Smarter Monkeys Use Tools

  I like to keep my life bordering on the edge of overwhelming chaos.  I’m the sort of person who, if I don’t have almost too much to do, I don’t do anything.  Right now for instance, in addition to this blog, I’m raising a toddler, taking a class for grad school, running for city council, operating a small children’s clothing business (g.c.b. Fashionable Baby Clothing, check it out!), taking two dance classes, fitting in a trip to the gym once a week or so, re-landscaping our yard…and everything else that goes with running a household.  Oh.  And the 50-odd sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery and cooking projects I tend to do too.

  I’m exhausted just listing all that.
  So how on Earth do I keep from forgetting my name with all that going on?  Please, please do not assume I’m just naturally organized.  Believe me, I’m not.  Any of my long time friends can tell you I’m an incurable flake.  In college, the first time I lived outside of the dorms my mom got really concerned with how thin I’d gotten.  It wasn’t some new diet plan…it was just that nobody was cooking for me and I sort of forgot to eat.
  So if I can’t keep track of the idea that I ought to eat, how do I keep track of when I should sweep the floors or do the laundry?  Easy.  I have robots remember for me.
  Wait.  Google counts as a robot, right?
  A few years back I found this site.  I tried it out, and while I liked the general idea of it (emailed reminders of what to clean each day), it very quickly seemed like I was mostly getting spam email from them.  About their products, about their workshops…about everything but the cleaning reminders that were all I was looking for.  It was a fabulous starting point for me, but I’ve found something that works better.
My task calendar for today
  If you don’t already have a Google calendar, you’re missing out.  Unlike old fashioned, paper calendars, this one will harass you til no end until you remember something!  Well… only if you ask it to…but I do ask it to!
  If you already have a Google calendar set up, this is how I use my system:
  Create a new calendar.  Title it something like “cleaning” or “tasks”.  Or get really wacky like me and create both for no apparent reason!
  Now it’s time to start creating reminders.
  Click anywhere on the calendar to add an event.  You can click on the specific day if you want, or you can just change it once you’re editing.  A small box will come up when you click.  In this box it will say “edit event” at the bottom.  When you choose to edit, you will be taken to a screen like the one shown above.
  So say we want to be reminded to change our bath towels every week.  I’ve picked Thursday as my day that every towel in the house gets thrown in the hamper and replaced with a new one, so my event looks like this:
  The important parts are the title (Change towels…so you know what to do!), the repeat (you can set this to any time length you want) and the reminder.  I purposely put all the start times for my events close to midnight and have the reminder be 10 minutes.  That way all of my to-do list is there waiting for me when I wake up the next morning, and I can just delete the email as I finish the task.
  It takes a little bit of time to get everything typed in, but it’s easy to do in pieces, and with the repeat, Google will fill it in for you once the event is established.  I also use this as an easy way to keep track of birthdays and once or twice a year events that would otherwise get lost in the craziness.
  Try it out.  Let me know what you think.  Does it work as well for you as it does for me?  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to sweep my kitchen.

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