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Professional Calendar and To-do List Makeover

I’ve increased my productivity and preserved my sanity. I’ve done so by having made my calendar private, having stopped using recurring tasks, and having moved the to-do items into time slots.

It’s much better. How?

1. I still use Mac Calendar for my to-do list and my Calendar events. I like how I can edit items either by drag-and-drop or by text-field & dropdown-selector.

2. I disconnected my calendar from shared cloud calendar accounts and disconnected the my calendar from email. Basically its on the local hard drive and not connected to any other calendar account or email.

3. I no longer use the “recurring” tasks feature. Instead, I tag it with a word that reminds me that it is a recurring task, like “weekly” or “daily” or “monthly” and as I finish each task I punt the task forward on the calendar.

4. I no longer use the “To-do” section at the top of the Mac Calendar. That’s the section at the top that’s meant for tasks that are assigned to a day but not to a particular time-of-day. Instead I put everything as calendar events with a time assigned to them in the main calendar event section.

How does that all work and make it better and make it more organized?

Regarding 2., above. Since I disconnected my calendar and made it local, this means Calendar items stay where I put them, and only appear, disappear, and move around on my calendar when I personally am the one to move them. I control my calendar items, so I’m in control of my tasks, my goals, my day, my career, and my life!

A drawback to this is that I have to manually take the time to create or delete the item from my calendar. However that’s also the point- I have to actually look at, think about, and know about each and every calendar event, as it goes on or off the calendar, which makes me much more aware of my schedule and more careful of what goes on and comes off my calendar. The overall benefit is x100- I can really feel the difference!

Regarding 3., above. How does that work, not using recurring tasks? So say its a daily recurring task. I do it done today. Then I drag the calendar event and drop it onto the same time the next day. What’s the benefit? The benefit is with one glance I see the *true number* of tasks before me. In contrast, before it appeared filled up with both one-time tasks and recurring tasks, with no way of telling them apart and I was hopeless. Now, I glance and I know how many tasks lie ahead of me and my calendar doesn’t feel full *so far in the future*.

Regarding 4., above. How does that work, not using the daily to-do section, and instead giving every item a specific time-of-day? Well I still have tasks that don’t really *need* to have a specific time-down-to-the-minute-or-hour attached to them, but however that do need to get done as soon as possible. But it was confusing to have some tasks in the main calendar area and others in the top to-do section — my mind boggled trying to figure out whether I should be working on one of the to-do items at the top or one of the calendar events in the main area. 好累! Now instead I assign each of these to-do tasks as a half-hour-long calendar event and I drag it and drop it roughly to the timeslot where I think I will be able to get it done. Also, I put a special tag in front of it that reminds me that this is a “to-do” item and is only roughly attached to the timeslot where I put it. I keep a manageable amount (half-dozen-or-so) of outstanding to-do items. I usually drag-and-drop them throughout the day and put them
in a clump surrounding the 3-hour-long period of time when I think I can get them done. When I complete an item, I delete it off the calendar. When an important task comes along, I create an item for it and put it on the calendar clumped next to the others. Sometimes I have closer to a dozen outstanding to-do items so they take up much more space on the calendar or are arranged much more densely on the calendar, or both. I float the clumps of to-do list items to open spaces such as a large open mid-morning slot, or a large open mid-afternoon slot, or even an open night-time slot or an open early-morning slot.

Maybe later I’ll be able to re-connect my calendar to my shared cloud calendar accounts and to my email, be able to take advantage of recurring tasks, and be able to stay sane while using the to-do area at the top. I envision this as happening organically, at such time when I again realize that I need these features. But for now, what I’ve described here above is working well for me.

Well, that’s how I’ve changed my to-do and calendar work flow for the better. I made my calendar private and stopped using recurring tasks and moved all items (both to-do and events) to the main/bottom calendar event area. I love it! My productivity has risen and my sanity has maintained. Amazing!

[2019 edit: Moved to: https://investorworker.com/2016/... .html.]