I have my own little systems that I have developed over the years to help me manage my life to where my ADD doesn’t really mess things up too much. They work pretty well, but I am always looking to improve on them (read: simplify them). I have made abundant use of elaborate planners and “systems” in the past, but I have to admit I usually don’t stick with it and then find I wasted money on a really nice planner that is now out-of-date. So, needless to say, I’ve gotten a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth in regards to “systems”.
I generally just use a notebook and/or a small weekly planner to keep track of my doctor appointments, classes, and due dates for schoolwork. Pretty simple. Except that now I am trying to duplicate it on both my calendar at work and my Google calendar (the latter is actually great because I can share it with my boyfriend and he shares his with me, so we don’t have to ask each other “when was that ___ again?”). This works ok, but I have to remember to update three places, so it can be a pain.
Anyway, that system (if you want to call it that) is working fairly decently for me and if I see ways to make it better, I will. I’ve tried incorporating a “to do” list with these calendars. First I used the Tasks function in Google Calendar. Then I found a cute app on my Android phone called Astrid that synced with it and reminded me to do things. Then I also signed up for Producteev, which is awesome, and also syncs with Astrid, and I think Google Tasks and…. well, then it got really complicated instead of really simple. As a result, I don’t think I’ve used any of those three things in a long while. My to do list is now written on a piece of paper, shoved in my bag, and hopefully remembered and looked at again before the due dates pass.
My point in all of this is that I can usually get myself somewhere on time, with the use of copious amounts of alarms and reminder emails (thank you Google Calendar/phone/Outlook), but I still have a hard time with getting things done. This is especially hard for me when it comes to long term projects in school, because (as I am rapidly learning) planning out a design project is nothing like planning out a paper. Not to mention my issues with procrastination!
In case you were wondering, these issues don’t really apply when I am at work because I have a fairly ironed out process for keeping everything organized and it hasn’t failed me yet. But it doesn’t really translate to my projects outside of work, not to mention that when I am at my desk I have everything in front of me – my computer is on and Outlook is open, my notebook is open to a to do list or messages to return. In my “real life” that never happens on a consistent basis.
So, today, I was reading something (I forget what now) that led me to thinking about project planning – and, more specifically, project planners. I have to be honest and say that, even though I have never really been successful with them, I still get really excited about a new, blank, possibly-the-one planner. Ditto for notebooks/journals and writing implements in general.
And that’s when I stumbled across a page about the Getting Things Done (or GTD) system. Apparently it is kind of cultish, which turned me off, but then I saw this page and actually laughed a little when I read the “GTD is geek-friendly” section. So me! So, I don’t know much about it, and I might hate it, but I am going to check it out and see if it will help me stay on top of my homework and design projects. Who knows, maybe it will even help me manage my blog, =)