I take a hybrid approach to managing information. I use an online calendar and paper to-do list. Whether I take notes on paper or computer depends on how I will use them. Over the years I’ve adapted my habits based on my needs, my preferred style and the available technology.
One year I decided that I was a “paper person,” and I carried a paper calendar. But as my responsibilities expanded I could no longer fit everything on the size calendar I was willing to carry. Plus, I couldn’t easily share it with others.
Last year I became hooked on the Google Calendar. It offered a simple system for my colleagues and me to coordinate scheduling speakers for our audio conferences. The three of us were located across the United States, but by sharing a calendar “in the cloud,” we could see in real time whether a date was available or someone else had just booked it.
The other feature that made me a fan is the ability to overlap or hide calendars. I have different calendars for each product line on which I work, so I can focus on one set of upcoming deadlines or spot scheduling conflicts. My personal calendar includes family commitments, and my husband keeps me in the loop by sharing a calendar he created for his car club events.
I set my calendars to sync automatically with my smartphone, so I can add appointments on the go or receive an email alert about an upcoming event.
While I’m a fast typist and my handwriting is atrocious, I still prefer to manage my to-do list on paper. Despite the availability of numerous task management programs, I haven’t found one that fits my needs. When I need to add a task on the go, I don’t want to tap it out on my smartphone keyboard.
What’s your information management style? What methods do you use for managing your calendar and tasks?