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I am wondering which is the safest approach in keeping and updating tasks for various aspects of my life:

  • Health: exercise, visiting doctors, relaxing etc.
  • Professional: everything about work
  • Intellectual: reading, learning etc.
  • ...

Should I keep one calendar for all or split it among categories so they could be measured and tracked ?

You can easily create endless calendars in Google Calendar or in iCloud.

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I also use google calendar to keep track of all my "to do's". I posted the detils of my system to productivity.stackexchange.com/questions/8095/…, this may offer further perspectives to add to @Jay's response. He and I use similar methods. –  dwwilson66 Sep 16 '13 at 17:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

My system is as follows:

  • Important areas of my life have different colour coding (tagging), so say work is blue, university is red. This is achieved with separate calendars in Google.

  • I then separate my calendars again if I have to share them, so I have a shared calendar with my wife for special events etc.

  • I would not recommend using iCloud, as it only works on OSX/iOS devices. I found it time wasting to convert calendars when I moved to Android, even though I use my mac.

  • Calendar events in my opinion are task reminders, not a task list. Calendars also allow you to block out time. So measuring and tracking should be done external to the calendar app, say in something like Evernote or Google Docs.

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thanks a lot, you've answered more than I've asked for ! I am wondering, can you share your important areas of life ? –  RobDel Sep 6 '13 at 12:15
1  
Current important areas are: General, Work, Study, Marriage. I try to keep the areas as simple as possible, so in General I put items such as bills, birthdays, appointments (which are not work realted), and some goal setting. Goal setting for me is like learning to touch type, so a few times a week I block off some time for practice. Just as a hint I use iCal to manage my Google calendars, but I do download the public holidays in iCal. I work with people in 4 countries so I can also keep track of the holidays in their countries. –  Jay Sep 6 '13 at 12:35
    
Jay, thanks for your wonderful information. –  RobDel Sep 6 '13 at 12:54
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@RobDel no problems. In case you are interested you can also import public holidays into Google calendar, as I just found out. Instructions are at support.google.com/calendar/answer/37098?hl=en –  Jay Sep 6 '13 at 12:56
    
Thanks, I would like also to ask (just curious..) about "Marriage" area but I'll get down-voted for sure !!! –  RobDel Sep 6 '13 at 13:04

Some tasks are strongly related to time, while others are not. They should be handled differently from each other for maximum efficiency.

For example, this task is strongly related to time, because you can't do it after the time allocated for it:

  • Personal training session with Mr. Muscle.

Other tasks are weakly related to time:

  • Email Mr. Muscle to setup next training session.

In the later example, if you miss your allocated time, you can still complete this task. But in the former, you can't show up for an appointment after it's time has passed.

A common tactic I've seen over and over is to create a faux appointment for something which is weakly associated with time. This artificially puts a deadline on the task. This almost never works, as your brain knows whats up. You can't trick yourself.

You're better off keeping a calendar for items that are strongly associated with time and a separate task list for the rest of your "next actions."

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You could take a dual approach: carving block of time in your calendar and using social apps to track and measure your progress.

Your calendar should be used to block time for meetings and activities that have to happen during your day. You could have a repeat task everyday day from 6AM to 7AM to exercice. The trick with calendars is to make sure to only put things you will do on it. As soon as you fill it with commitments you will not fulfill, it becomes useless.

Next to that, you could use apps or sites to help you track, measure and report on your practise. Examples includes "Good Habit" on iOS, "Lift" on iOS and Web. The social dimension of these apps is also very encouraging and provides support.

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