To-do lists do not prefigure masterpieces. An over-engineered task management setup can extinguish the spark required for great creative work.
I used to practice yoga every morning. I would get up before sunrise and make my way to the studio with a handful of other bleary-eyed adherents. Most days, it was unremarkable. Some days, it was life-changing.
'Good' practice days were infuriatingly unpredictable. They were entirely outside of my control. No amount of planning would make the slightest bit of difference. The harder I tried to force a new pose, the less likely I was to get it. All I could do was get enough sleep and keep showing up.
Task management is appealing because it helps us feel in control of our work. But the paradox is that genuinely creative work is not within our control, or at least not reducible to a task list. Great creative work flows from the part of us beyond to-do lists, beyond planning. Whether that's our subconscious or something greater will depend on your world view. But whatever it is, it doesn't give a damn about inbox zero.
Task management can help you take care of the necessary chores of life, but you cannot point it directly at your unruly subconscious, whose participation is a prerequisite for great creative work. Task management sets the stage but is not an end in itself. There is no magic productivity machine that spits out masterpieces.
When I catch myself creating elaborate to-do lists or switching productivity setups, I try to think back to those early mornings on the mat. Keep it simple. Get enough sleep and keep showing up. Most of the time, it will be unremarkable. Sometimes, it will be life-changing.