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  • Calendar overwhelmed with reoccurring tasks

    I currently use Google Calendar and a moleskine as my GTD setup. Been tweaking this setup for quite awhile and im slowly turning it into my perfect system.

    Alas I've come to a bit of a stumbling block I can't seem to find a way around. Managing reoccurring tasks which normally have to be completed daily, every other day etc. Now I've tried creating a check list, however I end up forgetting to check it and it just doesn't seem to gel well with my current system. I tried something online, joegoals.com which while good means I have to be on my computer whilst alot of my tasks arn't @computer. Also once again this is taking day specific tasks out of my system and means another list to check.

    I'm currently putting all day specific reoccurring tasks on my calendar. So far so good. However the space taken up by my reoccurring tasks in the "all day" calendar space is growing so much it'll soon be impossible to use my calendar to check time specific events. Changing calendars is out of the question.

    It seems that I may now need another "work around" for this issue which is blighting my system. Only other option I can think of is creating another @ list...maybe @reoccurring and somehow having enough data per task in this list so that I can transfer tasks if and when required into my next actions lists. But then even if I was able to pull this off the tasks may get lost in my next actions.....

    Suggestions before i go mad please?!

  • #2
    Two suggestions:

    Instead of creating a recurring task for each item, why not create just one for the whole list? That is, put your daily checklist into a single recurring calendar item. That puts the whole list in your calendar, but minimizes its footprint.

    Second, I use Sciral Consistency for recurring tasks. It puts them all on my screen in a single color-coded display without cluttering up my calendar. I know you said you didn't want yet another list to check, but this works very well for me.

    Hope this helps,

    Katherine

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    • #3
      I like using joesgoals.com I like it because it is web based, and it shows me streaks (days in a row I have/haven't done a task). I believe sciral consistency does a better job warning you with color if you haven't done a task in a while though.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kingfu View Post
        Suggestions before i go mad please?!
        May not work for you I put all the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly repeating tasks as a checklist on paper and then in clear plastic page protectors and filed them in a 3 ring binder much like Flylady's Control Journal and set up my morning, noon and evening routines. I check them off with a dry erase marker and can easily see what I have or haven't done. I got them all off my calendar as I was getting overwhelmed as well.

        That sort of thing doesn't work for me electronically. What did work was for 30 days to st an electronic reminder to check my flylady lists. Then it became a habit and I generally get them all done.

        The checklist works better than the original 3 x 5 card system from Pam & Peggy of Sidetracked Home Executives that Flylady is based on.

        Since all my repeating tasks are household related the household organizing solutions work better for me.

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        • #5
          Try RTM

          I would suggest trying Remember The Milk and adding it to your Google calendar. It puts a checkmark symbol on each day of the calendar and gives you in-line access to the recurring tasks in RTM. Hope that helps!

          Tony

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          • #6
            Thanks for the reponses guys.

            I couldnt use Sciral Consistency as I need access to my tasks when i'm not at the computer. I've been using the mobile version of gcal on my cell phone for doing my tasks when i'm out and about. Plus it means another site I have to check every day.

            Good idea regarding using just one entry for the tasks in gcal kewms. I could of put the tasks themselves in the "description" part of task. The problem is I then lose the ability to schedule the tasks properly. No longer can I pick certain days for it to automatically repeat etc

            Thanks for the tip about rememberthemilk techsavvyguru. I see they have a mobile version aswell. I'm going to give it a go and see how I get on with it. Even if the mobile part doesn't work too well I could maybe keep the gcal part (as it gets rid of the overwhelming of the all day section) and then copy the tasks into perhaps a @daily context in my moleskine every morning. hmmmm

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            • #7
              I just thought of another solution. I could put all reoccurring tasks in their own calendar in gcal, then hide the calendar in order to make gcal usable again.

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              • #8
                You mention that you set up a checklist but never remembered to check it.

                I've found that I need to tie my checklists to a particular time or event in my day. So, I'd start on my morning checklist right after breakfast.

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                • #9
                  I ran into a similar problem, which I solved in two ways.

                  1) Putting context-sensitive recurring tasks *in* the context. I have a checklist behind a plexiglass frame in my bathroom, and another in my kitchen, where I can check off recurring taks with a dry-erase pen. My bathroom chart is Sunday-Saturday, my kitchen (cleaning) chart is 1-31 (days of the month).

                  2) I live and breath my by Daily Action Card, which is not part of GTD, but includes important things like "go for a run" and "take vitamins." Since this one 4x6 card is so important to so many things, it's always with me, and my recurring tasks are therefore always in front of my face.

                  The back of this card is an exercise card (i.e. lift Xlbs 12x) that prints for specific days of the week.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kingfu View Post
                    I'm currently putting all day specific reoccurring tasks on my calendar. So far so good. However the space taken up by my reoccurring tasks in the "all day" calendar space is growing so much it'll soon be impossible to use my calendar to check time specific events. Changing calendars is out of the question.
                    You could condense your daily checklist into one calendar entry. Title it something like "Daily recurring tasks" and put the checklist in the "Notes" field of the calendar entry. Or maybe it will trigger the reminder to start working off your daily checklist first.

                    I do something similar in Outlook for things that I may need to add to my action lists at regular intervals. In Outlook, I actually attach task objects to the calendar entry and drag the ones I want to add into "Tasks". I know you don't use Outlook but maybe someone else who's reading this does.

                    One last comment. Are the things on your calendar things that absolutely have to get done every single day or some penalty will result? If some of them are not then they don't belong on the calendar. That might shorten the list a little.

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                    • #11
                      Tried rememberthemilk..too much extra work

                      You could condense your daily checklist into one calendar entry. Title it something like "Daily recurring tasks" and put the checklist in the "Notes" field of the calendar entry. Or maybe it will trigger the reminder to start working off your daily checklist first.
                      Yup good idea, someone else mentioned that in this thread. Sadly if you did that you lose the ability to schedule tasks on certain days only. I suppose you could have seperate calendar entries for each day of the week and repeat them instead as a work around. "monday reoccurring tasks" etc

                      MarinaMartin, nice idea about the daily action card. Might have to give that a try aswell. Do you have to rewrite it every day though?

                      Right I tried rememberthemilk, sadly their mobile interface is just to slow to use on a normal phone. It also means another system I have to check. Must take me atleast 3-5 mins to check 1 thing off. Gcal and rememberthemilk link up is good, problem is want to spend less time on the computer, not more. Having to use it just to look up my reoccurring tasks takes up far too much time.

                      I'm going to have another crack at a paper based check list. This time im thinking about creating a weekly @reoccurring context (not strictly a context i'm guessing but never mind). Next to each task I'll have a M, Tu, W, Th, F, Sa, Sun which I check off. Then I'll rewrite the whole context list everyweek.

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                      • #12
                        I have 2 checklists I have to check each weekday. One is a checklist of daily general recurring tasks, the other is a checklist of statistical/financial data I want to review. I do not have each item separately in my calendar. I just list the 2 checklists. For each I created a 5x8 page that has exactly the same M-F (Sat and Sun too just in case) table format. I prefer printing those out and placing them in my desk organizer, but that isn't necessary, because quite a few GTDers read use spreadsheets or document files for that. This also works for items I only need to do a few times a week.

                        My reason for this is the same as others here: I was concerned about my calendar getting too full.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kingfu View Post
                          MarinaMartin, nice idea about the daily action card. Might have to give that a try aswell. Do you have to rewrite it every day though?
                          Nope - I keep a template in Pages (the Mac equivalent of Word). Each Sunday I print seven cards (one for each day of the upcoming week), and each night I choose 10 tasks for the next day. That's the only part I have to fill in manually.

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                          • #14
                            Habits take time!

                            If you have a daily checklist, checking it needs a habit, and habits take time to form. Till then, you need reminders to create this habit. If you use a fixed office space, put some post-it in a strikingly visible place with a reminder to check the daily list. Visualize entering your office and immediately pulling out the checklist to work off, so that it creates an association. I have tried your daily reminder way in past and know how irritating it is. Simple habits overrule all sorts of sophisticated reminder systems. (Did you remember to go to your office today? What reminded you of that?)

                            Hope this helps,
                            Regards,
                            Abhay

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                            • #15
                              Use a hidden calendar in gCal

                              After reading your post, I thought about how I'd do it, and investigated gCal further.

                              You can create a calendar in gCal, create all the required recurring events that you like in that specific calendar, then go to the calendar settings (link at the bottom of the My Calendars sidebar box) and set it to hidden. The recurring items will no longer clutter up your calendar page.

                              Then go into Notifications for that calendar and set it to send you a daily agenda (a list of all the tasks for that day) and/or have it email you a separate reminder for each event. Even though the calendar is hidden, gcal will still notify you of its events by email.

                              This will make your email your recurring tasks list. I'm okay with this, as I already use gmail as my task list for computer-related tasks. You might feel different.

                              Hope this helps.

                              regards
                              Carissa

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