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Calendars and To-do Lists

For at least a year now I have used a combination of Google Calendar and Remember the Milk to keep my life organized. I recently realized that my strategy had become messy – I had many of my entries in both places.

Strategy

Before making any drastic changes, I decided to step back and think about my strategy for a few days. This is what I came up with:

  • Items with concrete dates/times should be on a calendar.
  • Items that need action either ASAP or without any hard deadline should be on a to-do list.
  • No item should be both on a calendar and to-do list.

Previously, for example, I had bill due dates as repeating tasks in Remember the Milk and repeating entries on my calendar. With my new strategy, bills should just go on a calendar since they have a concrete due date.

Calendar and To-do Apps

With my new strategy, I also decided I should take a look at my calendar and to-do apps.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar still seems to be the best fit. Even though I am a Mac and iPhone user, I like the web interface for Google Calendar better than iCal in iCloud. Setting up Google Calendar to sync with iCal and my iPhone is slightly complicated, but it works flawlessly once it is set up. On my iPhone, I have replaced the default calendar app with Agenda (Web, iTunes, $0.99). Agenda has a beautiful, minimal design and is extremely fast. On my Mac, I use a great menubar application, Fantastical ($19.99). Fantastical makes it quick to check my calendar and add/edit events.

To-do List

Previously I was using Remember the Milk (RTM) for my to-do list. While it served me well before, I have decided to move over to Wunderlist for two reasons.

  • Simplicity. RTM is an extremely powerful app. Now that I am simplifying my to-dos, I no longer need all the features. The main reason why I chose not to use Wunderlist in the past is because it does not allow for repeating to-dos, a feature I no longer need since my repeating events now go on my calendar. If you find Wunderlist too simple, I highly recommend RTM.

  • Price. In order to have unlimited push sync with the iPhone app, RTM requires a $25/year subscription fee (basic iPhone syncing and the web app are 100% free). While Wunderlist doesn’t seem to have quite the efficient sync system, it is worth it to save the money.

Organization Zen

I feel like I have reached a simple and efficient method of organizing my life with this new method. I hope you find some inspiration to do a similar evaluation of your own calendars and to-do lists. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of your own, please write a comment!