I have no idea what I would do if I didn’t have a place to write down my thoughts or my day-to-day to-do’s. I used to be the girl who carried around a paper planner everywhere I went (you can find this out by reading my ‘about me’), and I can’t tell you how many times I would leave it on the bus or somewhere else. I’d have a heart attack every time. I must have gone through at least 10 planners in my lifetime until I discovered Google Calendar. I love technology. Google has not only made my life easier by eliminating the physical planner itself, but it also reminds me about meetings and due-date (if I set it up like that). The interface is extremely easy to understand, and you can even get creative with backgrounds and colors. My favorite, though, by far is the the “task” button, and the never-ending to-do list that appears on the right-hand side of the calendar. It’s beautiful, and there’s a certain satisfaction I get when I can check off a chore, and cross it out my life forever.
I know, you’re thinking, “nah, I can remember everything,” or “nah, I’m going to stick to my paper planner,” but I am telling you…this is a God-send. My husband would fall into the, “nah, I can remember everything,” category, but I’m going to lovingly assert that no, he can’t. Of course, he’s not nearly as busy as I am right now, but he never, ever writes things down (except for maybe when he has to take an actuary exam). So, guess who has to remind him about things? His loving wife :) Keeping track of every little thing might seem ludacris, but it keeps me focused on each day instead of worrying about what is coming tomorrow or even next month. It allows me to plan, and it also allows me to gauge my availability for things like birthdays and just plain having fun (isn’t that sad that my life has reduced to SCHEDULING fun? I know).
In any event, if you’re busy like me, do yourself a favor and find some sort of online calendar, like Google (which is FREE by the way). Most of them can be set up to send reminder texts to your phones or reminder emails. It will eliminate that extra brain capacity of having to remember what’s due when and where you have to be next Tuesday. However, it’s important that the calendar is updated as soon as you receive a new due date, or as soon as you receive a meeting date and time, etc. Obviously it won’t help if these events and tasks are not placed on the calendar immediately. School-wise, after the first week, I normally sit down with all of my syllabuses and go through each one, add events to my calendar, and I even start a rough study schedule for exams. For example, I already know that I have an exam conflict and will need to re-schedule an exam once I get that reminder email from school. Online calendars are just awesome like that—no surprises as far as due dates and scheduled events are concerned (of course, you can’t plan for life’s unexpectedness….but you can at least be prepared for the inevitable). The calendar also has mysterious powers to reduce procrastination because you can physically see how close that due date is.
I’m a type A personality so I literately list everything going on in my life. Here’s a snap shot of a portion of my calendar for this month. All “events” are in white with pink lettering (hard to see here), with the special ones in a different color like yellow, all main holidays are in green, and all of my “tasks” are in blue. Google dims past and future events, which definitely helps me focus on one day. Also, while you can’t see it here, Google normally can only list about 4 or 5 things in a box at a time depending on what view you are in, so you’ll normally get a +2 or +3 or however many other tasks or events can’t be listed in the box currently. I wish I could see everything in a box so I don’t have to click to view it, but this would be my only qualm (and it’s a minor one).