Curating Calendars

I was looking over the to-do list that’s directing the clean-up of my various productivity tools the other day and realized there are only three things left: the notes (the work-in-progress), the dashboard (which is best left for last, anyway), and the calendar. The funny thing is: I thought I gave my calendar an overhaul earlier this year.

I can already hear you asking the inevitable question: Why would anyone need to overhaul their calendar, especially someone with no life? Quite simply, because I don’t just use a calendar to schedule my life. I do have calendars to keep track of my ever-changing work schedule, appointments, and upcoming library due dates. I have other calendars that help me manage my life, too.

I have calendars that let me track what work I got done and how long it took me. This has actually proven helpful more than once. I’m more easily distracted by rabbit holes than I give myself credit for. I’ve also had projects stalled out for some reason, and re-reading those earlier calendar entries helps me get back on track quickly.

I’ve tracked what I read and any thoughts I might have on it. And someday, I’m going to get back to using that information to review books on goodreads. I’ve also tracked my exercise, and sometimes what I’ve eaten, in an attempt to develop healthier habits. I’ve had to-do tools (Google Tasks, which still does, and Gqueues, which now offers that feature as part of their subscription features) that sent my planned tasks to my calendar so I could see everything in one place. I’ve heard rumors that the event feature on Srpringpad connects with my calendar, but I haven’t explored it yet.

Just looking at how I’ve used my calendar, you can probably imagine how many different calendars I had running. My calendar was quite the rainbow! It was visually overwhelming. I had to go through and ask myself if I really needed so many calendars, if I really needed to keep up with so much.

After a lot of thought, I combined the calendars that were tracking what I was getting done into projects and chores. The reading calendar got to remain just as it was. The calendar that was intended to help me live better went away in favor of using a website dedicated to helping you develop a healthier lifestyle (that has its own army of trackers, and keeps adding new ways to track and plan your habit-building activities). When GQueues locked up their calendar integration, that automatically took it out of my calendar, but a widget allows me to keep a list beside my calendar. Amazingly, it lets me see my to-do list without feeling like it’s adding to the noise.

Calendars can be very useful tools if managed carefully. It’s easy to manage, plan, and direct your life using them. But if you don’t stop and take a look at them sometimes, you can find yourself serving your calendars instead of having them serve you.

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