August 3, 2011

Getting Things Done: Creative Uses for Calendars

  —Tickler files for calendar events.

Here is an example of why I really enjoy the practical and simple advice in David Allen's book Getting Things Done: today, I received a couple of invitations. One invitation is for a talk and another is for a weekend retreat.

I have to RSVP for the weekend retreat in a couple of weeks. Of course, I don't know if I can make the retreat so I need to defer the decision on whether to RSVP or not. The other invitation is something I will attend if my day opens up. How to effectively manage the RSVP other event so that I don't simply forget about them?

David has a section in Getting Things Done on things you can add to calendars. He suggests that in addition storing appointments, calendars can be used for the following.

  • As triggers for activating projects.
  • Reminding you events you might want to participate in or attend.
  • As decision catalysts (big decisions that you need to make but which you want to defer until later).

Problem solved. I added both events to a calendar and stored the RSVP in a tickler file. I finish the whole exercise confident that I will get a reminder about the RSVP and the event at the appropriate time.

I find that using a separate calendar, different from the one that holds my appointments is useful. Then these optional events aren't in the way of my daily appointments and they don't distract me while I am working.
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