Carl Pullien’s Time Sector Method of Task Management

PKM ONE
3 min readFeb 28, 2023

Recently I came across a tweet from Martine Guernsey that she will apply the Time Sector Method for Task management developed by Carl Pullien. I was immediately drawn to the idea, and finally, I felt someone had articulated what I had been unable to — that context-based task managers were not working for me and perhaps a lot of other people.

Context-based GTD apps may be outdated today.

I have been using Things 3 as my primary application for Task Management for the last three years, but every day I opened it, I hated the Today view. It was unbearable; there were 10/15 tasks in today’s view. I knew I could do 3 or 4. To avoid the brain haemorrhage, I moved these three or four tasks to my Pomodoro like app and then tried to finish them undistracted. But my primary to-do app filled me with dread.

Things 3 is the most beautiful, as minimal as it can be Task Manager, but it is based on David Allen’s GTD method, which is context-based. Carl, thinks that context-based task managers are now defunct. David Allen developed the GTD process in 2002, and as his research and subsequent learning were based on his prior twenty years of experience. This means the GTD process is about 40 years old and it is time to look at tasks management in a new light and that light is Time based contexts.

Carl says instead of dumping tasks in to project, we need to dump them by time. For eg.

  • This Week
  • Next Week
  • This Month
  • Next Month
  • 2023 Goal
  • Long Term/On-Hold

The Time Sector method is for Task Managers, not Project Managers.

I used to get frustrated with the bloated task managers so I switched to Project Management applications like Linearhttps://linear.app/, shortcut. But these Project Management apps are designed for teams, and I have been working solo since forever.

Project Management apps were no panacea for a solo man like me; I felt blinded; I couldn’t see my vision, and my roadmap didn’t make sense. I couldn’t track the progress.

Carl says any task with more than one task could be a project, and we all are in reality keeping track of the hundreds of such small and big projects. We are headed for burnout.

Projects live in your Notes App.

Carl uses Evernote, but I am looking for other apps where I can set up my projects. Evernote is too dated for me. But I agree with his view that Project needs to live in the notes app. The notes app narrates why, how and when it happened. As task managers, we don’t have the privilege of foresight or hindsight. Tasks in your notes app can be linked to your task manager by internal links using something like the hookmarks app if your todo applications support URI.

Final word

  1. We need a new task manager; maybe a developer can collaborate with Carl.
  2. I plan to get the course soon, but if you want, get it here for 49 USD.

--

--