Use A 5-Calendar Setup To Avoid Cluttered And Confusing Schedules

Most digital calendar programs let you create multiple "calendars", but instead of just separating your calendars by work, personal or subject, Francis Wade over at productivity blog Stepcase Lifehack recommends separating them in terms of the type of time they demand from you.

What this means that instead of separating them by subject — which can be helpful, but creates a cluttered, imprecise calendar — you separate them by whether they're busy time, deadlines or free time. Wade recommends five different views:

  • A Default calendar, that shows all your repeating appointments or activities. This is what your schedule looks like on a day to day basis, from sleeping to eating to exercising.
  • A "hard appointments" calendar, which denotes appointments that require you to be somewhere at a specific time (but that aren't regular). Dentist appointments, special meetings, and other one-off events that require your presence.
  • A "deadline" calendar, which are due dates rather than time spent elsewhere. This calendar is more like a to-do list, showing what you have coming up rather than where you need to be at a specific time.
  • A "blank time" view, which is "free" time specifically plotted out for unexpected events, catching up on unfinished work, or otherwise planning for things that come up at the last minute.
  • An "activity" view, which is time spent mostly on reviewing your tasks, managing your calendars, and otherwise dealing with the administration of your calendars and to-do lists.

You could, of course, have even more than that. Wade goes into much more detail over at Stepcase Lifehack, so I highly recommend you check out the article for the full details. It seems like a much more efficient way to calendar all your time in a way that informs without distracting, rather than throwing all your calendars on the same view at once.

Upgrade Your GTD Calendar and Keep Up with the Times [Stepcase Lifehack]


    Other plus here is if you use a profile switcher like Locale or Tasker, you have a lot more control over what events trigger profile changes.

    and a 6th calanedar for setting aside time to manage the other 5.

    My life depends on calendars working i run 2, 1 for work that syncs on my blackberry and 1 for personal life which syncs on my tablet and can be viewed from the blackberry. I have never felt the need to expand much past for personal use (i have lived in a share house in the past that had a share house calendar for things like Bins, Rent, Powerbill, etc...)

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