About the calendar

Travello

Registered
Hi friends

The book lists appointments, day specific information and day specific action as the only things that should go on the calendar.

So I am not allowed to put lunch in on my calendar? My work schedule? How else do I know when to eat and when to work? (I am self employed and set my own schedule). Should I create a separate work schedule? How do I handle this?

Thanks
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Hi friends

The book lists appointments, day specific information and day specific action as the only things that should go on the calendar.

So I am not allowed to put lunch in on my calendar? My work schedule? How else do I know when to eat and when to work? (I am self employed and set my own schedule). Should I create a separate work schedule? How do I handle this?

Thanks
You can put on your calendar whatever you want that makes you the best you can be. I routinely add project and areas of focus blocks on my calendar, exercise time, personal hobbies time, date night with my wife time, etc.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Hi friends

The book lists appointments, day specific information and day specific action as the only things that should go on the calendar.

So I am not allowed to put lunch in on my calendar? My work schedule? How else do I know when to eat and when to work? (I am self employed and set my own schedule). Should I create a separate work schedule? How do I handle this?

Thanks
What do you do now? If you put lunch on your calendar, you might want to continue. If it helps you to have regular work hours (or you track time for billing), do what works for you. What David Allen is telling you is that ALL your commitments with fixed times should be on your calendar so you don’t miss them. Also, NONE of the things where you have not committed to a fixed time or date should be on your calendar. It’s ok to have tentative events on your calendar for day-of decisions, but you don’t want to enter as a commitment something you probably won’t do. It causes a terrible strain on you, and can give rise to all kinds of negative feelings.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
What do you do now? If you put lunch on your calendar, you might want to continue. If it helps you to have regular work hours (or you track time for billing), do what works for you. What David Allen is telling you is that ALL your commitments with fixed times should be on your calendar so you don’t miss them. Also, NONE of the things where you have not committed to a fixed time or date should be on your calendar. It’s ok to have tentative events on your calendar for day-of decisions, but you don’t want to enter as a commitment something you probably won’t do. It causes a terrible strain on you, and can give rise to all kinds of negative feelings.
If I have committed to doing something on a major project on a specific day and time -- even though it does NOT have to be done then, I will block time on my calendar. So I disagree with David on this one.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
If I have committed to doing something on a major project on a specific day and time -- even though it does NOT have to be done then, I will block time on my calendar. So I disagree with David on this one.
Longstreet, I don’t think there is really a disagreement, probably not with David Allen and certainly not with me. Calendar commitments, once made, should be kept or renegotiated. This includes "meetings with yourself”, a phrase I learned from David. I have many meetings that don’t have to be done when they occur, but I honor my commitments.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Longstreet, I don’t think there is really a disagreement, probably not with David Allen and certainly not with me. Calendar commitments, once made, should be kept or renegotiated. This includes "meetings with yourself”, a phrase I learned from David. I have many meetings that don’t have to be done when they occur, but I honor my commitments.
I honor my commitments -- and those to myself - as well. Agreed! :)
 

TesTeq

Registered
The book lists appointments, day specific information and day specific action as the only things that should go on the calendar.

So I am not allowed to put lunch in on my calendar? My work schedule? How else do I know when to eat and when to work? (I am self employed and set my own schedule). Should I create a separate work schedule? How do I handle this?
Is lunch an appointment or an action with a specified date and time? Yes, it is! Schedule it!
Are items of your work schedule actions? Maybe... If so, schedule them!
You can use a separate calendar for your weekly and daily schedules.
 

Gardener

Registered
Your lunch is an appointment. Your work is an appointment.

Now, I work the same hours most days and eat lunch the same time most days, so I have no real need to put them on my calendar. But I see no problem with putting them there, even if you're on the "don't schedule work tasks" side of the debate.
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
@Travello, you're "allowed" to put whatever you want on the calendar. Think of Getting Things Done not as a set of commandments but as a set of behaviors David Allen recommends as best practices. And even if you choose to do GTD by the book as I do, you'll find that there are as many ways to implement the ideas presented therein as there are individuals who choose to practice the methodology.

I realize this may seem daunting at first, particularly if you're looking for someone or something to reduce the uncertainty in your life. I've come to see this as a blessing, not a burden, though. Because the framework presented in GTD is flexible and adaptable, it doesn't break under the stresses of daily living.

@mcogilvie did a good job already of summing up how David Allen recommends you use the calendar. And I'll echo what he and others have said: if putting your work schedule and lunch breaks in the calendar helps you, then by all means do so. Those are date-and-time-specific activities.

I will add two things. First, I think of GTD as something to help manage those things in my life that are not on "cruise control." For instance, I don't need to put "brush and floss teeth" anywhere in my system because it's a habit. "Go to work" falls under that category for me as well because even though I work from home, I keep regular business hours and I make the decision about whether or not to do work after hours based on how much is on my plate at the time and whether I have any personal commitments in the evening. Eating meals is also a habit and one I don't need to schedule, because my work doesn't demand that I eat at set times.

Does your work schedule vary based on some external factors that are difficult to track in your head? Does the same hold true for your lunch breaks? Then schedule them. If not, you may not want to add them to your calendar because of the risk that they'll just be so much noise that numbs you to the things in your calendar that really are date- and/or time-specific and really need to be tracked externally.

Second, I have ADHD so certain things that are easy for others to manage are not for me. I got into a habit of trying to manage them on my calendar rationalizing that to some extent these things were time-sensitive -- if I don't regularly update the system we use at work to track my sales opportunities or remember to pre-book my classes at the gym ahead of time, for example, there are negative consequences. But when I couldn't get those things done on the dates I had chosen in my calendar, it was causing exactly the sort of stress and negative feelings that @mcogilvie referred to. And it was all so unnecessary to experience that stress, because these were things I could do on a different day if needed. So I don't put them on my calendar anymore and have found other ways to remind myself about them.
 
Last edited:

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
@Travello, you're "allowed" to put whatever you want on the calendar. Think of Getting Things Done not as a set of commandments but as a set of behaviors David Allen recommends as best practices. And even if you choose to do GTD by the book as I do, you'll find that there are as many ways to implement the ideas presented therein as there are individuals who choose to practice the methodology.

I realize this may seem daunting at first, particularly if you're looking for someone or something to reduce the uncertainty in your life. I've come to see this as a blessing, not a burden, though. Because the framework presented in GTD is flexible and adaptable, it doesn't break under the stresses of daily living.

@mcogilvie did a good job already of summing up how David Allen recommends you use the calendar. And I'll echo what he and others have said: if putting your work schedule and lunch breaks in the calendar helps you, then by all means do so. Those are date-and-time-specific activities.

I will add two things. First, I think of GTD as something to help manage those things in my life that are not on "cruise control." For instance, I don't need to put "brush and floss teeth" anywhere in my system because it's a habit. "Go to work" falls under that category for me as well because even though I work from home, I keep regular business hours and I make the decision about whether or not to do work after hours based on how much is on my plate at the time and whether I have any personal commitments in the evening. Eating meals is also a habit and one I don't need to schedule, because my work doesn't demand that I eat at set times.

Does your work schedule vary based on some external factors that are difficult to track in your head? Does the same hold true for your lunch breaks? Then schedule them. If not, you may not want to add them to your calendar because of the risk that they'll just be so much noise that numbs you to the things in your calendar that really are date- and/or time-specific.

Second, I have ADHD so certain things that are easy for others to manage are not for me. I got into a habit of trying to manage them on my calendar rationalizing that to some extent these things were time-sensitive -- if I don't regularly update the system we use at work to track my sales opportunities or remember to pre-book my classes at the gym ahead of time, for example, there are negative consequences. But when I couldn't get those things done on the dates I had chosen in my calendar, it was causing exactly the sort of stress and negative feelings that @mcogilvie referred to. And it was all so unnecessary to experience that stress, because these were things I could do on a different day if needed. So I don't put them on my calendar anymore and have found other ways to remind myself about them.
An excellent piece! Thanks for sharing your wisdom. :)
 

2097

Registered
If I have committed to doing something on a major project on a specific day and time -- even though it does NOT have to be done then, I will block time on my calendar. So I disagree with David on this one.
I started GTD in my mid twenties and before that my life was absolutely broken. I was in and out through doors and windows pretty much. No job, failing grades, long blank periods in my resume (just slacking and watching TV pretty much). And after I started GTD I became very productive and organized.

I remember the one time I tried to get organized I put "vacuum floor" in my calendar. And it didn't get done and I kept moving it up a few days and each day I moved it up it stung more and more. This was a few years before I found GTD.

For me the fact that the context-lists are dateless actions to be done as soon as possible but no sooner is so perfect. On the calendar I put in appointments with other people. And booked things like the laundry room or tickets to shows.

Your mileage obviously varies on this, and that's cool!

In the morning I work from the context lists.
When I get hungry I cook and eat. A lot of my recipes need forward planning. If so, I put the "do before"-stuff on the context lists so I'll have done that "before". And then when it's time to cook I can just add these ready made fancy homecooked sauces or w/e.

And if I want to write a novel I put "write novel" on the project list and "write on novel" on the @keyboard list.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
I started GTD in my mid twenties and before that my life was absolutely broken. I was in and out through doors and windows pretty much. No job, failing grades, long blank periods in my resume (just slacking and watching TV pretty much). And after I started GTD I became very productive and organized.

I remember the one time I tried to get organized I put "vacuum floor" in my calendar. And it didn't get done and I kept moving it up a few days and each day I moved it up it stung more and more. This was a few years before I found GTD.

For me the fact that the context-lists are dateless actions to be done as soon as possible but no sooner is so perfect. On the calendar I put in appointments with other people. And booked things like the laundry room or tickets to shows.

Your mileage obviously varies on this, and that's cool!

In the morning I work from the context lists.
When I get hungry I cook and eat. A lot of my recipes need forward planning. If so, I put the "do before"-stuff on the context lists so I'll have done that "before". And then when it's time to cook I can just add these ready made fancy homecooked sauces or w/e.

And if I want to write a novel I put "write novel" on the project list and "write on novel" on the @keyboard list.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom! I too love working from my context lists. As I have said, I time block very strategically to protect time on my calendar so that I can do work. I am in an environment where meetings can magically appear on any open space. Hence, my protection of an appointment with myself. Cheers!
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Ah, I see, so what you're ultimately doing is to temporarily turn off that feature. You're clearing up your hard landscape as compared to cluttering it down.
Exactly. It is all about time allocation and protecting my time for focused work.
 
Top