November 7th, 2019 – 407

I need to work on a calendar solution that will stick for me. It’s funny; my usual reason for declaring that is Outlook’s calendar screwing me around. That happens quite often what with reminders now quite announcing themselves loud enough. Today though that is not the reason this thorny topic is on my mind. To be honest, it’s got little to do with Outlook for once. And as an added twist, it’s more to do with scoping out one day at a time than laying out future ones. Let me explain.

The backdrop to this is I am a creature of habit. That is a redundant statement, humans are creatures of habit. As such, I work best as do most, when I have an ordered structure around me. Due to stupid-chemicals in my brain, I am reliant on stringent routine, or I kinda fall apart overnight. You can trace almost all my worst moments back to the same kind of catalysts. Times I’ve messed up at work. The breakdown of my relationship at the end of last year. In fact most of the non-Election huge health declines of my life are due to this loss of order.

As long time readers will know, I have a baseline order that prevents 90% of the above now – 1K. Alongside Trello and my own method based off of GTD and Enoughism, I have a firm grasp. There is only one catch – this is what you might call a macro grasp of my life. That means that if you average out across a week, a month or longer, I find order and correct for faults and errors. On a day to day basis, I do not. In fact that is kinda core to 1K – I only ever have to write my thousand words on any given day.

It is now time to graduate to, or prepare to graduate to daily control. That involves a more granular and instant response to issues as they arise. It also means that I need to nail a few key habits that still alude me, as well as some like food logging that I have let slide. On a side note, turns out I need to do the latter as I am not getting enough calories, as my weight is now below my ideal. Weird place to find yourself in if you’re me. Given I have no other readers there’s a pretty decent chance you are me.

And this is where a new calendar comes in. You see, Trello has fit the current model quite well for one reason: I can move cards with ease to different lists. If I “can’t” on a given day, I can restructure my week on a whim to clear my queue, and know I will still get all those  tasks done. This is why Trello is gold, and I am not for a minute suggesting I change this. But that is why I then need a calendar of some kind, for the daily checklist of my “always have to”s. There are a few options, and right now I dislike them all.

The closest to a solution I like is a physical logbook. The pros of this are I can put it on my desk, right in front of me at all times, and it serves as the prompt for several tasks. This also lets me log with ease when I have/haven’t achieved items as I go. Aaaaand there in lies the problem. You see, if I have to log when I do these, I also need to learn it’s ok to have missed a few. That’s fine, but takes some major doublethink. I have to both accept gaps will happen, and be vicious in avoiding them at all costs. This is not to spot patterns after all, it’s to make these changes stick.

The second option is using Google’s own calendar. This one sounds great until it falls apart the moment the gate opens. Why you ask? Well there is the tiny matter of checklists on a calendar being an awful idea, and that it in theory locks down the tool. That’s because whatever solution I pick, this should be the sole use for that tool. Yes I have not utilized this calendar enough yet, but this would kill a lot of potential if it became the long term.

The next option is a bit of a curveball, and it comes in two parts: Trello (new board), and Trello (recurring card). The first option is the quickest to discuss: no. The second is intriguing, because in a way, said card already exists. It’s a Trello card called “Do blog entry for today”. At the moment it’s red, because I use the colour change as a prompt at ten past ten each day that I’m at work. Doesn’t always work right away but I have to do it sooner or later. There are more than a few days where this has served to remind me not to miss a post.

This falls apart on execution. The reason the blog card works is the same as why any small task does: it’s one action I can complete in one sitting. What I’m discussing is either a list of tasks that by definition stretch the entire day. Or, it becomes a lot more bitty Trello cards that threaten to clutter and smother a fundamental tool. I’m willing to experiment, but when it means putting part of my trinity on the line then the answer is no. 

The last option is a bit of an anticlimax: a phone app or widget with the checklist, that becomes my phone’s homepage. That sounds perefect, right up until the moment that you realise three things. A) That already exists. 2) It’s Trello. Z) I don’t check Trello at home and this is a whole different problem I need to untangle. You could argue I need to fix that “Look at Trello more often” issue first. You may be right about that, but like I said above, using Trello presents its own problens. This also means that Trello would have to compete for that space if I do master looking at home, and that isn’t viable.

My gut says physical little bright book, and tick things off. I know I already picked this idea apart enough, but there is one more flaw with that model I didn’t talk about. I’ve already tried it, and it didn’t work. I have a ton of smaller journals that I’ve attempted to use for this kind of purpose. Each has two, three, at times four entries if it was lucky. And then, radio silence. It is not a model that I have much hope about, except for one key difference this time. You see, none of those attempts happened during 1K. So, maybe this time?