Time Blocking in Fantastical

Tasks can now have an arbitrary length on the Fantastical Day or Week view.

Y'all know I'm a fan of giving my Tasks a home in Daily Plan (usually my calendar) in a practice sometimes called Time Blocking, Hyperscheduling, or a Focus Budget.

There are not many tools cleanly connecting The List of things we wish to do and The Time in which we have to do them. Fantastical by Flexibits has released a couple neat tricks to help the aspiring time steward:

All these techniques disconnect the Task object from its echoed representation on the Daily Plan. If you move or complete the echo on the Daily Plan it doesn't affect your Task List. Fantastical has supported displaying Tasks on the calendar for some time but with a default duration. If you want to have a different duration you have to create an echoed Event Block or duplicate the task… and at the end of the day you still have to "reconcile" your Tasks with your Plan.

Until now!

Last night I was casually reading App Store update notes and this jumped off the page:

Adding [90m] to the end of a task's title will make the task appear 90 minutes long in Day and Week view (you can use any number to set the task duration)

Oh my. 😮‍💨

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I've been playing with it a little… it seems to work with any of the Task systems with which Fantastical syncs and only responds to the [<number>m] form. [1h] doesn't work, but [60m] does. Any automation or method you use needs to think in minutes, but that's a small gripe for what this gives you. Place the token in the "title" portion of your natural-language entry so that it is placed at the end of the resulting object's title, something like Write the blog [35m] at 2p tomorrow /Todos. If you put the [35m] at the end of your NLP query, it'll disappear.

I had been seriously considering dating other Task Managers and moving off Things… and this pushes me much closer to the edge. If I switch from Things to Reminders or Todoist I can give my Tasks a home on my Daily Plan. I can work from either my Daily Plan, checking things off and adjusting or from my Task List interchangeably without worrying about either getting out of sync.

Pardon me while I try to avoid spending the entire day writing a nested-loop shortcut to move my Things database into Reminders. 😬

  • 2023-05-16 17:23:35 -0500
    Update post with information from Flexibits

    I ought to have messaged them directly before blasting, I was just


  • 2023-05-16 07:43:13 -0500
    First draft