Here it is. The single, most simple way I have found to get things done: Office Depot’s $12.99 calendar.
It’s not fancy or flashy. It doesn’t even have pictures. What it does have is spaces on each day that are wide enough to write in several activities. Also, its lack of pictures means it takes up less room. I keep mine on the counter in the kitchen, where everyone can access it, yet tucked behind my mail file system so I can choose when to pull it out and be reminded of everything I have to do. I used to keep it on my refrigerator, but I found myself fixating on everything that needed to be done in the future, which made me feel overwhelmed. Now I keep it hidden away, and I only pull it out in the evenings to check what’s on the schedule for the next few days.
You may ask why I’m still using paper in this day of electronic calendars and high-tech organizing solutions. It’s because I’m still in love with the feel of paper and the weight of a pen in my hand. Some people get jazzed about the latest gadget; I get jazzed about picking out a brand new calendar every year, physically crossing things off as I do them, drawing pictures to represent the various holiday, and actually writing things down. I find that just the act of writing something down helps cement it in my memory (but I still need the calendar to remember things that are more than a few weeks away).
Calendars, digital or paper, are literally the simplest tool to manage your activities, appointments and tasks. All you have to do is pick a time to do each item on your to-do list, schedule them on your calendar, and then DO them! The key here is respecting your own decision to do a certain task on a certain day and following through on your promise to yourself.
Here’s to new calendars and getting things done in 2010!