I used to manage my time with a Franklin Planner. I carried that thing everywhere and kept all of my assignments, receipts, postage, etc in its pockets. I loved the daily to-do lists as well as the monthly calendar pages where I could see my whole schedule at a glance.
Nowadays I use a similar system to manage my time: a combination of Hiveminder for task management and GCal for my calendar. But I don’t find that either work particularly well on my iPhone. I also really miss the visceral feeling of those handwritten to-do lists and checkboxes.
Do you have any advice for me on what tools might work better for my time management? What tools do you use?
I don't do "to do" lists. Everytime I think of or generate a "to do" it gets a timeslot on my calendar. A task might get a 1 hour block each Wed. at 10am over a month (for a larger task) or just a 30 minute slot on one day. If the task has a deadline the block it's scheduled into is red – must be done at that time. If it's more flexible – it gets yellow and maybe a due date so I know how much flexibility I have to move it around to accommodate "red" tasks that might come up. It takes some time to get used to figuring out how long certain tasks might take to get done or how to break them down but I like this method as it forces you to break down large goals into smaller pieces from the start.
I use a combination of unlined index cards, a Moleskine 12-month Weekly Planner (vertical columns), and Google Calendar. The master calendar is the Moleskine, because I find it's faster for me to whip it and a pen out than to mess with trying to update my online calendar via my phone. Google Calendar is mostly used to sync my schedule with my partner's so we can keep track of each other.
Each day I start a new index card, with my schedule for the day written at the top and then my to-do list below. Things from the previous day that didn't get accomplished get transferred to the new card. Things get crossed off (so satisfying!) when they do get accomplished. The back can be used for things like making grocery lists, taking notes, writing down phone numbers, etc.
This has the side benefit of generating a stack of index cards, which I can then flip back through to see what I did over the course of the week/month/year. It's handy when I have to do crap like annual reviews.
In my final piece of nerdery, I use Pilot Hi-Tec-C pens in .25mm width. These come in lots of colors so you can color code things. I buy mine at Uwajimaya, but other Asian stationery stores might also carry them.
Good question, I'd love to hear the answers, I just can't get away from my handwritten list of things to do…it keeps trumping all my technology!
My implementation of the Getting Things Done (GTD) system is:
– gubb.net for task lists
– Google Calendar for appointments and deadlines
– index cards in a Levenger "Pocket Briefcase" wallet for jotting down notes and ideas (ubiquitous capture)
– route everything to GMail or GReader if possible
I still use the hard-copy franklin planner system. :-) All my coworkers make fun of me but I still perfer the pen-and-paper calender/to-do-list format over anything electronic…
I print my outlook calendar and put it into a binder. I found a 3 ring binder w/ zipper. It fits 8.5x 11" paper but big enough I can keep a file in there if need be. I made tabs and also keep my goals in there as well as my 'action items/to do list'. I have my long term goals as well as shorter term goals in there so i can achieve my long time goals.
It has a calculater and place for business cards, pens/pencils & pad of paper if I need to take notes. For me – it is pretty simple but keeps everything with me when I am with client – i can write and keep notes and plan our next appt. And if i want to add in typed notes – easy enough to do.
It isn't as 'complex' as a franklin system – which i always felt I never used properly. So much of my life is on the pc but I love the hand writing of things. This allows me a bit of my free spirit to shine through.
I do a week at a glance vs. daily as well which helps me stay on track with balancing the week. My job often involves the need to be flexible and readjust my schedule but get my tasks done.
I use OmniFocus for Mac, which also has an iPhone sync app (though I have no iPhone)—at least when I'm managing my life by checking off checkboxes on a task list. For some tasks, I use 3×5 cards in a binder clip (google "hipster pda"). I go back and forth on various organizational systems, but these are the 2 that work for me.
I just use mental notes. I should probably upgrade my system… ;^)
My problem with the big planners is that I'm too lazy to carry them around. My problem with the cell phone planner is that you can't stick a receipt or sticky note in it. I've compromised by making a little sleeve for my cell phone, which also holds a stack of index cards (a "hipster PDA"). Some cards I make with a template (DIYPlanner.com I think the website is). You can print 4 templates per page of heavy paper, and cut to index card size. Works for me! (-: Good luck!
I use Things for mac, sync'ed to my ipod touch. It is convenient, always with me. If I need to carry paper, I do, but I move it to Things or email, or maybe iCal if it has a specific date due along with a reminder beforehand.
Writing an hour a day on the diss, preferably first thing in the morning, ever since getting my job settled, has been a joy and a relief after that how/when-am-I-ever-going to-get-it-done-feeling. I have chapters, or pieces of them, and I'm enjoying it. Keeping a paper calendar at hand to cross off every day that I've done that is helping me stay on track.
I use a simple implementation of "Getting Things Done" on rememberthemilk.com, which with a $25/year Pro account, can be accessed via iPhone app.
Basically, I tried to implement the system on the web site and got comfortable. Then I used the trial period to see if the $25/year was worth it. Totally was, and I'm happy to pay it.