Time is a precious resource that cannot be regenerated. Every task in work, daily chores, learning interests, or new skills requires time. To have precise control and be at ease? In reality, this is a challenging task.
Separate Life and Work Affairs#
We need to separate life and work. When using Calendar to manage goals, its usage scope should be clear. For example, record TODOs, OKRs, or reminders for appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Based on personal preferences and goals to be achieved, clarify the usage method of the calendar.
Once determined, other unrelated miscellaneous matters should not be included.
I hand over the trivialities of life to "TickTick", which includes shopping, life, various electricity bills, water bills, installment reminders, etc. After completing a task, I check it off, and my mind feels refreshed.
Although TickTick can be categorized by using different folders to separate life and work, from a personal perspective, TickTick is more like a garbage cleaning tool.
If work tasks are placed in TickTick, on one hand, it feels less important; on the other hand, life and work should be treated separately.
I don't want to see any unfinished work-related tasks in my to-do list after work. It's so annoying!
The only purpose of those unimportant fragmented tasks is to remind me not to forget to do them, but even if I forget, it doesn't matter. To avoid storing too much unnecessary information in the brain, such as "go to the supermarket to buy milk at night" or "change the oil for the car"... Although the data is very small, it still occupies brain memory.
The key is that work tasks usually take a complete time period and cannot be completed at a specific time. They are relatively complex and change with certain variables. Work requires collaboration, and one person cannot accurately grasp the progress.
In short, if tasks cannot be cleared in a timely manner in the to-do list, it will cause mental burden.
Different Tasks Require Different Management Tools#
Different tasks, different projects, different habits... require different apps to manage them separately.
Give wedding anniversaries, family birthdays, etc. to "Countdown". This app has very beautiful desktop widgets that show how many days are left until someone's birthday and remind me to buy gifts🙃.
There is also an app called "Drip Progress" that can record the time progress of specific projects. For example, "Yangmei Wine" has been soaking for "6 months and 29 days"; "It has been 4 months and 9 days since the last gout attack". It can intuitively monitor the subtle changes in certain foods, unique flavors, and quietly ferment. That is the taste of time.
It is not difficult to see that various tasks are categorized and managed separately. However, there are still obstacles to work project management. There is some resistance in my heart. Going to work means slacking off. Don't give me trouble!
Sometimes we just want to do things smoothly, so that we can have more time to slack off🐟.
If we are entangled in work chores all day long, feeling overwhelmed and being led by work, this is not the result we want.
Use Calendar to Define Work Time#
On the calendar, determine the work time, mentally separate life and work, and clarify the boundaries between life and work.
Use a weekly display on the calendar, showing five days a week, and divide each day into "8:00-11:00" and "13:00-17:00" as effective work time blocks. All work tasks are planned or recorded by dragging and dropping on the timeline of the current day.
Unless you are not confident and need others to collaborate, once a task is assigned to a specific time block, it should be taken seriously and completed as scheduled as much as possible, or do something related to work during a certain time period.
At first, I liked to add labels to work schedules, such as: taking photos, shooting videos, designing posters, etc. The advantage of this is that it can be displayed in tables in Notion. For example, how many photos did I take, how many videos did I edit, and how many posters did I design this year, this month. This quantitative data is very eye-catching when making reports at the end of the year.
This year, I didn't divide it into such detailed categories. I recorded the effective focus during work time in chronological order. Anything unrelated to work during work time is handed over to TickTick.
So there are two calendars, one for life and one for work.
Time management is based on "things that will definitely happen", and schedules without fixed times are meaningless.
When the time comes, if you don't act, if you don't follow the schedule, it is at most a reminder. You can hypnotize yourself into thinking that you have done a lot of things from the full grids of each month.
Are trivial matters considered schedules? Polishing shoes, bringing meals to my wife... these are far from goal management. Using Calendar in this way can be regarded as an extension or supplement to a diary.
But we need Calendar not only as a diary, but also a specific way of writing a diary.
The calendar, one small grid per day, its shape design sets limits.
Don't fill in irrelevant tasks in the grids to deceive yourself.
The core of the schedule is the timeline. You do things from top to bottom, from left to right, in chronological order.
What you did on that day is fully displayed.
Tasks without start and end times should not be put on the schedule. Tasks without fixed times are difficult to execute and are prone to hesitation.
Difference Between TODO and Calendar#
The difference between TODO and Calendar is that the former has flexible tasks and the result is the final completion. What does that mean? Today, I need to wash the car, remember to recharge my phone in the morning, buy a USB flash drive on Taobao... These tasks have no fixed time, and once completed, they can be crossed off without looking back.
Calendar records linearly based on chronological order. Don't bring the TODO mindset into calendar management.
The usage of Calendar is to drag and drop time blocks and follow the chronological order: "8:00-9:30 Prepare PPT for the meeting", "10:00-11:00 Design the master poster" ... Learn about Ivan Petrovich Pavlov's time management method.
Whether it is a pre-planned schedule or a schedule recorded after completing a task, it doesn't matter, as long as it records the effective work events of the day.
Pay attention, the key point here is "effective". Don't fill in things like going to the bathroom, what to eat for lunch, how many cups of water to drink, and repetitive meaningless things.
Anytime, anywhere, keep your mind clear. The calendar grid is small, so the work calendar should only include work-related matters.
What's the use of recording the work of the day? How is it different from recording a list of work tasks in TODO and crossing them off one by one? There is a difference. TODO does not look back, crossing it off is equivalent to deletion, telling the brain that this matter is over, game over, and releasing brain memory.
No one will look for how much phone bill you paid three years ago. Of course, there is also a certain function similar to a supermarket receipt, such as when someone asks me how much the shoes I bought last time cost. I can quickly search and find that list. But the frequency of searching for records like this is very low.
I have never used the search function in TickTick. Its greatest function is to record trivial matters and discard them after completion to keep the mind clear. You are not Lu Xun, who cares about what you eat and watch today.
Calendar needs to be reviewed, starting from a week of five days. What did I do during this week? Which time period did I do what, and how long did it take? It is difficult to see in one day, but in a week or a month, you can gradually feel something different, which is called "routine".
Take design as an example. Any project is composed of small components. Shooting, retouching, editing, copywriting, how long does each task take? Through accumulation over time, you can get more and more accurate feedback, thereby building confidence in completing large projects and being able to provide specific time limits, appearing professional and capable.
Reviewing Schedules to Find Your Work Rhythm#
By reviewing the accumulated schedules in Calendar, repeatedly pondering, and finding the rhythm of doing things quickly and well. This is commonly known as work rhythm.
The pitfall here is to completely copy Ivan Petrovich Pavlov's time management. Eating, drinking, sleeping, and going to the bathroom, every little thing is recorded. The timeline is so dense that it feels suffocating to look at such a schedule.
Who works like this? 80% of the time is spent slacking off, okay?
After Notion Calendar was updated, I had the idea of going ALL IN ONE. Originally, I synchronized the completed tasks in TickTick to Notion Calendar through "Tencent QQLian". Why did I do this?
By categorizing tasks in TickTick, such as design, writing, life... Notion uses one set of data to filter different categories, so you get: design calendar, writing calendar, life calendar.
Actually, it's not very useful, just looking clean and feeling that my work is logical and hierarchical.
Notion Calendar makes up for the shortcomings of the original Notion calendar and can stack several calendars like painting layers. You can click on the small eye of the calendar you want to view.
Life Calendar: Synchronize the miscellaneous list of life in TickTick with a Notion calendar, usually without opening it, just as a backup.
Work Calendar: Create a new Work Calendar in Notion, set the display mode as a five-day timeline, and record events based on effective focus during the day.
When recording events, you can use a hashtag like #writing as a prefix. Later, in Notion, you can use the filtering function to separate it into a separate page for easy statistics. Notion AI can extract fixed-format text from titles, which is also very useful.
Every time you write a schedule, you need to add an extra "@design Complete a master series poster". It seems troublesome. If you are sure that you will not use separate pages for statistics in Notion later, you don't need to use this writing method.
Because the options for recording events in Notion Calendar are currently limited and there is no corresponding attribute to select tags, you have to manually create recognizable characters in the title for filtering.
Some people are upset because Notion products do not have Chinese language support and find it troublesome to use a VPN. But good tools can make your work more efficient, broaden your thinking, and achieve twice the result with half the effort.
Methods are always more than difficulties. Don't let some trivial problems block you from using the world's leading efficiency tools.
Notion Calendar is an independent product. It is the tentacle of Notion and is still in its infancy, with a promising future.
We can use it to find our own work rhythm.
Let's keep things simple and be the best.