How I Manage My Time Now

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A few years ago I wrote a post detailing how I manage my time. Some things have changed since then, so I figured I'd take a few moments and document my current process and discuss how my process has changed and how it is working now.

I am still going to school - I've moved from Walters State Community College to the University of Tennessee. UT has less scheduling options for me, but work is really accommodating. I am still working full-time, so time management remains a focus of mine.

For me, time management equates to calendar management, task management, communication management, and information management.

Calendar Management

google calendar logo

Many of the tools that I wrote about in 2010 are things I still use today. Google Calendar remains in the toolkit - with a calendar for UT. Just last week I entered the important dates for the fall 2013 semester into this calendar so I know that classes start in a little over a month. I also have a number of other calendars - one for personal items that I've committed to, my work calendar, and another for family events (things that I've committed to doing with my family). My wife and son each have their google calendars that I add in to my google calendar view as well. Having all of these calendars makes it easy for me to keep up with everything that's going on in my life while letting me focus in on the pieces that I need to worry about vs just know about.

Task Management

OmniFocus logo

Probably the biggest change that I have made is that I have replaced Remember The Milk with OmniFocus I'm finding that OF solves a lot of the issues that I had with RTM, including the inability of RTM to have sub-tasks.

In OF, I have a folder in my library for "School" (I also have folders for "Home" and "Work") under which I have a folder for each semester, under which I have a folder for each class plus a folder for the "Admin Tasks". This lets me easily focus on one class at a time, or I can focus on school in general. Under each class, I'll typically create a "Single-Action List" for homework where I'll put the typical homework. Each homework gets its due-date set and I'll typically set a start date to be shortly before the due-date (following the pattern that I was using with RTM). Larger, more complicated assignments will get their own project with the various actions created under each of them - each with a due-date/start-date. I'll also create a project under each class for readings that I need to do during the semester - I use a project and set the type to sequential so that I always have one item from the reading on my to-do list (and since most reading re sequential, this works out well for me). I don't make heavy use of the contexts, but I do use it to indicate things that I need to be on-line to do vs just at my laptop.

Information Management

Information comes in a variety of forms. The three that I deal with most at school are lectures, e-mail and reference material.

Lectures Livescribe Pen Logo

By far, the biggest source of information during school comes in the form of lectures. I capture notes from the lectures with a LiveScribe pen; this pen records not only what I write, but also the audio at the time and it correlates the audio with the hand-writing. I can sync the notes (and audio recordings) with their desktop software, so I have a backup of my notes. I can export these pages as PDFs to easily share them. I can also share just the audio portion (in the typical case that I don't think someone else will be able to read my handwriting). The LiveScribe desktop software does some level of OCR that will allow me to easily search my notes. The best part is being able to listen to a portion of a lecture just by tapping on my notes with the pen.

As I take notes, I'll identify action items with a square-box in the left hand column of the page to make finding them afterwards easier. At the end of each day, I go over notes that I took during class, collect any to-dos that came from the class discussion, and add the to OF.


A lot of the information that I get about school comes in via e-mail. School e-mail is still managed separately from other e-mail and I still check this e-mail daily and process it in GTD fashion, but now I add any actions that come in via e-mail to OF. My method of archiving e-mail in a folder per semester still seems to be adequate.

Reference Material Evernote Logo

Evernote has become an increasing part of my memory system. I now have 817 notes in Evernote and am using it more and more each day. School specific notes are typically tagged with the class name and semester as well as a subject level tab where appropriate. The items that I'm adding into Evernote are typically reference items - links to web pages that further explain concepts discussed in class, etc.; I'll also capture images drawn on the board during class by the instructor as opposed to me re-drawing them in my notebook.

My manila folders are still around; any hand-outs that are given as well as copies of any work that I turn in get placed in this folder.

On The Go

Having all of this data is one thing - having it available is another. Fortunately, I've found ways to keep all of this information with me while on the go.

When mobile, I have an iPad and a Samsung Galaxy S3. The only down-side to this is that I don't have a single solution that works across both platforms, but I've found solutions that work for both.

Google Calendars was easy for both - using the iOS calendar app on the iPad and the google calendar app on the S3 I am able to access and update my calendars from anywhere.

OmniFocus was a bit tricker. OF has an iOS app that I purchased for the iPad. To get my OF list on my phone, I had to resort to syncing OF with Todo.txt (you can see the details here:

Evernote has an app for both the iPad and Android, so that too was easy.

I imagine this system will continue to be updated, but for now, it seems to be keeping me on track!

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