Tasks -V- Events: Why there’s an important distinction.

Carl Pullein
5 min readOct 11, 2023

Whenever I post a YouTube video about using a calendar, some viewers will inevitably comment, saying, “I wish I could connect my tasks to my calendar”.

I can promise you that you do not want to be able to do that. And the reason why so few companies build apps that allow you to do this is because they are protecting you from yourself.

There is a very clear distinction between a task and an event. An event needs to be done at a specific time on a given day — for example, an appointment with your doctor, a colleague/boss or a client.

A task, on the other hand, can be done at any time. You may want to do a specific task on a particular day, but when on that day you do it doesn’t matter. For example, booking your car for a service could be done at 9:30 am or 3:15 pm. The only thing that matters is booking your car for a service that day.

In the pre-digital age, we used to carry around large A5 or A4 desk diaries that showed the week over two pages. Two-thirds of the page was dedicated to your calendar, and at the bottom, there was space to add six tasks for the day.

Side note:

The reason there was space for six tasks was down to a gentleman called Ivy Lee. Ivy Lee developed possibly the most effective task management system ever created. That system is called The Ivy Lee Method, and I urge you to look it up.

This structure was not created by accident; it developed over hundreds of years and worked brilliantly.

The key was to keep your appointments and tasks separate unless a task needed to be done at a given time, in which case it was added as an event in the calendar part of the diary.

Followers of David Allen’s Getting Things Done will know that date-specific tasks should be put on your calendar and everything else kept on a list to be done as and when you can do it.

Maintaining this separation between tasks that can be done at any time and events that need to be done at a specific time means you avoid being overwhelmed. Your…

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Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of. www.carlpullein.com