I recently tried Sorted, a "hyper-scheduler", which is just a fancy task manager that will automatically schedule my tasks around the events for the current day, giving me a clear picture of what, based on my own estimates, I will be able to do.

As great as this sounds, software development is notorious for being hard to estimate, which means that it didn't make much sense to schedule my whole day in this way.

I was interested in an app like this, because it seemed to be a digital cousin of the time blocking practice that Cal Newport employs to get more focused work done, which I also tried for a while but lead to a similar result: I am lucky enough to actually do important work. What I'm struggling with is too much scaffolding.

Now, I also know about the willpower/structure problem: Relying on willpower to do something is bound to fail in the long run, whereas putting structures in place that foster me to do the right thing, if I want it or not, is the sustainable choice.

But: Even structures like task managers can be or become a source of ego depletion, which is exactly the opposite of what they are supposed to be.

And so I strive for a kind of intuitive and mostly maintenance-free productivity setup: Give me a structured writing surface like Agenda (Agenda is a very nice garbage bin for notes that don't really matter), remind me to do things when it is absolutely necessary by using Due. Otherwise either rely on the project management tools at work (tickets and kanban board) or use Reminders to make sure that things that need to be done but are not work in progress and/or are not work related won't be forgotten.