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Synchronizing my digital and analog weekly and daily planner

Some people who see how my daily workflow happens in real life seem to be taken aback by the fact that I synchronize my digital and analog daily and weekly plans. To them, it would appear as though I take longer to plan my life than to actually execute it. This isn’t the case. It’s quite simple because everything that goes on my weekly plan (which I write on one of my campus office whiteboards) is synchronized with my digital and analog calendars.

My weekly plan (on the whiteboard) is synchronized with my Everything Notebook.

Synchronizing weekly plans

To-Do Lists in my Everything NotebookAs you can see, everything that was planned on my Weekly Plan (on the whiteboard) is also transferred to my Everything Notebook. I need the analog version so that I can check off stuff that I am working on, and so that I can have a daily reminder of what I am doing when. For example, it is crucial to me to wake up and see what exactly I’m supposed to be doing on which day. So I open my Everything Notebook on the week where I’m supposed to be working, and I see what tasks I have due and by when. When I arrive to campus, I know for a fact that I can check off both on the whiteboard and on the Everything Notebook what I’ve already accomplished. By Friday, I erase those things I completed from the whiteboard. But everything is also digitally synchronized. I use Google Calendar for everything. I block weekly class-meeting schedules, office hours, and time to write.

Since I am sometimes absent-minded, I require having a Google Calendar alert that reminds me of where I should be when I should be. On Fridays, after everything is said and done, I clear my weekly plan and leave on whatever I didn’t accomplish, and then refill with new tasks.

Synchronizing weekly plans

Because I know that “things happen”, sometimes I need to migrate tasks from one day to another (which is why the green arrows point a task to a different day).

Synchronization of my weekly plan to google calendar

The tasks that have specific dates and times (like my teaching, and meetings) are blocked into my Google Calendar directly.

Schedule Week 2 August 2016

And at the end of the day, everything is synchronized. This process takes literally 30 seconds to run, and 5-15 minutes to set up. Hopefully my method will be useful to other folks!

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2 Responses

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  1. Branden Born says

    Estimado RPV:
    It’s summer, my productivity is waning, but my workcrastination is really on point. 🙂
    One thing I try to do before the academic year starts is tweak my workflow and systems. I use something like your everyday notebook, though I *think* I differ in that I use it chronologically and don’t set aside any sections ahead of time (well, almost). Is that what you do? Also, you make a crucial point about syncing the list of things to do with your calendar. This was a major improvement for me: I used to just try to schedule those items in the “blank space” in my calendar, and that, of course, led to a lot of wasted time. Now, if I do something off-schedule or off-task, at least I know what the costs are. I also can see that I already don’t have enough time to do everything, so it helps/forces me to prioritize. So, I love that you do that, too. Now, the thing I don’t understand your use of is the whiteboard. What purpose does it serve that the Everything Notebook does not? I might be using an electronic to-do list for a similar purpose, but I’m not sure. I use Todoist, which interfaces with Google Calendar to both track my to-do lists, organize the tasks into projects (particularly to check the alignment of effort with P&T standards), and to place them at specific times in my calendar.
    As always, thanks for sharing your fine work.

  2. Raul Pacheco-Vega says

    Dear Branden,

    The Project Whiteboard is just an Overview Device that gives me a “bird’s eye” view of my week and my projects slate.

    Thanks for your kind words!
    As for the similarity between our processes re: Everything Notebook, chronological and pre-determined, I agree, chrono works well.

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