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Thoughts on organizing

I freaked out today when I realized I could not find a bunch of Google Calendar entries I knew I had made. Searching seemed to broken. And then I went into Gmail searching for an email with those dates that I knew I had sent and it was gone. This is not the first time this has happened. Now, I know what you are thinking: I am crazy, I never created those events. And I can’t blame you for thinking that but it is just not the case.

Anyway, I am moving back to what worked for me for years. A paper planner. I am getting an undated planner so I can start it now and not waste half of it. If I like it, I’ll likely get a dated one for the following calendar year.

I’ll see how it goes.


It’s the next day and I don’t have any real reservations about this. I am going to do it. I use my calendar for a few non-work things. Typically, appointments, trips, and birthdays.

My greatest argument against this is “say I am booking a dentist appointment and I forget I have a thing that day in six months”. Well, this is something you can easily solve by simply taking the calendar with you OR calling them in there is a conflict. Other than that, I am basically going to be doing a lot of page flipping (looking ahead at the week, etc). This is fine. Recurring things I need reminders of can still go into Google calendar or just as reminders in Gmail. I might even use an Gmail label as my todo list. It’s fine.


So far the paper calendar is going well. It is self-dated so I added in dates until the end of December. I’ll use the rest of the book (half, or so) for my TODO list. Using a list scanning method from Mark Forster I can never find the exact one but basically, you have a long list and when you work on something you cross if off. If it isn’t done you write it at the end of the list after crossing it off. You start scanning at the first page of the list with one or more incomplete tasks. That’s it.


Here I am about 9 days after the original idea to go to a paper calendar. So far I love it. I haven’t been totally in love with using the back of it as a task manager, though. I am never really happy with how I manage tasks. Part of me thinks keeping it on paper is just as good as any system. The only thing I don’t like is the fact that I can’t really settle on a paper format that lets me define tasks but also scribble notes and add little check lists.

For example, I have a long task list in the back of my calendar (it’s undated, so I am using the pages after Dec 31 as a notebook). I have a task to get bins to organize my freezer. This is really a project. Step 1 - measure freezer to figure out bin size, Step 2 - locate bins that fit and decide what kind to buy and how many, Step 3 - go to store or order online. Now, what I would like is a list of tasks I can scan, with notes, but on paper. What if my system was:

To scan my list, start at the first page that isn’t completed and scan from there, also scanning any projects not completed. Add tasks for any projects as single tasks.

I rarely need “project context” or multiple pages for my projects. Just a few notes. Anything more than that and I might have a separate notebook or maybe a Google doc or spreadsheet going which I could reference in the project page in the notebook (it easy enough to tag things so they are found in a Google Drive search and note that tag on paper, for example).

OK, that is what I will try! Stay tuned.