Are you crazy if you use both?
One of the biggest pitfalls of task management is analysis paralysis. You have all the tasks on your to-do list, but you don’t know which one to work on first. They all need to be done, but some are more important than others.
In Apple Reminders, that’s where flags and priority levels come into play. However, they kind of mean the same thing, so which one should you use?
What Are Flags?
Flags are a way to mark tasks as important. There is only one type of flag, so a task is either flagged or it is not. When flagged, tasks appear in the “Flagged” Smart List.
Flagged tasks are a nice, visual way to see your most important tasks at a glance. They can help you find the most urgent tasks, so you can get start working on them right away.
When adding a new task, tap or click the flag icon on the toolbar to add it to your task. For existing tasks, tap, or click, on a task to reveal the “i” button. Click that to see an option to add a flag to a task.
Flagged tasks can also be used in custom Smart Lists. For instance, you could create a Smart List that shows all your flagged tasks that also have the #email tag.
What Are Priority Levels?
Flags are either on or off. Priority levels are more granular. When you choose a priority level, you can pick from low, medium, and high.
Priority levels are displayed on a task with a number of exclamation marks before the title of your task. Low-priority tasks have one exclamation mark. Medium-priority tasks have two exclamation marks, and high-priority tasks have three.
To add a priority level to a task, tap or click the “i” button on a task, and then choose “Priority” to pick the level you need.
There is no built-in Smart List to show priority levels, but you can create your own custom list. You can build a list to show tasks with low, medium, or high priorities. You can also show tasks with any priority level, or do the opposite and show tasks that have no priority levels.
Flags vs. Priorities
So, which one is best? It depends on your needs. If you just want a quick way to show what is important and what is not, then flags are a good way to go. They are quick to add and are more visual than priority levels.
However, if you want more flexibility, priority levels are more likely to fit your system. They allow you to grade the level of importance. They also give you more options when you are creating and using Smart Lists.
Can You Use Both?
You absolutely can. There is nothing in Apple Reminders that will prevent you from adding a flag AND a priority level. You would just have to come up with your own reasons for doing so.
For instance, you could use flags as a step towards priority levels. Tasks that are important to you get flagged when you add them. Then, when you come back to review your tasks, you can think about how critical that task is, relative to the other things you have on your list. When you come to that decision, you can remove the flag and assign a priority level instead.
You could also use flags as a fourth priority level. If you have a Smart list with five or six high-priority tasks, you could add a flag to the three that you want to work on today. Adding a flag will move them to your “Flagged” Smart List where you can see exactly what needs to be done without any distractions.
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