Noisy Deadlines


Inspired by these thoughts, I’ve been testing a Todoist setup in which the main principle is not linking next actions to projects. I’ve used Todoist before using a lot of filters, having lots of projects, priority flags, etc. It became too complicated to manage for me.

You see, linking next actions to projects is not required to have a good system. The basic components of the GTD list organization are:

  • Inbox
  • Next Action List
  • Projects List
  • Waiting-for List
  • Someday Maybe List
  • Calendar

They can be simple lists which makes the system easy enough to implement on paper. Thinking about these building blocks, I wanted to try a simpler setup in Todoist. At least, simpler than what I have tried before. I’m an accomplished overcomplicator 😎.

This is what I came up with.


I have my typical GTD Dashboard list with links to other parts of my system, like Areas of Focus, Goals and Objectives, Dashboard, Purpose and Principles, etc.

I left a Read/Review list mostly for articles I want to read online. It could be a context (using a label) but I just wanted to test it out as separate list.

I have 2 major action-oriented lists: WORK and PERSONAL. I like to have these two major areas separate, as always. And inside each of these areas I have the same set of folders:

  • Agendas: this one could be a context, but I put it as a separate list to be more visible and easily accessible.
  • Recurring: for all routines, repeating actions.
  • Projects List: using one task per project, separated in a Kanban board style for status.
  • Next Actions: all actions go here, labeled with a context.
  • On Hold: actions that are blocked for the moment.
  • Waiting/Follow-Up: delegated actions, things I’m waiting on.
  • Someday: all someday/maybe items.


I’m using labels to indicate contexts.


I’m trying to use the minimal number of filters, so I have filters for Work and Personal Next Actions and some Focus this Week filters.

The “Focus – This Week” filters only show actions that are overdue, due today and with priority flag P1.

The “All Next Actions” filters show all next actions, grouped by label using the “View/Sort By” option in Todoist :

My Thoughts

I’ve been using this setup for about a week now. I’m taking full advantage of Todoist’s quick add keyboard shortcut. It’s very pleasant to use and easy to capture and process things. The inbox is great!

Some of the features I thought I was needing the most like file attachments and reminders don’t seem that important now, I don’t think I’ve used them that much.

I love the option to have a Kanban style view for the projects list:

There are a few things that still bothers me:

  • I can’t manually rearrange the order in which the tasks show in the next actions list. The only way is to use priority flags and set it to sort by priority. It’s just because in Nirvana I was used to manually reordering my actions, especially in the Focus lists.
  • Not linking next actions to projects: It gives a degree of freedom and simplicity, I understand that. Right now, I don’t have too many projects going on at once. But I envision that particularly at work, when things pick up rhythm again, I’m not sure I will like it. I’ve seen it happen before: busy season with lots of projects: I run to Nirvana to help me manage the chaos. So that’s probably a lesson learned. I understand the advantages of not linking actions to projects, but I really prefer them linked. It kinda feels unstructured to me if they are not. It’s all about preference.
  • No start dates: all dates in Todoist are due dates. I could use some “due dates” to indicate a future date when I want to look at certain item, but it will create confusion in my brain. Again, I’m used to Nirvana’s “Scheduled” actions feature.
  • Because Todoist is so focused on scheduling tasks and due dates everywhere, I feel like it blurs the edges between Calendar and Next Actions. I know I could just ignore this feature, but it’s so tempting to add due dates for everything!

Anyway, I will test it for a couple more days and see how I feel about it.

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 🌞 I’m enjoying Summer this year! Having lived most of my life in Brazil, summer was my least favorite season because summers there are brutal! I think this here in my corner of Canada summer has been manageable. Of course, having a house with central AC helps a lot. We don’t try to get our house too cold; we keep it at 23-24C just so that we have AC running a few times to get rid of humidity and keep the house at a comfortable temperature. We use AC in conjunction with ceiling fans and it works well to keep our house cool and lower energy consumption.
  • 🧩 Our Ancient Map puzzle is framed! We couldn’t find the right frame size at IKEA, so we got a frame at Michaels, and it was the perfect size. Now I know that Michaels has a huge variety of frames. The framed puzzle is at my reading corner. I loved it!
  • 🛌 Me and my partner had a few errands to do this week. One of them included searching for a new mattress for our bed. We are still searching. We went to one store, and we want to go to at least one more to compare.
  • 👟 My left toe blister disappeared this week. I went for walks during the week and on Sunday I ventured going out for a run and it was okay. I ran 7km with a slower pace of 7.26min/km (partly because I didn’t want to exert myself and because it was so hot! 🥵). I ran with my old pair of shoes. I didn’t have time to go to the specialized running store to get a new pair of running shoes yet. It’s next on my list!
  • 🛋️ We finally got a ceiling fan for our living room to replace an old badly installed ceiling lamp assembly that was left by the previous house owner. Looking better now! This was the last room we wanted to install a ceiling fan in the house.
  • ✅ I got frustrated (and bored) with Nirvana as my to-do app. I had some ideas on how to make my tasks system simpler and easier to use with less limitations. So, yeah, I looked at Todoist again and I got a new setup I’m testing. I’ll write a post describing it later this week.

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I’ve encountered the minimalism movement back in 2013 and since then I’ve been rethinking my lifestyle, my possessions, my habits, the tools I use, etc. I’ve come a long way. I started a huge life declutter in the year before moving to Canada (2016) and that completely changed my relationship with stuff and my life.

Today I have a clearer idea of what I want to bring into my life, be it objects or responsibilities. I’m happy and content with what I have. My home has just the right number of things, I plan and rethink my purchases to make sure they are truly needed. I carefully consider new projects and responsibilities, and I’ve learned to say “no” more often. Saying no to new purchases, saying no to people, saying no to social invites. Minimalism has been a great tool for me.

So why I’m talking about minimalism?

I’m thinking about minimalism in my productivity tools/system. I tend to overcomplicate things, and right now I feel like I’m trapped in my own GTD system. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, but I could never pinpoint the issue.

These are my thoughts right now:

  • I want it to be stupid simple and easy to add any type of item to my Inbox, both on mobile and on desktop. I want zero friction.
  • I want to be able to easily capture digital items into my Inbox in its entirety. More apps integrations (I’m mostly thinking about mobile and web browser here).
  • I wish my to-do app could handle more information, so that I wouldn’t need to manually add a link to an external drive, for example. I have lots of external stuff I use with my tasks.
  • I wish I had more flexibility in creating folders and buckets. I never bothered about that too much in the past, but now I want some degree of freedom.
  • I wish I could have more notes options for my projects/tasks, so that I didn’t need a separate file to track these notes (and consequently having to manually add links).
  • I want to be reminded of things and I want them to be synchronised both in mobile and desktop.
  • I want to be able to send a Rocketbook scan image to my to-do Inbox.
  • I want the option to organize Projects in Kanban style.

Considering all those points above, it was clear to me that the app Todoist is a suitable candidate, because:

  • It has excellent Inbox features, capture is easy and accessible in any device, including the universal keyboard shortcut in the desktop. I love it!
  • Has email to Inbox option.
  • Has space for notes in markdown, with the possibility to attach files and images.
  • Has excellent reminders and recurring tasks options.
  • Has integration with the Rocketbook (which I’m using a lot!)
  • It is visually pleasing and easy to use.

Simplifying my Todoist setup

So, I’ve tried Todoist before and it didn’t work out that well. But now I realize why it didn't went well: I was overcomplicating the setup.

I’m going back to basics, thinking about the building blocks of GTD and I’ve changed my mind about one crucial thing: I will stop linking next actions to projects. That alone is a huge simplification! And that was creating most of my issues with Todoist: I never liked the way that projects are nested and shown. Also, having too many filters creates a lot of complexity! But what if I simplify this whole thing? That’s what I’m on this week.

I’m letting go of over-organization in favor of ease of use. Sometimes simplicity comes from how stupid easy it is to use something and still being enjoyable.


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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 🎳 I went bowling! It was a team building event at work and it was fun. It was the Five-pin bowling which seems to be a Canadian thing only. The ball is smaller and there are no fingerholes in it. Now I know!
  • 🚶‍♂️ I didn't run much because of a nasty blister on my left foot. But I did do some walking! One of those times we went by the river near the Sailing Club for a light walk on a sunny day.
  • 📺 I finished watching the Documentary “The Ascent of Woman”. Although it's from 2015 it is still totally relevant today. It covers different eras and cultures, showcasing some women who defied the status quo of their time. Looking at the whole timescale, it's sad to notice that for most of our history women were excluded and oppressed. I like the idea that the status of women is a barometer of a society’s tolerance, fairness, and openness.
  • 🧩Me and my partner were browsing a board/card games store, and we found a Dungeons and Dragons 1,000-piece puzzle with Tiamat (the 5-headed dragon) and we also got a Munchkin Deluxe set. We used to have the base set when we lived in Brazil, and it disappeared when we moved to Canada 7 years ago. So, we played Munchkin together this weekend! It's such a well-designed game and it is so much fun!

📌Interesting Online Reads


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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I got a nasty blister on the underside of my left pinky toe. I don't know exactly how it developed but I think it was during my long walk/run downtown last week. I was wearing a thicker pair of socks (that I don’t usually wear for running) and I’m assuming those socks, and the heat/sweat got something to do with it. The blister was painful for a couple of days, and I couldn’t walk normally on my left side. It’s amazing how a pinky toe problem can disrupt our whole walking ability!

Anyway, I decided I needed to replace my running shoes because they were beaten up anyway. I went to the store to get a new one, and I wrongly thought that half a size smaller would be best. The size of my previous shoes felt too big at the store.

But then I went for a run with my new shoes and… yes, big mistake, they are too small for running. I had to stop midway because other parts of my feet started to hurt (toes rubbing against the front end of the shoes), and my recovering blister was not enjoying it. I was also too enthusiastic to go running again and I didn’t give enough time for the blister to heal 😕.

So, I took some rest from running and went for some light walks with my new running shoes. I don’t know why I thought the smaller size would be better. All my 2 previous running shoes were half a size bigger. I totally forgot the rule of leaving some space between my toes and the front of the shoe, because our feet expand while running. I can’t return the new ones now, so I will just use them for walks/day to day errands.

I’ve never had this type of blister problem with my running shoes, and I always stick with the same brand because they’ve been working for me for years. But now I’m thinking I will go to a more specialized store and get some advice on which type of running shoes to get. By looking at the wear on my old shoes, my pronation type should be “underpronation” (there is always a wear pattern on the outer soles of my shoes). I’ll go talk to someone to help me decide which shoes to get next.

Left: new running shoes – Right: my old beaten-up pair

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 💤 With Summer here the days are super long, and that always affects my sleep patterns. I had some days that I was feeling the effects of sleep deprivation, because I had a tough time sleeping by 9:30pm (which is my usual bedtime). There is sunlight up until 9pm or more! I made a stronger effort to get ready for bed starting at 9pm: closing the blackouts (even though it feels like the day never ends) and ignoring the sunshine outside.
  • 🎬 I watched 2 movies:
    • Renfield (2023): I went in with low expectations, and I ended up enjoying it! It's funny, with absurd action scenes. It was entertaining, even though the themes are dark: a Dracula's servant suffering from an abusive relationship.
    • Oppenheimer (2023): It's beautifully shot, and I liked how the nonlinear timelines were presented and then merged. We can see it was a well-researched production with impeccable art. Gorgeous, dramatic, and emotional.
  • 👟 Me and my partner went on an adventure for a run/walk downtown this long weekend. We parked by the river rapides and ran around 5Km to get downtown. Then we walked, saw the preparations for the Canada Day under way, crossed the Alexandra bridge to the Quebec side, walked some more and crossed back near the Canadian War Museum and ran back to the car. It was a total of 10Km! I was exhausted (and hungry) at the end. It was a lovely, perfect day! I felt totally energized after this adventure.
  • 🧩We finished the Ancient Map Puzzle!! 👏🤗 I want to frame it now!
  • 📚 I read a ton of romance this month and I had so much fun! I’m discovering these authors who write lighthearted and funny stories with strong main characters. I consider them a type of fantasy reading, giving me the similar fascination with imaginary worlds but with much more emotions involved.

Happy Canada Day!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. The Rogue of Fifth Avenue (Uptown Girls #1) by Joanna Shupe, 400p: I liked this historical late 19th century romance set in New York. The characters were great: a lawyer with a wealthy client base and an heiress ahead of her time who wants to change the status quo and help people. There is also a side plot police procedural and trial. And feminist women gambling and playing pool. It was the first book I read from this author. I couldn't put it down, and now I want to continue this series.

  2. Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare, 384p: I devoured this book in 2 days. I love that the premise is unrealistic: a duke and a tavern waitress. And that's what makes this story work for me. It has a kind of fairy-tale-happily-ever-after vibe, but both characters know how impossible their relationship is, and they struggle together through it. The heroine, Pauline is smart, independent, and funny. The hero, Griffin, is an adorable rake with secrets. I love that a library and books are involved. Their banter was hilarious, and I thought the pacing of the book was excellent.

  3. Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness (Scott Pilgrim #3) by Bryan Lee O'Malley, 192p: We hear some backstory about Envy Adams, the pop star. And we learn about vegan superpowers! I learned about Honest Ed's store in Toronto (which I had to research) and it was this iconic wholesale dollar store before those became popular. Hilarious fight scene inside Honest Ed's. I thought the pacing of this was one was not the best, but still super fun and cute.

  4. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (Scott Pilgrim #4) by Bryan Lee O'Malley, 195p: This one was so nice because we see Scott and Ramona's relationship grow and mature a little bit. We (I mean, Scott) finally find out Ramona's age. Scott gets a job. The band start recording an album. More evil exes show up. Still cute and fun.

  5. The Prince of Broadway (Uptown Girls #2) by Joanna Shupe, 384p: A very rebellious female main character who wants to open a casino for ladies? Yes, I liked this rebellious idea in early 19th America. It is a beautifully written romance, I enjoyed Clay's (the male character) blunt sincerity and Florence's strong will and that she was not interested in marriage or children. She was focused on learning how to manage a casino and be successful. For a moment I thought there would not be a happy ending, but all ends well. I want to read the next one in the series.

  6. System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries #7) by Martha Wells, 256p: This one was very action packed, and I had some trouble understanding the timeline in the beginning. It starts right into an action scene, and it keeps going with more action that I thought was confusing. It gets better and more interesting halfway through. I love the Murderbot character and that's what kept me going. It's my least favorite of the series, though.


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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 🐢 I took it terribly slow this week. I focused on reading and resting. I didn’t play any video games and I didn’t watch anything. I worked a bit on our ancient map puzzle.
  • ☀️ Summer is here! We had a heat wave and humidex reached 40 °C for most of last week. Then it rained almost the whole weekend, with heavy thunderstorms on and off. I’ve never seen such a humid “tropical” weather like this around here.
  • 👟 We went running once, on a day that was not raining but it was 34 °C 🥵. We did 6Km, at a slower pace of 7:15 min/km. It was too hot!
  • 📝 My partner wants to get more organized, and he asked me to help him setting up his GTD (Getting Things Done) system. Finally! I was so happy! I gave him the books, we watched some introductory videos together, we read the first chapters of the GTD Workbook, we did a mind sweep together. He’s a notebook guy, so he’s implementing it on paper. So cool ! 🤗
  • 🤯 Explaining GTD made me rethink a little bit about my system. It’s still in progress, but I want to simplify a few things. Food for thought.
  • 🌳 We visited a friend in Quebec on Sunday. He lives by a lake, and I spent some time reading my book with a nice view and sounds of water, birds, and ducks.
  • 📖 Books: I’m all in romance mode right now, I finished the second one of the “Uptown Girls” series, and I jumped to another one by Tessa Dare. I will continue reading “System Collapse” soon.

An afternoon by a lake somewhere in Québec


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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • ✨ I went to Scintillation this weekend! I took the train to Montreal (which I love) and spent 3 days immersed in conversations about books, stories, plots, writing. I had a great time! I added some books to my TBR list, such as: “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman, “The Lifecycle of Software Objects” by Ted Chiang and “Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language” by Gretchen McCulloch (who was there at the convention and moderated some funny panels, she is awesome!). There was also an interesting panel about Dante Alighieri and his masterpiece the “Divine Comedy” as seen as a speculative fiction work. And so much more!
  • 🏛 Also in Montreal I spent some time at the Grande Bibliothèque, browsing books and comics, reading in a comfy chair and just being amazed at the size of that library. I love that place!
  • 📖 I started reading “System Collapse” on the train, the latest book from the Murderbot series by Martha Wells. I remember really enjoying the previous ones, but this one didn't seem to catch my attention that much. I stopped halfway through to give it some time. Most scenes are action scenes, and it was exhausting to read. I'll see if I'll get back to it.
  • 🎭 And when I stopped reading “System Collapse” I knew I wanted something light and interesting, so I started the second book of the Uptown Girls series “The Prince of Broadway” by Joanna Shupe. I read 20% in only one sitting. It flew by! That is a clear indication that my reading mood right now is: light and fluffy! 🩷
  • 📺 I started watching the docuseries “The Ascent of Woman” by Dr Amanda Foreman on Curiosity Stream. I didn’t know that the first written record of mandatory use of the veil by women was in the Code of the Assyrians circa 1450 BCE. The first episode covers ancient civilizations, and I also wasn’t aware of how ancient Greece women lacked all rights of citizenship. It was not cool to be a woman back then.

📌 Cool Online Reads:

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I’m going to Montreal today for a small literary conference called “Scintillation”. I took a Lyft to go the train station and the Lyft driver was super friendly, we started chatting, and I mentioned I liked sci-fi and fantasy. I talked about my favorite books of all time, classics like “Lord of the Rings” and “Foundation”, and then he mentioned the Apple WWDC 2024. As I haven’t watched it, he said it was amazing, and that everything will change in 10 years. Our phones will be unrecognizable in 10 years because of Artificial Intelligence. We will all live in a different world.

I made some comments about how scary that future looks, with constant surveillance and being always online. But he was super excited about it, he was not scared at all. I then made a comment about Microsoft’s Copilot, which will be included in all their applications, and that my workplace is testing it out. And then I asked him if he remembered Microsoft’s failed office assistant called “Clippy”, and he didn’t have a clue!

He didn’t know that Word and Excel existed (I was shocked😱) and then I realized how old I am! I mean, “Clippy” was discontinued in the early 2000’s but this guy started using computers in 2009 or so. Oh, I felt like a dinosaur! 🦕

He also didn't know that “Dune” was a series of books written in the 60’s by Frank Herbert. He loved the new movies, which I agree. I still want to watch the last one, though.

Anyway, it was a fun conversation, continuing my trip now.

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.