Productivity pt. 1: Planners and calendars

Or, what I used to do to try to keep myself on track.

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I’ve been regularly using planners and calendars and various physical and virtual productivity tools since like elementary school, so it feels like I’ve tried just about everything. I’m still searching for a system that works best for me (especially since I’m no longer in school), but I thought I’d share today what I used to do up until now.

Basically, before I got to college, I’d just use the homework planners that the school gave. I’d just list out all the assignments I was assigned that day, and also write the assignments or exams down on the day they were due. In high school, when I started having more assignments (that I didn’t finished during the school day), I also started using a to-do list where I’d write down all the work I was going to do that day. It worked fine, since public school is pretty structured.

In college, I was using a normal notebook as a planner. Each page would be a day, and I’d create a time schedule where I’d list all the classes I had that day and when I was going to do each task (like assignments, readings, social events, etc). Just using a plain notebook wasn’t really cutting it for keeping track of assignments, especially since some of those assignments didn’t have specific due dates. I tried a couple of apps, but I didn’t use my phone enough for them to be all that useful. I started using evernote to track what was due and what I had to get done for each day. Each new note was for one day, and I’d also have a masterlist of the more important deadlines. It worked well for a couple of semesters, but I was getting tired to constantly creating new notes.

Next I switched over to google calendar. I was still keeping a paper-and-pencil planner (again, just a plain notebook) so I could bring it around with me and write new things down. But I had also started working in a research lab at that time, and scheduling for that lab was done using a shared google calendar, so I thought it would be useful for me to implement this too. The nice thing about google calendar is that you can quickly color code everything. For example, I used yellow to block out studying/homework times, orange for meal times, and teal for errands (groceries, laundry, etc). I was also able to set reminders and do more efficient planning for the immediate future. And the best thing- there is also a task list feature where you can list out to-dos at the top of each day and it crosses them out when you click it. So I could list out all the things that were do for each day, and as I did them, it was like checking things off a physical to-do list. Plus, I usually used the calendar in weekly view, so I could see upcoming stuff as well. Google calendar was really great and worked well for me up until graduation. Since I had classes and other events that were a specific times, it was a great tool to visualize what kinds of free time I had to devote to everything else.

Now that I’ve graduated, I don’t have that kind of set schedules anymore, and there aren’t any more strict deadlines for class assignments or anything. So, I had to find a way to keep track of my productivity. I had heard about bullet journaling in college, but since I already had a functional system in place, I didn’t look into it much. I did notice, though, that a lot of the people using bullet journaling were working adults, so I thought that now might be a good chance to try it out. So I did, and that’s what I’ll be posting about in a couple of days.

Cheers ⌒°(❛ᴗ❛)°⌒

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One thought on “Productivity pt. 1: Planners and calendars

  1. Pingback: The ~Job Search~ | Alice's Adventures in Adultland

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