Last week I wrote about my anal-retentive hyper-scheduling method and got a lot of surprisingly positive feedback. One of the most popular questions was how exactly do I implement it. It’s not that difficult. The night before, I take a look at my appointments and essential tasks are for the next day and start laying things out. Whether I am on my iPad or my Mac, I do this in Fantastical. A lot of times I’m using blocks that I recently used in the past few days, so I set it up in a week view, select the applicable block, such as “Email and Social” (which is the 45 minutes or so where I deal with all of my email and check in on social media), hit the keyboard shortcut command (Command + D) to duplicate, and then drag the block into the appropriate space. You can do the same thing on an iPad with a long press, but it feels like it takes longer and setting the duplicated block to the next day with your fingers is less precise than doing so with the mouse.
Here is yesterday’s calendar in Fantastical. I usualy include more detail, like client names, but those were removed for this screenshot. Click to enlarge.
I treat the blocks of time more like versatile soup ingredients than a rigid jigsaw puzzle, so I am happy to move them around as I’m planning the next day. The only things that are locked in are the specific appointments I have made with other people. I know some folks who have done this by creating repeating events where they have the same block of time for the same event every day. My life isn’t that simple, and these blocks nearly always move around depending on what I have on deck for the next day. Setting these as repeating events won’t work for me, but maybe they can work for you.
I map days out the afternoon before and it is an organic process because the whole time I’m also looking at my pile of tasks in OmniFocus and trying to make big boy decisions about what exactly gets my attention the next day. At the end of this process, I have a pretty solid looking calendar for the next day. I set alarms for the block events that start at the time of the event, so I get a little kick as I go through the day and need to change into the next block. The Siri watch face on my Apple Watch helps with this.
The last part of my process, and this is new in 2018, is writing it down with a fancy pen in my Baron Fig Confidant dot grid plus-sized notebook. I have a page for every day, and at the top is a list of events and big rock tasks to finish for the next day. I keep it open on my desk as I work. Writing it down takes additional time but only a few minutes, and there is something about having it written down in ink in front of me as I work through the day that keeps me rolling. I received some very satisfying affirmation on this last bit when I saw that Shawn Blanc does the same thing.
Underneath this section of the page I draw a line and below that I take notes and summarize progress at the end of the day. Like I said in the last post. The whole shutdown thing is a post for another day. Here’s a picture of my list for yesterday. At the time I took the picture, I still had one event and one task left to complete. Sorry about my terrible printing. If I’d thought about it when I set up this day, I would have tried to make it neater. Click to enlarge.