Multiple Calendars and GTD

If you’re reading this then I imagine you have at least a minimal interest in getting things done a little better – who knows maybe a whole lot. I consider myself as someone with more than a passing interest in personal productivity. I use both digital tools and paper for inputting to/maintaining my system of getting things done.
One tool that I have comparatively recently started to use with gusto is multiple calendars – specifically Google calendars but am sure the same applies to Outlook. I have been using digital calendars for a few years now and found that initially I merely ported my paper diary over to Google without really exploring what an online calendar had to offer.

It was a little time after linking up my Remember the Milk (RTM) account to Google that I paid attention to the fact that Google offered the option of having several calendars and also being able to give each a calendar a different colour. I now have several calendars – eg:
• Calendar: linked to my RTM account
• Calendar: for birthdays & anniversaries
• Calendar: for finances
• Calendar: for training sessions / coaching sessions / appointments / meetings
• Calendar: all else (default calendar)

One of the Google features that I love is being able to select one/some/all calendar(s) to view at a particular time. Viewing just one calendar allows me to focus on one particular area of my life. This picks up on David Allen’s GTD idea where he suggests keeping several lists rather than just one list of things to do.
Most of my calendars are pretty obvious but the one I have shared with friends and colleagues that they have expressed an interest in is the finances one. So much of what we do has a financial implication – eg, money to go out or come in. Having a separate calendar that documents this has been highly beneficial to my finances. Like the hopefully ubiquitous GTD list, having a finance calendar has helped to keep financial obligations – like stopping that Lovefilm free subscription after 3 months before I have to start paying – in my direct vision.

What’s the difference between putting things on a list as opposed to a calendar? For me, I find looking at my calendar less ‘stressful’ than looking at my lists – ie, I have more time to think before taking action if things are on my calendar whereas sometimes I just want to get things done and off my lists when I look at my lists. For me GTD is about making the best decisions about Next Actions and not about being busy all the time.
Who knows could multiple calendars do the same for you. I would love to know.


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