Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lists referring to lists alluding to lists

I've been updating my record-keeping and listing methods - both to work with my new teaching schedule this semester and to try out some techniques and products new to me.

It's getting a little unwieldy, honestly.
Some notebooks that need to be dealt with. Severely. 
I have more than ten tracking/listing systems that I consult multiple times per week and a few more that I consult less frequently or that fall into multiple lists but use the same system (that is, I have a course outline, a series of lesson plans, an attendance chart and a grade log for each course I teach, but I use the same system for each class).

Every couple of days I pull up my Google calendar on screen and pull out my course outlines and my food lists and I use the information on those to update my two-column to-do list for the next few days. This has been my system for years and it is working for me.

Lately, however, I've also been keeping track of some daily goals using Chains (anyone here tried that?) and I've also been tracking my spending in an attempt to budget. And I also have a "Long(ish)-Term planning" list for upcoming big semester projects. And a display list of goals for the year. And a draft of what my goals might be for next year. And a "Prep" checklist for getting ready for work the next day.

Scenario: On Wednesday night I see the entry in my to-do list that says "Prep Thurs." This reminds me to consult my Prep checklist. One of the things on that list is "update chains" and when I go to that website to log my progress, one of the chains is "track spending" so if I haven't done that yet I pull out my budgeting log for the month and write down the day's purchases. And then I go back to the Chain to update it, and then go back to my Prep checklist for the night, confirm I have Done the Things and then go back to my daily to-do list and cross off "Prep Thurs." It's a lot of steps.

I am attempting to keep track of things I have DONE in a meaningful way as well as keep track of things TO DO. These are different mindsets, but there must be a good way to streamline them!

Any suggestions? I have some ideas that I'll put in the comments, but I am eager for your ideas, too.


  1. Okay, my main idea is to consolidate. I can stop using chains (though I certainly see the appeal) and just use my GCal to log stuff after the fact. I can also consolidate my annual and long-term goals and strategies into one document. But by consolidating in those ways, I feel that I am giving up on the new stuff I was trying and just becoming more dependent on the strategies I already had in place. I don't think there's anything wrong with that per se, but perhaps there are new better ways that are not even occurring to me?

  2. Going to watch this thread carefully because I need a better to-do list management thing to do... something as consolidated as possible.
    Google tasks coordinates with calendar, which is good.
    But it won't let me coordinate separate lists into one master list, only switch between.
    I think I might need to wean myself off my paper calendar/planner because I don't update it as often as I update my computer one, and then I have fallen out of the habit of checking the paper one.

  3. Oh I wrote a long response which evidently never posted last week. Huh. Well, glad you have solved it now!