Trying to find a system that works

I find myself getting depressed and disorganized as of late. I shouldn't be, because I have a Palm and a classic-size planner and a Circa PDA, but I can't seem to find the best place for everything. Either I'm writing duplicates or not writing things down at all, and I'm getting confused...

Here's what _does_ work:

-- The Circa PDA is great for taking notes on the go. I keep my time tracking for work in there, because I'm always out in the field during work hours. I also use it for notes I take during phone calls, grocery lists, and other things where I just need pen and paper handy immediately.

-- The classic-sized Circa planner holds my reference papers for work and my assignment lists for school. I also keep idea lists in it.

-- The Palm holds my address book, which I rarely use because my often-used phone numbers are in my cell phone. I do use my Palm a lot, but for music and books and games (and a few serious things like my bank register and encrypted password database).

Here's what doesn't work: Calendar, and task lists.

Calendar: I don't have work appointments to track, just what days I do and don't work. Plus when my classes are, and personal/social engagements. I have unused Circa monthly Agenda pages, DIYP weekly pages, and hPDA weekly cards. I suppose the cards are my best bet, because I don't have to pull out my planner to look at them, but I never remember to check it.

Tasks: I created a tab in my hPDA for various lists, but I need a structured system. I wish the To-Do app for the Palm was more flexible... Maybe I should try keeping my lists in Bonsai (an outlining program)? I've tried keeping separate lists, by context, in my hPDA, but I easily forget which card I wrote a task down on.

You'd think that, after months on this site, I'd have the answers for everything, but nooooooo. :) Suggestions needed! Please!

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Haven't you answered your own question?

Ok, use the 3 devices you like and bag the other 2.

What is it you are not getting out of your time management strategy? Are you losing or missing things, not as productive as you wish, or what?

Focus on what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it.

Analyze what the purpose of your time managment is and the path will be clearer - for example: "Why am I trying to mange this?"

And remember: time mangement is not the answer to all time questions. Managing your time is only a way to help you do the right things, at the right time, in a manner which you attempt to predetermine.

I hope that helps

Ralf Czerny
Author, Trainer, Consultant
Murray, Utah

Um....

Could you be a little more concrete? Also:

Ok, use the 3 devices you like and bag the other 2.

I only have three devices. Three devices, two problems. And I can't "bag" my needs for a calendar and a task list.

Thanks for trying to help. I think.

Confused now...

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Steff
[ blog | photos ]

Combo works for me

I use a combo of digital and analog. Anything that is referenced is digital - used to be on my Palm, now on my iPhone. I, like you, don't have business appointments during the day, but I do have appointments, etc., that I need to remember and I enter those on Google calendar, then have the calendar sync with iCal on my Mac (so it syncs with my iPhone) AND I have Google calender email me reminders of things I might otherwise forget (including things like library books that are due, etc.).

If I need to write something down, whether just a note or a new appointment or anything, really, I do so in my small Moleskine (if I'm out) or one of my Circa notebooks (the 3x5 one, usually) when I'm home.

I then regularly transfer the info from analog to digital, if I need to. If it's just a quick task to remember, I'll just note that I did it on the paper and then go to the next thing. If it's an appointment, I'll enter it into Google calendar as above. (I can also attach Contact info to the event, so if I have to call someone, the number is right there.)

Frankly, I think the one thing that makes any system work - whether strictly analog or digital, or a combination - is what David Allen calls the Weekly Review. You don't have to do things the GTD way, but I think if you don't have a set time to go over your tasks/appointments/want-to-do's then they will often tend to get lost or forgotten. At least they sure do for me!

Good luck working out your own way of doing things. :)

Google Calendar

Just for the heck of it, I installed CompanionLink (Windows program to sync various applications and PDAs with Google Calendar). I normally run under Linux, so I can try having my calendar open on my desktop under either OS.

I also set up SMS reminders on Google. Maybe that will help too.

Thanks for putting the idea in my head. :)

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Steff
[ blog | photos ]

similar struggle

Different things seem to work at different times... bumps in the road have caused me to completly make-over everything again :) so I understand your continuing quest for planner-zen.

I'm curious if maybe a monthly calendar would be better for you than a weekly one... in the hPDA size since you seem to have that handy during times you would need to record appts/etc. You could have it directly under a clear cover so it was visible - that may help you use it.

I found that I didn't use my junior monthly calendar pages I worked so hard on LOL... so those got taken out and put into my box of "planner paraphernalia". I also found myself not utilizing my weekly hPDA sheets... however, junior weekly sheets fit my needs perfectly.

Keep tweaking, you'll get there :)

my artwork | my blog

Monthly calendar

I don't think an hPDA-size monthly calendar would work for me. I have a few too many items to keep track of. I've been reading the other thread where people are talking about tick marks and codes, and that's way too complicated for me.

I think I'll try the Palm-and-Google-Calendar setup for a week or so and see how that goes. Maybe getting lots of reminders on my cell phone will help keep me from forgetting appointments...

One thing that does help greatly, whether I'm using paper or digital solutions, is having my hPDA and my Palm PDA next to each other. I'm doing it with my Levenger Universal PDA Case right now, although I would love it if Levenger came out with a PDA Case that held a Circa PDA more firmly in place. (Right now I'm using tape to hold the back of the Circa PDA from shifting.) Ohhhhh Ryyyyyannnnn... :)

--
Steff
[ blog | photos ]

Perhaps your lists are too complex

-- The Circa PDA is great for taking notes on the go. ...
This seems to be the part of your system that's working well.

My suggestion is that you keep using your Circa planner and your Palm as you are and make more use of your Circa PDA

Here's what doesn't work: Calendar, and task lists. Calendar: I don't have work appointments to track, just what days I do and don't work. Plus when my classes are, and personal/social engagements.
If that's all you need to track then you should be able to put a week's or maybe even a month's appointments on one card. It sounds like that all you need is a portable monthly calendar. If you want to use them up, you could use the weekly cards as the top card in your PDA - then you can't miss them.

Tasks: I created a tab in my hPDA for various lists, but I need a structured system. I wish the To-Do app for the Palm was more flexible... Maybe I should try keeping my lists in Bonsai (an outlining program)? I've tried keeping separate lists, by context, in my hPDA, but I easily forget which card I wrote a task down on.
caligatia, I suspect your problem here is that you have too many lists. You obviously need big broad topics for your lists but, most especially, topics that suit you. Like "papers due in May"

List management

I've come up with something to try -- a digital solution.

I put all my lists into a "To Do" file in Bonsai. I used different colors to mark different topics. Bonsai to-do items can be exported to the Palm's To Do application, so I exported just the things I need to do today and tomorrow.

If I review the Bonsai list nightly and export the upcoming items to be done, maybe it will keep my "do right now" list from looking overwhelming while keeping all my project items in one place.

I hope this works...

--
Steff
[ blog | photos ]

List management

I've used LifeBalance off and on for a few years now. You can input everything you need to do, for every different project and event, and it will give you a priority list of what needs done now. The off and on part for me is that I don't always keep it up, especially when I'm having Palm-sync problems (like ever since I got my new computer with Vista...gack!)

You can get a free 30-day trial at their website: http://llamagraphics.com.

It works on Mac, Windows, and Palm.

Cool.

I'll check it out. Thanks!

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Steff
[ blog | photos ]

List management

OK, I'll try this again. Apparently even mentioning a website will flag you as spam....

You might try LifeBalance software for your Palm. It lets you input every thing on every list, and gives you a priritized list for right now, based on where you are and what you're doing right now.

You can try it for a month, get it from their website: llamagrapics.com. I've used it off and on for several years now, and I love it.

Erika

I have no idea why it

I have no idea why it flagged yer post as SPAM. I have retrieved it from the filter and marked it as non-spam. When your account reads a month old I will add you to our new Notaspammer group. Thanks and I am sorry about the inconvenience.

BTW, I also second the use of LifeBalance. I own a copy of it and it's great to use for project and class to-do listings.

/innowen