tasks:

  • Prioritize for impact
  • Leverage Digital Tools
  • Due Dates!
  • Check Regularly
  • Balancing Flexibility & Discipline

Here is a detailed explanation of each approach:

  1. Prioritize for Impact: Understand the importance of prioritizing tasks. Techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix (covered here) help differentiate between what’s urgent and what’s important, enabling you to focus on tasks that yield the most significant impact.
  2. Leverage Digital Tools: We can’t be expected to remember everything that comes our way. Use digital task management tools to keep your tasks organized. Features like categorization, prioritization, tagging, progress tracking, reminders, file attachment, mobile access, and time tracking are all easily doable. The right tool does all the heavy lifting for you.
  3. Due Dates!: Always assign a due date to each task. End of story. By assigning a due date to each task, regardless of its perceived urgency, you not only prevent tasks from being overlooked, but you also benefit from a clearer workload. As you handle various tasks, the due date keeps you aligned with your priorities and deadlines, making sure that everything is addressed in a timely manner. This simple yet effective practice helps you set realistic timelines and to prevent tasks from falling through the cracks.
  4. Check Regularly: Make it a habit to review your task list regularly. Check your list daily for any action items and plan a weekly review to catch any tasks that didn’t make it to your list. Use this time to reassess priorities and adjust your plan. You might just realize there are things you could do first that would speed up all of your other activities. This can quickly snowball into accomplishing a ridiculous amount of things in a short period of time, all because you did them in the proper order for the current moment.
  5. Balancing Flexibility & Discipline: Lastly, while structure is key, flexibility is equally important. Be prepared to adjust your tasks in response to new priorities or unforeseen challenges and be forgiving of any unforeseen circumstances that throw off your plans. Adjust and reprioritize as necessary.

By mastering these approaches, you’ll transform your task management into a powerful tool for personal life management.

You may have already unlocked a new superpower just by understanding and implementing these. Next we’ll cover how to best manage your events so you never miss another appointment.


Events are the scheduled milestones and appointments that structure our days and weeks. Events differ from tasks as they represent fixed time commitments, such as meetings or appointments, rather than action items.

Properly managing these events is key to effective time management and maintaining a balanced life.

Best Practices for Individual Calendar Management:

  • Convert Time-Specific Tasks to Events
  • Comprehensive Scheduling
  • Regular Calendar Reviews
  • Use Reminders & Alerts
  • Prioritize & Color-Code

Here is a detailed explanation of each approach:

  • Convert Time-Specific Tasks to Events: Whenever a task requires completion at a specific time, immediately convert it into an event on your calendar. For instance, if you need to make an important call at 2 PM, don’t just list it as a task; schedule it as an event. This practice ensures that these tasks get dedicated time slots and are not overshadowed by other activities.
  • Comprehensive Scheduling: Include everything in your calendar – not just work meetings and appointments, but also personal commitments, such as exercise, relaxation time, and family activities. This gives you a complete view of your day at a glance and helps in maintaining a balanced life by knowing exactly what time you have available at any given moment.
  • Regular Calendar Reviews: At the start and end of each day, review your calendar. This habit allows you to mentally prepare for the upcoming events and adjust any plans as needed. It’s also an excellent opportunity to move tasks to events if specific timing is required.
  • Use Reminders and Alerts: Set up reminders for your events (covered next). For critical events, a two-tier reminder system is effective: 1) one reminder a day before at the time of the event, 2) a second reminder an hour before the event. The reason this works is because our brains encode information more effectively when it’s deemed important or when it’s associated with specific cues, like time. When the reminder goes off at the exact same time as the event, you’re creating a strong contextual cue that prepares your brain for the event the following day.
  • Prioritize and Color-Code: Prioritize your events and use color-coding to differentiate between various aspects of your life. If you want to specify between work and in-person, add two different colors for the same reason to visually get a quick sense of where your time is going. For example, use dark green for in-person events and a lighter green for virtual.


Reminders are for personal, time-specific nudges to do something or be somewhere.

Reminders can be used alongside tasks or independently. For instance, you might set a reminder to send a text or an email at a particular time.

To warrant a reminder, there has to be a time specific activity. This is why you normally see reminders used for tasks and events. Eventually you have so many important things in your life that reminders help ensure you give everything the proper amount of time and attention. The flexibility to create as many reminders as you need means you can stay on top of every important activity in your life.

Unlike tasks or events, reminders are your personal nudges for any activity in your daily life. Create as many reminders as you need for important to-do items so you never miss a crucial task again.



Notifications are essential for keeping us informed, but if not managed properly, they can become a source of constant distraction and stress.

Trust me, I know. It’s easy for notifications to disappear as if they never existed when you swipe away 4000 ads every day. The key to effective notifications is to create a habit of acknowledging notifications as they come in, and immediately unsubscribing or muting any notifications that don’t help you in any way.

If a notification about an action item comes in and you can’t address it right away, convert it into a task to maintain its visibility. This approach ensures you’re always on top of your responsibilities and keeps your workflow smooth and uninterrupted.

If you want to ensure you don’t miss the important 5%, turn off the 95% that aren’t important as they come in. Eventually you’ll have only notifications you want in your life and can set up other ones that won’t be missed.

Here’s how to handle them effectively for personal productivity:

  • Selective Notification Settings
  • Scheduled Checking Times
  • Convert Notifications to Tasks
  • Use ‘Do Not Disturb’
  • Review & Clean Up Regularly

Here is a detailed explanation of each approach:

  • Selective Notification Settings: Be selective about which apps and contacts can send you notifications. Turn off notifications for apps that frequently send non-essential alerts to help reduce noise so you can focus on what truly matters.
  • Scheduled Checking Times: Instead of reactively checking notifications as they come in, set specific times to review them so you can focus on your tasks without frequent interruptions.
  • Convert Notifications to Tasks: If a notification requires action but can’t be addressed right away, convert it into a task with a set due date and give it the proper attention at the right time.
  • Use ‘Do Not Disturb’: Leverage the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature extensively. You can customize settings to allow only critical notifications to come through for maximum focus..
  • Review & Clean Up Regularly: Regularly review your notification settings and unsubscribe, disable, or mute notifications that no longer serve a purpose.

Notifications serve an important role in keeping us informed. All of these strategies keep your notification stream relevant and manageable.

By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that notifications serve their ultimate purpose: to keep you informed, not distracted.

The Formula for Insane Productivity

Whew! Congratulations on reaching this point! This one time read will be with you the rest of your life.

For making it to the end, I promised I would include a reliable formula to maximize these tools effectiveness.

This formula contains 7 points to consider that is then distilled into 4 actionable stages.

The 7 point formula for building a highly effective productivity system

  1. Set Manage
  2. Schedule
  3. Remind
  4. Notify
  5. Review
  6. Integrate
  7. Rigid Flexibility

I’m a details guy. I like a comprehensive explanation if I can get it.

If you’d prefer to skip right to the 4 implementation steps, feel free to skip the detailed explanation below.

If however you see the value in taking the time to understand something completely the first time, here is a detailed explanation of each approach:

Set Manage

  • Identify short & long-term goals. Begin by clearly defining what you want to achieve in the foreseeable future and breaking these aspirations down into actionable objectives.
  • Break these goals down into manageable tasks. Break down your objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks that can be tackled on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Prioritize tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix. Use the urgent-important matrix to determine which tasks should be addressed immediately and which can be scheduled for later. (If you’re unfamiliar with this, see here)


  • Convert high-priority tasks into scheduled events on your calendar. Schedule every possible time specific event on your calendar.
  • Include deadlines for tasks to create a visual timeline or calendar. Deadlines are arguably the most important topic in this entire guide. No matter what, a task should always have the next action planned. Whether that be a specific date that it must be done, or a specific category such as do next. Creating deadlines helps you meet all obligations and see available time at a glance.
  • Use color coding for different categories (work, personal, health, etc.). Choose a color that has a color similar to it and designate that as your default for in-person and the similar color for virtual events. If you need further color coding, create as many as you need as long as what they will be used for stays consistent.


  • Set reminders for starting and completing tasks, especially those that are time-sensitive. This helps in maintaining focus on deadlines and ensuring tasks are completed on time.
  • Use multiple reminders at regular times before an event. Use one reminder a day before at the time of the event and a second reminder an hour before the event. If needed, create as many as you need to reduce last-minute rushes.
  • Leverage recurring reminders for regular tasks and habits you’re building. Consistency is key in habit formation and task management. Create recurring reminders for daily tasks or important events as they come up.


  • Limit notifications to those that are essential for current priorities. Current priorities meaning at that specific moment for that activity. Every time your brain swaps topics, your effectiveness when returning to the previous topic is reduced. The only way to get back to that high state of productivity is to spend long enough in that activity to reach a high state of focus.
  • Use app settings to customize notifications. Every app has the ability to customize what notifications you see. There are also always pointless notifications. Customize every app’s notifications so that only critical alerts are allowed to break your focus. That’s sacred time.
  • Schedule ‘notification review’ times. Allocate specific times to review non-urgent notifications to help maintain concentration throughout the day. Certain options for Do Not Disturb mode allow you to review them after your focus period. The key is to get back to it when you can provide the proper focus.



  • Review daily, weekly, monthly. No matter what system you use, you have to check up on it and provide maintenance. If you don’t change your car’s oil, your engine will explode. If you don’t check to see if anything was overlooked on your task list, upcoming events, or progress towards goals, you will inevitably miss opportunities. This habit ensures that your priorities are addressed and allows for adjustments as needed.
  • Adjust tasks and schedules based on priority changes or unexpected events. Flexibility in planning accommodates the dynamic nature of daily life and work. No matter what, plan for plans to change. When you allow for some slack in your scheduling, you create freedom to adjust your schedule as needed and make progress on important tasks without being overwhelmed.
  • Reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. Every time you do something, you refine your ability to do that action. If you do it correctly, the correct action will be reinforced. If you do it incorrectly, improper form will be reinforced. To be sure that you’re strengthening the right action, intentionally reflect on what specific part is working or not. If you don’t intentionally make an effort to reflect on what’s working, you may never stumble on something that can work better.


  • Use a digital tool that connects everything. With these basic definitions, you can build a complete schedule. A schedule only works if it’s easy to follow. A unified platform lets you see everything related to an area of your life in a single dashboard. With Notion, you can even get it onto a single screen. The important thing is to make sure the tools you choose talk to each other. That way you can be notified of any important activities that happen, and be reminded of any upcoming events on your calendar while you’re finishing some tasks.
  • Ensure that your chosen tool syncs across devices for access anywhere, anytime. Device synchronization ensures that your productivity system is always at your fingertips, regardless of location. If you update something on your phone, it should immediately show on your computer with no delay. A massive benefit of Notion is that it’s platform universal. Apple, PC, iOS, Android all sync immediately on a single unified platform.

Rigid Flexibility:

  • Maintain discipline in following your scheduled tasks and events but remain flexible to adjust as life happens. As mentioned earlier, life requires a certain level of patience and adjustment. Understand that plans usually happen exactly as they were planned. Instead, adopt a mindset of absolute discipline toward your schedule. You set that for a specific reason. Adjust your plans only if absolutely necessary due to a priority shift
  • Be strict with your priorities and adaptable with your schedule. We make time for things we consider a priority. A balanced approach to planning acknowledges these priorities as well as the inevitability of change. By setting your schedule, you declare your priority for that time. And while priorities change regularly, they should change for a specific reason, not go away altogether.

In 4 simple steps, here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Integrate Your Digital World

Select a digital platform that integrates tasks, calendars, and reminders (e.g., Notion Google Workspace, or Asana)

Step 2: Plan Strategically

Intentionally devote time to planning your week, inputting tasks, and scheduling events as far out as possible.

Step 3: Prioritize Daily

At the same time every morning and evening, review and adjust your plan as needed to focus on current priorities, not yesterday’s (unless they’re the same).

Step 4: Reflect & Adjust

End your week with a review session to check progress, adjust plans, and set up for the next week.



In summary, mastering the use of tasks, events, reminders, and notifications is essential in today’s fast-paced digital environment.

This guide has provided insights into effectively distinguishing and utilizing these tools to enhance personal and professional productivity. By clearly differentiating tasks from events, employing strategic reminders, and managing notifications efficiently, you can optimize your daily activities and ensure that no important task or event is overlooked.

As you apply these strategies, it’s important to remain flexible and adapt your approach to fit your specific needs and circumstances. The goal is to develop a personalized system that maximizes efficiency and minimizes stress.

Remember, the key to success in this digital age is continuous learning and adaptation. Leveraging these fundamental tools to their fullest potential.

Take action!

The world is made for doers.

What good is knowing how to do something if you don’t do it?

Implement these strategies, refine your system, and build a world where productivity and efficiency are easy and fun. Good luck, and here’s to a more organized, productive, and fulfilling life!



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