Monday, February 09, 2015

To Me, From Me

Is it just me who feels like she's in the longest-ever game of checking things off of various lists? I have four things I do that help me remember everything:

Lots of plans help me get through the worst-weather month of the year1) OUTLOOK CALENDAR

If it's something like a client call during the day, a film screening in the evening, a doctor's appointment for Desmond or another event/occasion that would prevent me or my husband from doing anything else during that same time (or requires the use of our one car), I set up an Outlook calendar invite (or Dustin sends me one). Most people I've talked to use their computer or phone's actual calendar to schedule everything... yet for whatever reason I only use it for very specific reasons.

Also, I've never synced my laptop's calendar (where all Outlook events are) to my phone. Ever. I have no idea why, but I'm not about to start now. Most people find this insane. That's me, though!

2) MY EXCEL CALENDAR

Remember my glorious Excel budget spreadsheet that tracks my life's expenses? Well, I also have an Excel-based calendar that I've been logging my daily activities in since 2006. This crazy file deserves its own post one day, but suffice it to say that EVERYTHING goes in my Excel calendar. Every. Single. Thing.

It's pretty much like this.3) STICKY NOTES

What did people do before sticky notes? Surely they are the most ingenious invention of our time. Except that I don't ONLY use sticky notes to jot down things I need to remember. I use notepads, random scraps of paper, the backs of bills—pretty much anything that's nearby so that I can capture a thought before it disappears into the ether. Have I mentioned how awful my memory is?

Anyway, there's got to be hundreds of random sticky notes and other lists of things to do all around our house. Every once in a while I'll find one from months or years ago and there will still be one thing on it that I never got around to doing, so I'll toss the old note and add the forgotten item to a new sticky. And the beat goes on.

4) EMAILS TO MYSELF

The main method I use to remind myself of what I need to do—the method that results in time being blocked on my Outlook calendar or notes in my Excel calendar in the first place—is emailing myself. Any time something pops into my head that I want/need to read or watch or do or buy, I send a message to myself. That's how I remembered this very topic for today's post.

The problem is that I don't always actually DO the things I email myself. I work on a "just in time" basis, so if something isn't urgent, doesn't have a deadline of today or tomorrow or otherwise is just one of those "this would be great to read/watch/do/buy when somebody figures out how to freeze time" activities, it doesn't get deleted from my Inbox. Because I keep holding out hope that that day will come.

I stopped counting after 250 and started scrolling, but I would guess I have at least 2,000 email messages of this To Me, From Me sort still in my Inbox, dating back to May of 2012 (I got this laptop in 2012 so there are probably more on my old computer).

Dork, party of one!

The thing is, this ridiculous "system" works for me. There are very few times when I totally forget to do something that is actually important. And so I'm going to stick with it.

If you're one of those perfectly organized people who has a superior system or can magically keep everything straight in her head, I don't want to hear about it. (But good for you, really.)

- e

1 comment:

Rebecca Landis Derdiger said...

I do this ALL the time! Primarily to remind myself of books I want to read (I have an ongoing email back and forth to myself just with books titles). I don't have quite as many emails as you though - I freak out when my inbox has more than ~10 read emails.

A weird thing I do with post-its is stick them to the back of my phone. I guess I assume that is a good place to ensure I see the note?

I know you said no other suggestions, but I'm going to anyhow. To phase out the hobo post-it-on-the-back-of-the-phone approach, I started using Google Keep. I like it because it LOOKS like post-it notes, good for jotting down a quick "remember to investigate this new movie". Also - you can set reminders for a specific day/time OR a specific location (e.g. a reminder to water the plants when you/your phone is at your home address). I used the day/time reminder a lot, less so the location. I also like it because you can jot down a note on the desktop version and it syncs with your phone. Good for making grocery lists while at work!