gCal Is My Slave Master!

Some people think it's strange that I rarely know what day of the week it is. I can't remember the last time I counted the days until the weekend. I'm lucky if I can remember what I did yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I remember everything I do, I just don't attach my actions to a standard time reference like most people do. I can think ahead to tomorrow and some times the day after. I can usually tell you what I did yesterday, but other than that I chunk things either as "in the past", or "in the future" and I focus on today. I use calendars and action lists to make sure I don't miss anything and to plan ahead as needed.

I don't live in a routinized world and I've never lived by a schedule as an adult. I've never worked a 9 to 5. As a creative person, the best time for me to work is right NOW. When the mood strikes me or inspiration hits, that's when I work. As a professional, I live by the appointment book. I make meetings, coffee or lunch dates, signings, etc.

The problem is, I'm beginning to work on a lot of different things. I'm committed to writing for two very different web sites, I'm producing entertainment for the web and for real life, I'm busy, busy, busy. Staying on top of everything had been difficult for me. That is until I came up with a no brainer way to trick myself into following a routine. I can't believe I never thought of it before.

I sat down one day and decided what I needed to commit to on a weekly and monthly schedule. How many blog posts here and on my other site? How many articles? How many reports? What newsletters go out when? Then I logged in to Google and set up a recurring calendar entry for every task.

Ok, so what? Well, that alone wouldn't help me in the least. It would just create a new calendar for me to check in with every day. That's not a habit I would create and it doesn't fit into my GTD (Getting Things Done) workflow. What does fit, is having my Google Calendar send me an email reminder on the day I'm supposed to do a routine task. That email gets filtered by my mail client (Evolution) into a folder called routine tasks.

That folder is part of my GTD Inbox that gets processed every day. That way I don't even have to know what day it is, these things get queued up and I just do them in my work flow for that day. I don't have to change my habits, I just leverage technology so I can be more productive the way I am. In fact, the only reason I'm writing this blog post right now, is because my Google Calendar told me to.

I could have used another tool, or method, but Google Calendar was simple, effective and free. I don't use it for anything else so I just set it and forget it. I never even have to look at it again, unless I want to change my routine tasks. I use my PDA and Evolution Calendar for all my "non-routine" appointments, and a GTD style actions list (in a spreadsheet) for next actions on each of my many projects.

If you're like me and have no concept of time, maybe this tip will help you too. If it does, let me know.