I use Todoist to manage my to-do lists. I was surprised to receive a “2021 year in review” email from the service the other day, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on it. I’m not what I’d call a productivity whiz, or even a particularly productive person. But the data provide some interesting insights.
First, I apparently completed 2900 tasks in 2021. That’s an interestingly-round number. The completed the most tasks in November, which was a little surprising. I don’t feel like November was a particularly busy month for me. However, I’m not surprised that May had my lowest number. I was pretty burnt out, had just handed off a major project at work, and took over e-learning for my kids. May was unpleasant.
Looking at the days of the week, Thursday had the most completed tasks. Saturday had the fewest (yay! I’m doing an okayish job of weekending.)
Zooming in to the time of day, the 10 AM–12 PM window was my most productive. That makes sense, since it’s after I’ve had a chance to sort through email and have my early meetings. I definitely tend to feel most productive during that time. Perhaps I should start blocking that out for focus work. Similarly, I was most likely to postpone tasks at 3pm. This is generally the time that I either recognize that I’m not going to get something done that day or that I decide I just don’t want to do that thing.
Making sense of it all
Todoist says I’m in the top 2% of users in 2021. Perhaps that argues against my “I’m not particularly productive” assertion. It’s more likely that I just outsource my task management more than the average person. I put a lot of trivial tasks in so that I can get that sweet dopamine hit, but also that I just don’t have to think about them.
I don’t remember if Todoist did a year in review last year, but if they did I spent no time thinking about it. But based on what I’ve learned about the past year, I’m going to guard my late-morning time a little more jealously. I’ll try to save the trivial tasks for the last hour of the work day. This may prove challenging for me. It’s basically a more boring version of the marshmallow test.