Your Calender, and setting appointments with yourself


I am greatly aware that while using GTD, a golden rule for Calender is to only mark appointments/commitments that you have with others.

Now, the clash comes with Steven Covey's mentality when he specifically asks you to schedule appointments with yourself, examples:
  • A Workout Routine
  • Sleeping/Waking up times
  • Writing in your Journal
  • Processing IN-box
A Reason to do so is to build up habits, however I do notice that when I try to overload a day, and totally miss the ball on it, it feels rather depressing, ANd David's right when saying after looking back on it, you can't possibly know what's real and what's not (Chapter 5 - Making it all work)

So I ask: What are your methods of incorporating Daily Habits into your Day?


The calendar has become golden to me since GTD. Barring something way out of my control, I am no longer late or accidentally miss something because I don't put everything under the sun on there anymore.

I have checklists for things that have to happen daily, several times a week, weekly, etc. Mine are tasks that show up at a scheduled date, electronically (you can also have a paper checklist). They are not scheduled as calendar items. I guess one could call them appointments at no particular time with myself.

Those checklist items could include affirmations, habits I'm working on and regular maintenance stuff. Examples I have right now: "write 15 minutes in journal", "weekly manicure", "read 1 hour ECM/BPM". Habits are on there until I think I've got it. They come right back on the list, if I fall back into the old mode. As I do those items, I can check them off. The only thing that I would schedule is if I want something to happen at a particular time, such as wake and sleep times. If something doesn't get done because of other pressing matters, I just delete the task for that day. Rinse. Repeat next day.


Daily Checklist

I use a notebook I designed. My Next Actions lists go side by side with my Calendar (weekly wiew). The first list is the Daily Checklist, that's for my habits. Attached is a sample. May be you can download it and use it :).
As you can see, there is place to check off seven days for each habit. I use a new list every week.

The design is based on a template that can be found at The Daily Checklist though was added by me.

EDIT: During this last weekly review I modified my Habits - Daily Checklist form, because having it together with a Next Actions list was not very practical - I had to copy that list to the next week. So now it stands alone. Attached is the modified form. It cannot be downloaded from the forum (sorry) but it gives the idea.

Attached files


Appointments with myself

I do block out some calendar time with myself. One daily example is lunch. At one point my calendar was so crazy that I found myself not watching carefully and accepting so many meeting invites that there was no time for lunch. So I set a recurring appointment with myself for lunch.

Things have since settled down, but I keep the daily lunch appointment as protection for future crazy times and to prompt myself to question if I really want to move my lunch time to accept a meeting at the time when I usually take lunch. Usually when asked the meeting organizer will either gladly reschedule or realize that he had not mentioned that lunch would served.

An extension of this idea is when you need time to meet with yourself each day but the interruptions are too frequent. Reserve some time on your calendar so you will not fill your day with meetings, and use the time to work on the most important thing at that time (which will not necessarily be the thing you would have created the meeting for in the first place). When things are very busy I often set a recurring morning appointment with myself to make sure I have time to work on either defined work (if the morning is calm) or work as it appears (if it is one of those mornings).

I do not think that GTD advocates against this sort of thing. Just against the idea of using the calendar as a task list and degrading its usefulness.


i mention this a fair bit in my GTD Series, in part 5 of my contexts and execution, I always start off my day planning on my iPod Touch Calendar what are the appointments with specific chunks or task or modes of focus that i put myself in.

Then depending on which locational context in i further filter if there are additional modes or focus or chunks of tasks that i should do.



I have a template list of daily things to do (i.e. workout, take vitamins, feed cats) that I print onto a 4x6 index card, with one card per day. This is separate from my Next Actions list; I keep recurring tasks on the card and out of my lists so I don't (a) lose sight of them or (b) have to rewrite the whole list each and every day.

I also leave blank spaces on each card for me to transfer any appointments from my calendar to the card as a reminder, i.e. "Meet Rob at 10am for coffee." If any Next Action MUST be done that day, I also list it. This means I work off the card primarily, and when I have time, I work on other Next Actions.

I'm an efficiency consultant and I strongly discourage clients to schedule things that don't *have* to be done at a specific time (i.e. workout) because that disrupts the flow of your entire day. What if you're in a deeply concentrated mood and making progress on an important project, and then you notice it's 7:15 and that's the time you're supposed to exercise? You disrupt your concentrated mood needlessly, when you could easily exercise later. Productivity increases if you match the task you're working on with your mood and environment.


I didn't realise that was a golden rule of GTD! - where does it say that, out of interest?

EDIT - Thanks mmurray, I get it now!


El_Stiff;72722 said:
I didn't realise that was a golden rule of GTD! - where does it say that, out of interest?
Don't put on other peoples calendars what you don't want them to put on yours???:p

Only kidding. The GTD golden rule is to only use the calendar for things that really have to happen on a certain day or at a certain time. Don't fill it with things that you would like to do but might not get around to. To quote from GTD

The calendar should show only the "hard landscape" around which you do the rest of your actions.


I do something like Marcelo: my weekly template is here:
(not the best scan but it works for me!)

There are no specific times for the habits I want to work on/include into every day, I just mark it 'done' with a tick or put a 'minus' ('-') when I don't do them!

That way, I can see that my goal of going for a walk/jog 3x a week is nicely going along, next target is 1x a day every day...

I don't give myself 'points' as such any more (this proved to be too complicated) I just notice amount of times I did something, and brainstorm on how to make it easier or more enjoyable at the weekly review!

I put specific things that need to be done at a certain day/time into the space assigned below the days, and some things that need to be done that week in the empty space above the week day or on the far right above.

The part below is for any 'interruptions' or specifics/details that need to be written down, or notes. It could also be used to block time, haven't really done that yet.
There are no hours in that part, you can start and end each day whenever you want, and just fill it in... I write the dates in by hand too, it's easier than changing the template every week.. :)

The box on the far right below is for things I want to check off (at least) weekly.. Like the weekly review! :)