The fact that we use four distinct tools suggests that note-taking, email, task management, and time management are four distinct activities. But when you look closer, you’ll realize that these activities are actually not that clear-cut. In fact, they all heavily overlap. Notes are just emails to your future self. Emails are just tasks. And tasks are just calendar events.

We tend to think of calendars as 2D grids with mutually exclusive blocks of time, but as this example shows, not all events automatically cancel each other out. Depending on their characteristics, they can be layered on top of each other. This means we manage time in three, not two, dimensions.

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