Attention management

Inspired by an episode of Back to Work, this is a document of how I differentiate alarms from alerts from appointments and so on.

(Thinking of these as nouns…)

Tool Purpose
Alarm Do this now
Event, Appointment Calendar items that will die…
Alert Coming up soon
Reminder Repeating life stuff, schedule… omnifocus… tasks, stuff I never want to have to think about… routine
Task near term dashboard… Responsibilities, project work, time-bound professional accountabilities
Note Reference, don’t need to do anything now…something I wanna be able to retrieve later.
Memo? Note to self… short term reference?
Notification Something, reference… temporal, someone else did

Other thoughts…

It might be useful to further define the spectrum on which these things fall. Some of the logical ones include life/work and now/later… meaning and timeframe… is the thing core to who you are, or an obligation? Permanent or temporary? Ephemeral or eternal?

The exercise of thinking about those extremes, the two (or more) facets of any given characteristic, it prompts me to look up the meaning of those words. I prefer dictionary.com or powerthesaurus.org for finding definitions and synonyms and antonyms and hyponyms, ultimately arriving at a word that feels right to me.

I look for patterns too. Similar word structures and sounds, little details that emphasize the inherent playfulness of language. If nothing else it brings me joy to know I’ve found two words with an intrinsic relationship.

Ephemeral/perpetual, enduring/fleeting.

The work/life one is more difficult.