Meta-Tasks, When, and Things

Over the past two years the way I use the "When" system for To-dos in Things has shifted. I have realized that When is a tool of intention, rather then "snooze" or "deferral"1.

Before, I would assign a When date to to-dos based on the next time I wanted to look at them. I now only use When to denote "when" I am going to start a task.

The ability to "defer" looking at a task is however very useful… I'm sure I'm not the only one doing a lot of deferring in these strange times. There is a way to stay true to When's original purpose and still defer: Instead of assigning a When date merely to "hide until a certain day" you should instead create a meta-task to "check on <item>." If you use's Copy Link functionality, you can even hop straight from the "deferral to-do" to the list or to-do in question.


These sorts of "meta-to-dos," (tasks for working on your tasks) are super handy… I first started using them in my bullet journal practice.

  1. I think my heavy use of Google Inbox's Snooze feature caused me to treat "when" as a snooze. Peter Akkies helped me understand this a bit better

  • 2022-06-08 11:31:29 -0500
    Rename articles

  • 2021-11-23 18:57:20 -0600
    Credit Akkies

  • 2021-01-11 09:39:09 -0600
    new post: meta-tasks and when in things