Enable my anal retentive side
March 2, 2012 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I would like to schedule every day from now until the end of my semester. I would like that schedule to work as a checklist, where every item I need to complete, even regularly recurring ones such as attending class and making dinner, are checklist items I can check off. I have a laptop but not a smartphone.

Psychologically, I know that checking items off a list is incredibly helpful to me. It allows me to feel a sense of personal progress, accomplishment, and movement toward my goals. But I also need to be extremely mindful of scheduling for the next few months, so checklist items must be tightly integrated with my scheduling. For example, I need to study for x-hours a day/week, and need a way to track that that is happening every day/week.

Right now I'm using iCal which has a checklist, but the checklist is not well-integrated with the calendar function. As far as I understand google calendar is not much better at this, but feel free to tell me if I can use google calendar better for this.

posted by latkes to Technology (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
whenever i need a checklist to carry around, i usually make myself an 8-page book out of a single sheet of paper...it's usually just the right size...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:07 AM on March 2, 2012

Gcal has "tasks" that print at the top or bottom of the calendar page if you want them to.

You can also schedule recurring events such as B,L,D and laundry.

Personally, I like toodledo, which is a (free) website & smartphone app but setting it up might be more distracting than useful at this time.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 9:25 AM on March 2, 2012

Respectfully, I recommend that you just make a list (no-frills, on paper or in a text file or something) of the things you need to do.

Making to-do lists and rigorously scheduling out my time is the #1 way I procrastinate. I've wasted more time trying to budget my time than anyone should.

Don't be me. Just get started.
posted by phunniemee at 10:10 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, good point phunniemee. I don't want to waste any extra time on this but it just seems so easy - I wish there was some easy way to do it. I just spent about 30 minutes on toodledo and am afraid it's not worth the time input.

What I really wish is this: when I create a to-do list item in ical, why can't I make that item simply post to my ical calendar?! Then I get all my calendar items in one place (my calendar) plus I get to click a check box. That's all I really need. Oh well.

If anyone has other ideas let me know but I may have to just continue cobbling together to-do lists with calendars.
posted by latkes at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2012

I think the best option would be a Google Docs form. Create a checklist, print a stack out, and fill it out with a pencil and paper during the day. At the end of the day, you can fill out the master form online and the results will be automatically compiled in a timestamped spreadsheet.

I do this to track things like exercise and health habits and I love having an easy way to both be on autopilot and to have a nice database where I can track my progress.
posted by cakebatter at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2012

How about scheduling all tasks in the calendar (especially easy with recurring ones) and as a way of checking them off you just change the color when you are done with a particular task on that day? Or keep two calendars and move the task entry to the done calendar when done with it.
posted by meijusa at 10:50 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

I love this question - I've been in the same situation and done something similar, and I've been through the frustration of not finding a digital solution that matches the one in my head. I resort to paper, to actually using a quad-ruled, bound notebook and drawing out monthly grid calendars on some pages and making pages with the right sorts of lists, for the amount of time I need. I know this is criticisable as a distraction/avoidance technique, but resistance (and searching for a better way of doing it) takes longer than just doing what I feel the instinctive need to do. I have the same sort of ritual with dissertation/article/whatever writing, where an important part of the process is setting up the doc in LaTeX - the mechanical aspects of it help me take a step back, think of the big picture, plan - there's stuff going on in my head which is useful, even though it looks like I'm just sharpening pencils and adjusting the deck chairs. To each his own - if this is what you need and you trust yourself not to be procrastinating, I think it's worth imagining and then creating the solution you need.

Digitally, the things that have come closest to helping me are either a) programming my phone alarms to tell me when to do things, and b) an android ap called astrid, and an agreement with myself that I will do as I'm told whether I want to or not. Phone/astrid says yoga is now for 20 minutes? No arguing, just shut up and do it.

Good luck!
posted by magdalenstreetladies at 10:59 AM on March 2, 2012

I use a combination of Things and iCal.

I enter the to-dos in Things. You can enter repeating to-dos, but you're limited to daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly (not M-W-F, for example).

Things syncs with iCal, and the to-dos appear in the right sidebar.

To schedule my week, I either drag the to-do item into the calendar, or I enter stuff in the calendar using the to-do list as a reference. Either way, when I've done each thing, I can check it off in either iCal or Things.
posted by ceiba at 12:30 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: ceiba - I didn't realize I could drag items back and forth in iCal! I'm now dragging all my calendar items to my to-do list. This is a good solution for me for now! Thanks so much!
posted by latkes at 1:06 PM on March 2, 2012

There's Highrise...it's a web application. It's ok, you can't automatically get items to repeat. But it definitely has the check-off feature that you're looking for, and you can schedule your tasks for specific days and times.
posted by Jade_bug at 10:33 PM on March 2, 2012

If it's all in your calendar why don't you just print out your weekly calendar on one A4 sheet and mark them off as you complete them? This may be old fashioned but it's what personal assistents used to do and still do depending on how technology savvy their charges are.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:14 AM on March 3, 2012

ok, can't type or spell today - assistants not assistents
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:16 AM on March 3, 2012

Try Remember The Milk (rememberthemilk.com). I have found it to be an awesome to-do list manager. You can have different lists (home, school) and recurring tasks, and yes, you check them off. You can get a remember the milk gadget for google calendar that adds a small task icon to the top of each day. From there you can edit or check off tasks.
posted by madscientist01 at 1:17 PM on March 3, 2012

I just got a new job that involves planning my time carefully. At the end if each day I just write out all of the things that I need to do (pulling from my head, my notebook, things I didn't get done that day). I figure out how important/urgent they are, and I decide if I'm going to do them today, tomorrow, or later. Then i enter that into my calendar and print my calendar out. It's simple.
posted by jander03 at 2:30 PM on March 3, 2012

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