Time is precious, and you need to make sure that you make the most out of it every day. When it comes to time management, this is where Sorted comes into play. Sorted is a hyper-scheduling app that will help you become more organized. It makes sure that your tasks, calendar, and events are all in one timeline. On today’s show, Rodney Flowers chats with the co-founder and CEO of Sorted, Leo Tumwattana. By following your schedule, you can remove decision fatigue and enjoy your day. Learn how in this episode.
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Achieving Peak Performance Through Organization And Better Time Management With Leo Tumwattana
I’m excited about this episode. We’re going to talk about how to get you more, better, or however you want to call it, organized in your day so that you can be more successful. I have someone here who’s an expert at helping you get organized and you want to stick around because we’re going to show you how you can use a system that is going to allow you to be more organized. Before we get into that, I want you to meet Leo Tumwattana. He is one of the Founders of Sorted, which is an application we’re going to talk about that’s going to help you be more organized.
He also studied computer engineering. He turned around a retail clothing company and took it public. He has worked at Louis Vuitton as an executive for Asia Pacific. He has taught coding at General Assembly. He studied various startups and now he’s working at Sorted as a Cofounder and I have him here with me to talk about how you can become more organized, why it’s important, and then we’re going to provide some tools for you to get more organized. Without further ado, let’s welcome Leo to the show. Welcome, Leo.
Thank you for having me, Rodney, and for the great introduction.
It’s well deserved and thank you for being here. I’m excited to interview you because I’ve had an opportunity to use a tool that you have helped bring to market and it’s fascinating and awesome. The readers need to know about it and understand how they can use it, how they can get a hold of it. I want to talk about just being organized in general, why you created Sorted, and if you can let the audience know why you feel that this program is important?
It’s super important to me because I would describe myself as a pretty disorganized person. I struggled with task management. I’ve read all the books, Getting Things Done, and all that stuff and tried all the different techniques and tools that were out there and I couldn’t find anything that worked for me. I took a journey and decided to create a tool for myself. Sorted started off as a tool that I wrote for myself. I started using it and then up to a point, my cofounder, Harry, whom I met at General Assembly teaching together, saw me using this tool and said, “Can I try it? I’m looking for a tool as well.” He started trying it and six months later, he came back to me and said, “This is the first time I’ve actually stuck with one task management tool and be able to stay organized for this long period of time and not feel like switching to another tool. There’s something here. Should we put it up on the App Store and see what happens?”
That’s when we said, “Let’s polish it up and see how it goes.” We put it up on the App Store, and remember, this is the version that I created for myself, so it’s not user-friendly. It’s all gesture-based. The feedback that we got was that we had a lot of users saying, “This is really difficult to learn.” We also had a lot of users who are saying, “It’s so worth learning how to use this app because it adds so much flexibility to the schedule and allows me to focus on just my day without looking at various apps and stuff.” We further developed it and eventually came to a point where we redesigned the whole app, which is version three, for public consumption, where it’s easier for people to learn. That’s when it took off. Now we have over 1.7 million downloads.
Has that been since you started?
A lot less, like three years.
What do you think is the driving force to your success around Sorted?
So far, it’s been customer word of mouth. We haven’t done much marketing or outreach before. We purely relied on word of mouth to get the word out there. It’s also because we’re trying to approach the problem a little differently than all the other to-do list apps and calendar apps. The main thing about Sorted is that we want you to unify and schedule everything, your tasks and your calendar events into one unified timeline. Instead of just allowing you to add a lot of tasks into the manager and create these long lists that you don’t even want to look at after a certain period of time, we focus on helping you triage your tasks and schedule them with minimal effort.
Usually, my day goes like this, right before I sleep, I spend 2 to 3 minutes using Sorted to schedule the day after. I go to sleep knowing that I have everything scheduled in there and I know what I want to do when I wake up or to get the ball rolling right away. Lastly, we spent a lot of time creating special tools like our magic select and our time ruler to allow you to shift your schedule around. Seriously, whose schedule goes according to plan 100% of the time? Something always comes up. You need that flexibility to adjust to your day. That’s basically Sorted in a nutshell.
Why have a program where you have tasks and events all in one place? Don’t you feel that’s a little overwhelming and it can be a little confusing to keep up with all of that?
To me, it makes more sense because whether you’re working on tasks, or you’re going to a meeting or going to a concert, it all takes time and focus from you. When you have a schedule laid out, you prevent a lot of these common stresses that come about for a lot of people. For example, if you have a long to-do list, you don’t know how much time it will take to go through that and you’ll probably try to over-schedule yourself. You’ll try to get an overwhelming number of tasks done today, whereas it’s unrealistic, but when you schedule it, you estimate the time that it takes like, “I can only do 3 out of these 5 things,” then I know that those other two things, I could schedule to another day.
I’ll probably choose to do the first three things that are more important to me now and push off the things that are less important to another day. That’s only when you schedule everything into your calendar do you actually know and see how much actual time you have to work on the stuff you want to work on. Time becomes more precious to you. You have a more acute sense of where you should be spending your time and what you should be working on.
As a user of Sorted, that was one of the things I found most powerful. The question was a rhetorical question because I wanted to get an answer from someone who’s the founder of Sorted. What I found was I have the power to incorporate all of those things inside one program versus write it down all on a list and it’s on that list, but you got to write it down on another list. With Sorted, I have the flexibility and the power.No one's schedule goes according to plan 100% of the time. Click To Tweet
When you say slide those things to the next day, literally, you can do that in Sorted. You just touch and slide it down and it reverts to another day or another time in the calendar. The input is once and once only and you get to move it by sliding your finger. You’re restructuring your day so easily with the touch of a finger, which was very liberating and powerful for me being someone who has a lot of events and a lot of tasks that I complete in a day’s time. This was the key for me. Things change throughout the day.
I’m like you. I plan my day out the night before and then I get up and I execute, and then life happens. Things are moving and changing. People are making adjustments. I have to make adjustments due to things. How do you keep up with all of that? Being able to go into a program and push things off to the side slide things in and move things around so easily allowed me to maintain the structure that I need to be productive. It gave me the flexibility to make changes all at the same time without losing a sense of control and productivity. Just having that sense of control of my day and control of my calendar, I thought that was really cool.
I find that even a lot of our users say the same thing. It helps you maintain this momentum throughout your day. Even when things don’t go according to plan, your meeting goes longer by 30 minutes, being able to tap auto-schedule, and re-layout your schedule, and update it to reflect reality, and then you can choose and say, “Actually, I don’t have enough time anymore to do what I wanted to do. I could give up this one thing. I could give up going buy milk,” or something, and move it off to let’s say tomorrow, and still be able to get my other key major tasks in. That’s very liberating and powerful.
It’s reassuring because then, you know exactly how much time you have left and what you should be accomplishing next without bothering about looking at various apps. “I have to look at my calendar now.” “I have to look at my to-do list now and decide.” You don’t want that decision fatigue during your day. During your day, it’s supposed to be more about you taking action on the things that you’ve planned out. Anything to alleviate that and help you reduce that decision fatigue is great.
What you’re describing is what I feel is the differentiator between Sorted and other schedulers that are on the market. You can put tasks and events in other schedulers, but it’s having that flexibility to change on the fly, and at the tap of a finger restructure your day based on where you are. That, to me, was the most powerful thing. I don’t think there’s another scheduler on the market that has that flexibility to do that. There’s then this idea of hyper-scheduling. I want you to talk about that because that’s also something that encourages and allows you to do with the application. Before we get into how you do it or the fact that’s what it does, why did you build this into Sorted and why do you think that’s important?
Hyper-scheduling is a newish term within the task management community. It was actually not coined by us. It was coined by MacSparky. In it, he emphasized this flexibility and scheduling smaller blocks. I don’t know if your audience will know time blocking, or do you know the concept of time blocking? Whereas you would schedule, let’s say, two hours to work on marketing stuff on Monday at 2:00 PM, with hyper-scheduling, we’re evolving that. We’re saying, “Why don’t you actually schedule what you need to do?”
Instead of two hours for general stuff, you say, half an hour to email a certain person and then one hour to have a meeting with your team on a specific topic on marketing. Isn’t that better? The problem is, before this, we didn’t have a tool to allow you to be specific. You could write it down in your calendar, but then that’s just tedious for you to write an event down and block it off like that. With an appropriate tool, a new tool that you can carry in your pocket, such as Sorted, the app, then you could do this easily. With the proper tools out there, such as Sorted hyper-scheduler, then it makes it possible for you to be more specific about what you’re scheduling for your day.
Next, it’s about putting everything together. Before, you’d have to use a to-do list for your tasks and then your calendar for your events, but that’s two separate places to look at. Why? We all live through this one timeline. It’s not like we could split ourselves up into two and work on two separate things at the same time. It makes more sense for you to actually combine all of these things, things that take your time and focus into one place. You’re then not looking everywhere and making decisions on what you should be working on next.
Leo, do you audit your time at all?
With Sorted, I could generally see each day and what I worked on in the past, and then I get a sense of what I’ve been up to for the past week.
This is a powerful tool because as a business owner, there’s a lot to be done. There’s only so much time in a day. There are your money-making activities, you’ve probably heard that before, and then there are those activities that would be better served if you delegated. Sometimes, it’s difficult to see the tasks that you are performing that may not be the most return on the time spent doing those things. It may be outside of what you’re good at, and there’s someone that can spend less time but produce more if you allow them to do that particular task.
For me, hyper-scheduling so you can see exactly what you’re doing allows you the ability to look back and audit your time and say, “I’ve spent X amount of hours in the last 30 days doing this and doing that.” You can then look at, “What is the return on that? What did I create or produce or whom did I serve? What did I contribute from spending that time doing this task? Is that something I want to continue over the next 30 days, next quarter, or the next year doing that?” You can clearly analyze where you’re spending your time if you have that recorded.
That was something I thought was useful, and to take it further, if there was a way within Sorted that data could be presented in a way where it’s digestible where you can hit a button and it will analyze, “Based on what you’ve put in the scheduler, X amount of time was spent on these tasks and that task.” Now, you can chart how much time you spending on certain things within the application, which makes it that more powerful for people who are looking at how much time you’re spending on a task, and what are they producing? What is the return on that? Time is the most precious thing that we have. We want to know what are we doing with that? What type of return on investment are we getting from the time spent doing whatever? Entrepreneurs, if you look at how much time you’re spending on your business in a day, in 1, 3, or 6 months, what’s the return on that? That’s important data.
More analytics is something we definitely have planned. It’s something on our pipeline for a while. We’re just getting there.
To the readers, having an application where you can get into the habit of recording those tasks. Got it, the analysis has come in later, but it’s the habit of recording them. The analysis is only as good as the data that goes into it. It’s getting into the habit of recording that data on a consistent basis. Most successful entrepreneurs don’t have that problem. They’re doing the same thing you’re doing. Before they go to bed, they’re planning out their day.You want to be working on what's important to you, not what's urgent. Click To Tweet
Most people are hyper-scheduling. They’re recording every single task that they need to do over a day’s time because it helps them stay organized and focused on what am I supposed to be doing? With success, you have to account for every minute of your day. You only get 24 hours a day, which is a lot. That’s a lot of time, but what are you doing? When you have an application where you can account for every minute of your day and clearly see where there could be leaks, there’s time available or time wasted, that’s a powerful tool for entrepreneurs and corporate professionals.
There’s also a couple of other things that your audience might have questions about. Does hyper-scheduling mean that you forget about your other task management concepts? For example, what about GTD, Eisenhower Matrix, or Pomodoro? A lot of people like to use this Pomodoro time thing. They all fit in. I see hyper-scheduling as the final glue to get all these concepts together. For example, Eisenhower Matrix is about getting you to think about whether what you’re working on is urgent or is it important? You want to be working on what’s important to you, and not what’s urgent, but it’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing urgently.
You can actually use that same concept and say, “When I scheduled my day, I put in the important stuff into my day, and I don’t work on the urgent stuff as much as possible. I delay those so-called urgent tasks.” Oftentimes, those urgent tasks are probably not that urgent anyway. With the concepts of GTD, it’s about brain dumping. Writing things down, so you don’t have to try to remember what you have to do. You can still use that concept in Sorted. You write it down to a list and you schedule it. Pomodoro, taking breaks between doing tasks, so you maintain energy. We have something similar. When you auto-schedule your tasks, you could add in a buffer of fifteen minutes. When we then schedule your tasks, we’ll have a buffer of fifteen minutes for you to run over time or take a break and get your coffee. All of this works together with hyper-scheduling.
Those things are built-in, which makes it easy. You don’t have to schedule that yourself. It’s a self-serving type of application as you go in and fill out your day. These are habits, like taking those breaks, that you can incorporate into the scheduler. It’s a one-time thing, and then it just happens every time that you go in and you put your task in, which makes it easy. We are the results of our habits. Having that built-in, it’s a powerful tool. It’s great for you to bring it up.
Talking about habits, that’s the thing I find about task management. It’s not like a one-off thing that you do once and you’re set for life. It’s something you do day in and day out. Over time, its effectiveness snowballs. The return snowballs over time. That’s when hyper-scheduling becomes easy with a tool like Sorted where you can auto-schedule and plan your day in less than a minute. That’s where it comes in. It’s almost like those fourteen-minute workouts, that concept. If it only takes you 1 or 2 minutes a day and you gain so much value out of it, then it becomes silly not to do it. After you do it for 1 or 2 weeks, it becomes almost addictive. We have a lot of users who tell us, “I’m addicted to schedule my day at night because it’s so effortless. It’s so effortless that it’s just one button that I press, and I feel good the next day within one minute. I then don’t want to not do that.”
We get that hit of dopamine from doing it. It’s something to be said about scheduling at night. If you can go into the scheduler and hit a button and you can clearly see, “Here are my important tasks tomorrow,” and you can go to sleep. The subconscious mind starts working on how it’s going to resolve those tasks immediately. When you wake up, it’s not like you got to figure out, “What am I going to do today?” You’re already ahead of the game because you’ve seen that the night before. Your mind is in the habit after a few times of focusing on the task at hand for the next day. When you wake up, you’re in a powerful position. You’re in a position to go out and execute immediately because you essentially started the night before.
I believe in that. I did this. That’s how I got through my engineering school. In order to prepare for an exam, I would basically make sure that every night I would read through some of my cortex. When I go to sleep, my brain can process it. I found that it helped a lot. When I didn’t do that, it was harder to absorb that information. When I found that if I just read a couple of paragraphs right before I sleep and then go to sleep, I seem to retain that knowledge a lot better. I don’t know if there’s any scientific backing to prove that, but it seems to have helped me a lot. I make use of that for most of my life.
Leo, do you know how to eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
Another powerful methodology is this thing called chunking. I’m sure you’ve heard of chunking. Sorted is a great application that will allow you to dictate those smaller activities to add up to the main goal, the big thing that you want to accomplish. That makes it doable, especially over time. You have this big goal that you want to reach. What are the steps that are going to get you there? Scheduling those things out, you may say, “One thing at a time. One day at a time, I’m going to accomplish this. I’m going to accomplish that and work my way up to.” Having that scheduled out and sorted all the way up to that day and time where you’ve scheduled to reach that end goal, it’s a powerful way of creating a system that will allow you to accomplish something over a period of time.
We’re getting into some of the more powerful features within Sorted and some things that not everyone may necessarily need. Have you tried a feature we call Reorganize?
It’s more of a power user feature. It works with the way I work. I would sometimes write down a title on a certain topic that I want to research, look into, or develop further. I want a few keywords to highlight, “I want to work on this thing,” and then schedule it for a certain day. When the time comes, I see it and I go, “Now, I want to start thinking about the next steps in more detail.” Start drilling down, then I would expand the task. In our notes section, if you press Enter after the title, you could write rich text notes. You can add attachments, PDF, photos, drawings, and checkboxes for subtasks.
I’d start filling out, “In order to accomplish this, what are the next three steps?” As I flush that out, sometimes that one task becomes something much bigger than I realize. It might take, let’s say, two weeks. I would start flushing it out, and we’d recommend that a task stays within an hour, one sitting. When the task becomes too big, you can tap on Expanded Task. It’s a little three-dot button at the bottom right corner. There’s an option saying Reorganize. When you tap on that, you can pull out pieces of whatever paragraphs that you’ve written under and turn them into separate tasks that you could schedule for another day.
That way, you can take what seemed like a small task that grew into an elephant, chunk it down to something smaller that you could schedule through multiple days, and then work on them that way. Of course, the opposite also happens too. You wrote down a couple of tasks, and they all eventually relate to each other. They’re all doing the same thing, then we could merge them. You could select multiple, and then say, “Merge,” and they’ll collapse into one big task. We allow for a lot of these flexibilities for even our power users to scale their tasks, chunk their tasks down smaller so then you can eat that elephant, or clump them back up so then you can do all these menial tasks in one go.Time is the most precious thing that you have. Make sure that you know what you're doing with it. Click To Tweet
There’s something to be said about having this capability in the palm of your hand. You can turn your phone on, go to the app, and that’s where all the magic is, right there in the palm of your hand.
I’ve been living my life out of Sorted. I haven’t had to use any other tool. I still use other tools just to check them out and see, “Are there any interesting ideas there,” and stuff like that. There are a lot of task managers and calendar apps out there, but they’re all similar. What we’re trying to do is something from quite a bit different angle, and hopefully, more and more people can try it. We then can bring some good to their lives as well.
We haven’t talked about the integration capabilities that Sorted has. Could you give us an overview of the integration capabilities?
Any calendar that you can add to your iPhone, we can capture that data into Sorted and sync it back, whether it’s Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, Outlook, or whatnot. We’re now working more and more on some specific integrations with existing tools that you may already be using. For example, Todoist is one of them. GitHub, where a lot of developers use to track issues and stuff like that and work on projects. We’re working on that. We’re working on integrations with others. Asana is another one. We’ll be working on those, stay tuned on those tight-knit integrations.
Finally, where can people go if they, first of all, learn more about you, Leo? If they wanted to try out Sorted and learn more about the application, how can they find more information about that?
Go to our website, SortedApp.com. There, you will find we have some articles on what hyper-scheduling is in more detail, a basic routine that you could go through. A simple one that only takes 1 or 2 minutes of your day each day. You can go on our Twitter account at @SortedHQ. You can chat with us there. Lastly, you can email us at Hello@SortedApp.com. Those are three methods to find us. We are basically a fourteen-day free trial on the App Store. You can download our app, try it out for fourteen days and see if you like it. You’ll be able to use all the features that we discussed and more within those fourteen days. If you’re a student, we have a student discount for you. After fourteen days, if you think hyper-scheduling is the right thing for you, then support us and buy our Pro. It’s not a subscription, it’s a one-time payment to upgrade the app.
That’s something to be noted. It’s not a subscription, you pay one time for the pro feature and you have it for a lifetime. Think about that, because that’s a little bit different from the other schedulers that are on the market. One more thing, if you could tell us the one thing that you feel every entrepreneur and corporate professional should download Sorted for. You’ve given us several features that it does but what is the one thing, as a founder, you think everyone should use Sorted?
Less stress and more focus. Reduce stress levels and stay more focused on the important stuff, not the urgent stuff.
That’s critical. I wasn’t expecting you to say that, but that’s good. Thank you, Leo, for coming on the show and sharing this powerful tool with us. Thank you for creating it as well. It’s amazing. I’ve gotten a lot of success with it. I still play with it. Thank you for allowing me to check this thing out and share it with my audience.
Thank you, Rodney. Thank you for having me.
Thank you for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure having you. As someone who focuses on resilience, I know you’ve accomplished a lot. Your bio looks like you’ve been moving around a lot and accomplishing a lot of goals. I’m sure you’ve had to overcome a lot of hurdles and challenges in order to accomplish all of that and here you are with this wonderful application. I want to ask you, if you can leave us your parting words on bouncing back from adversity, dominating challenges and winning in the game of life, what would you say are your words of wisdom?
Don’t give up. Never give up. The second thing is, it’s not always about you. That’s probably my favorite quote from a Marvel movie.
Leo, I appreciate you. Thanks for coming on the show.
Thank you for having me, Rodney.
There you have it, folks. Another successful episode. Go to SortedApp.com. It doesn’t hurt to check this out and see if it fits into your lifestyle. Maybe it will allow you to be more successful and more organize your day. Give it a try. You never know. It may be the thing that makes you more powerful and productive. As Leo stated, God’s given everything that he’s accomplished. He still has a humbling mindset. It’s not about you. It’s about what you can do for others. That’s the game-changer mentality. I like it. Until next time, peace and love.
- Getting Things Done
- Harry Ng – LinkedIn
- General Assembly
- @SortedHQ – Twitter
About Leo Tumwattana
Leo is the Cofounder and CEO of Sorted. Before starting Sorted, Leo helped turn around a retail clothing company and took it public, did an MBA, worked as an executive at Louis Vuitton, took a sabbatical, traveled around, worked on a few startup ideas, and taught coding at General Assembly. That’s where he met Harry, and together they cofounded Sorted.