When I posted last week that I schedule every minute of my day, a few folks commented and sent me emails asking for more details about how I go about organizing all of my various to-dos and juggling all my tasks. Honestly, I have no idea if this is the “ideal” way of going about it, but it works perfectly for my busy schedule. I manage to rarely forget things or miss deadlines.
The “hub” of my organization is my Google Calendar. If Google suddenly decided to discontinue their calendar service, I would be beyond screwed. My entire life is in these little colorful boxes.
I have eight calendars that I use on a regular basis:
- My Calendar—This is where my personal appointments, freelance deadlines, school due dates and other events. This is also the calendar I schedule my days on.
- Our Calendar—This is a shared calendar between Babyface and I that includes our events. Family birthday parties, etc. Things we both need to know about.
- Birthdays, Holidays & Events—This is the master list of our family birthdays, anniversaries and big events.
- Blog Posts—I schedule posts for Wholefully two weeks at a time (although they are often written only one or two days before they go live).
- Business Calendar—Babyface and I are blossoming a photography and design business on the side, and this calendar helps us keep track of scheduled photo shoots, client meetings, etc. Although, right now, they are few and far between. 😛
- Menu—Our dinner menu for the next two weeks.
- Fitness Minutes—One of my goals in 2012 was to complete 3,500 fitness minutes. This calendar is how I keep track.
- Workouts—I have a loose schedule of workouts I like to follow. This calendar is used a lot more heavily when I’m training for something. Training schedules get put in here and I can always see what training session is up next.
I also have a totally separate calendar for work that I have to hold all of my office-y meetings and appointments. I like to keep them separate, but on my phone, they both feed into the calendar, so I can always see if I have a work appointment on my schedule.
As I mentioned in that previous post, the main component of my life organization is my daily scheduling. Before bed, every night, I open up my Google Calendar and schedule pretty much every minute of the next day. I don’t always do this, but more often than not, I try to schedule my time. It’s really the only way I’ve figured out to starve off my procrastination bug and keep on task.
Now how I go about figuring out what I want to schedule for the day requires a second tool—TeuxDeux. TeuxDeux is one of my favorite websites/apps on the planet. Mostly because it is so simple, easy to use and pretty much perfect. Google Calendar has a similar task list functionality, but I’ve just never gotten into it the way I’ve gotten into TD. Maybe one day I’ll make the switch to where it’s all the same place, but for now, TD is my true list-making lover.
I use TeuxDeux as a planning tool for tasks. Instead of just making a running to-do list, I use the various lists under the days of the week to preliminarily schedule a task when I think of something. For example, I decided earlier in the week that I really wanted to reshoot my headshots. But I knew that the next time Babyface would be available to shoot them wouldn’t be until Saturday, so I slotted that item under my Saturday Teux Deux list.
So now, when I go to schedule my day, I just look at what tasks are written under tomorrow’s date and try to slot them into the times I have available. If I have more time available than tasks? Sweet! I’ll just slot in a “relax” or “chill” appointment. If I have more tasks than time available? I sort through, prioritize and move the ones that aren’t top priority to other days on my Teux Deux list (this happens pretty much daily).
Notice that my Sunday TeuxDeux list is pretty…light. I try to keep Sundays pretty open. I always end up doing some tasks that day (mostly overflow from the other days) but I try to keep Sunday’s as “our” days—time to go hiking, see a movie or head to the bookstore. Normally, the harder I work on Saturdays, the more I have free on Sundays.
So that’s how I keep all my stuff together. I’m sure there are better ways out there, but this seems to work for me.