I started with the wall calendar. We still use an old-fashioned wall calendar. Each month features a different photo of my two kids. I have been making these calendars for myself and my mother-in-law for more than 10 years. The kids now know that if they’re out and about together — at the pool, hiking in the woods, dressed up for Easter — someone will make them stand next to each other and smile for a calendar photo.
They don’t always smile.
The wall calendar is for the big events that the whole family needs to reference — birthdays, anniversaries, ball games, spring break. The last week of December always winds up covered in a clump of little sticky notes, which is how I keep track of events for the coming year until I can buy a new calendar.
After I filled out the wall calendar, I checked my husband’s Google calendar for any work trips he has scheduled. I have my own Google calendar, but it’s for work deadlines and I don’t like to look at it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Next I cracked open my new weekly planner. The weekly planner is command central. It is where I keep track of dentist’s appointments, yoga class, Trivia Night at Mellow Mushroom and other things that won’t fit in those little squares on the wall calendar.
My daughter got me a new planner for Christmas, and the page layout is not the same as last year’s planner. If I miss yoga class this week, it’s because Friday is in a different place.
The planner is also where I had been keeping my to-do list, but I wasn’t getting much done because I was spending too much time copying over the list every week. This year I am keeping my to-do list on my phone, using an app called Carrot. Carrot has a personality, like Siri. Except Siri is nice.
Carrot is not the carrot. She is the stick. If it’s been a few hours since I crossed anything off my list, she sends me insulting reminders. (“Slacker!”) If it’s been more than a day since I crossed anything off my list, she gets mad and turns the screen an ugly shade of black.
When I do cross things off my list, I get rewarded. On one particularly productive day, Carrot gave me a kitten. I named him Captain Whiskers. I can pet my virtual kitten, and feed my virtual kitten — but only if I cross enough things off my list.
After transferring all the items from my weekly planner to Carrot, my to-do list grew to 39 items. I started to worry about my kitten. So I entered “update calendars” on my to-do list, then immediately crossed it off.
Now I am worried that my phone will die and I will lose my to-do list. I need to remind myself to sync my phone every week, but I’m not sure where to write that reminder.
Contact Lisa Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org