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  • Keep Missing Calendar Events

    I have been implementing the GTD system for around 18months to 2 years and one problem I have is that I keep missing calendar events.

    I am using a mac and iphone with omnifocus and ical on both. I had added so many things to the calendar that it was beeping all the time with things like "remember to floss". This was fine if I was not doing anything, but most of the time these beeps were right when i was in the middle of something else, and as a result I became numb to the sound. The trouble is I keep missing important things on my calendar.

    I have another diary for work related events - mostly so I don't lose the data and partly because i can easily write when on the phone.

    any suggestions?

  • #2
    Originally posted by timjamesbrennan View Post
    I have been implementing the GTD system for around 18months to 2 years and one problem I have is that I keep missing calendar events.

    I am using a mac and iphone with omnifocus and ical on both. I had added so many things to the calendar that it was beeping all the time with things like "remember to floss". This was fine if I was not doing anything, but most of the time these beeps were right when i was in the middle of something else, and as a result I became numb to the sound. The trouble is I keep missing important things on my calendar.

    I have another diary for work related events - mostly so I don't lose the data and partly because i can easily write when on the phone.

    any suggestions?
    Perhaps you are putting items on your calendar at specific times that are not due at any specific time? I only put scheduled events on my calendar, keeping items that are not time-specific listed where I can review them when not otherwise occupied. A related trick is to schedule time to focus on the list of unscheduled items, allowing you to choose the most important, defer what's not, and keep your productivity on track.

    Best,

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    • #3
      Alarms instead of reminders

      You may find more success by turning off reminders for specific items, unless it is a meeting or appointment.

      Instead, you could set alarms, which remind you solely to review your calendar in one fell swoop. You can choose how frequently to have the alarms go off. I have successfully used 15 minute alarms (during an experiment in tracking down lost time), as well as every hour, every 2 hours, and 3-4 times a day.

      Some of the reminders that you otherwise have set may be superfluous if you establish routines/habits. For example, if you have a "before bed" ritual, in which you floss, brush, etc., then having a reminder pop up would be unnecessary. I have found routine to be a successful way of eliminating too many reminders.

      Hope this helps
      JohnV474

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      • #4
        Really helpful answers. Thanks.

        I have moved a lot of items to be all day events instead of at a specific time. I guess David is right; looking at your calender as often as you need to is just like how we got into the habit of brushing our teeth when we were kids. Its the scuz factor.

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        • #5
          Try changing your calendar alarm sound.

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          • #6
            It seems a good idea to use alarm instead of using calendar, as alarm will keep on beeping and you will get to know what you are looking for and by this no need for calendar events also.

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            • #7
              I think what might be happening is that I am trying to use calendar alarms to overcome the problem of feeling repelled from looking at my calendar every day.

              Last night I asked myself why am I feeling repelled from my calendar. I realised that it may be because it is hard to tell which items on the calendar have been done and which still need doing.

              I came up with an idea using a feature I had not seen before in Google Calendar - colouring events. I am now colouring all done items grey and it makes my calendar so much clearer. See photo - https://skitch.com/timbrennan/fg3x8/google-calendar

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              • #8
                Originally posted by timjamesbrennan View Post
                I am using a mac and iphone with omnifocus and ical on both. I had added so many things to the calendar that it was beeping all the time with things like "remember to floss". This was fine if I was not doing anything, but most of the time these beeps were right when i was in the middle of something else, and as a result I became numb to the sound. The trouble is I keep missing important things on my calendar. any suggestions?
                I think you know you have too much junk on your calendar. Color coding is fine, but doesn't address the original problem. With Omnifocus, you have a very powerful tool for handling next actions with start and due dates. If you like, group things like flossing in a checklist. Keep the calendar sacred, and keep alarms for things where the time matters. I do not recommend syncing Omnifocus to iCal. I do put project-related dates in Omnifocus in a Tickler context for planning purposes, but things like 'Process Evernote inbox' are recurring items that are never due (restart daily but no due date).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                  I think you know you have too much junk on your calendar. If you like, group things like flossing in a checklist.

                  Flossing sounds like an attempt to create a new habit. Once that habit is created, it no longer requires a system to make it happen. So, the question is, where do you put something you want to do daily for the few weeks it takes to become a habit. Answer -- put it in your tickler file. Read it, do it, move it to the next day. Repeat for as many days as it takes.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                    I think you know you have too much junk on your calendar.
                    What makes you say that?

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                    • #11
                      You definitely have too much junk on your calendar!

                      There are a ton of little tasks that, given the day goes perfectly, I would want to do each day, and I won't do unless I have a reminder to do them. Your calendar is NOT the right place for these, your checklists are. I have an iPhone, and use the checklists app. I have a morning checklist, a workday checklist, and an evening checklist. This is where you put things like - floss teeth, update budget spreadsheet, help son with homework, etc.
                      Calendar should only include meetings/appointments, tasks that HAVE to be done that day, and information for that day.
                      My comfort zone for max items for one day is about 5-7 items (mtgs & tasks), as I know if I have more than that I won't have discretionary time to do any tasks off my lists.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by timjamesbrennan View Post
                        What makes you say that?
                        'Junk' may not have been the right word but when you put stuff in the wrong place, your system experiences friction. Put another way, there has to be a reason your calendar repels you. If you are setting an alarm time for things like flossing , you aren't going to respond to real calendar alarms. An alarm has to mean something like 'go to the meeting' or at least 'decide to do this now or not'. That doesn't mean you can't get the effect you want for next actions. With Omnifocus, I would have 'floss' in context home, repeating daily at say 7 am. If I forgot in the morning, maybe I'll do it that night. Omnifocus turns items about to become due orange, and then red when due so I would not miss it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by timjamesbrennan View Post
                          I think what might be happening is that I am trying to use calendar alarms to overcome the problem of feeling repelled from looking at my calendar every day.

                          Last night I asked myself why am I feeling repelled from my calendar. I realised that it may be because it is hard to tell which items on the calendar have been done and which still need doing.
                          Your calendar should only have things on it that if not done that specific day they are past and can't be done at all. Anything that can be done whenever you get to it should be on one of your context lists.

                          Calendar is only for stuff like a doctor's apt., a meeting, a webinar with no replay later and so on.

                          Don't sync Omnifocus to iCal. That just populates iCal with a ton of junk and pretty much defeats the purpose of using Omnifocus in the first place.

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