Do you put TODOs on your calendar?



  • This is something that is annoying me lately.

    I love the idea of a calendar telling me when things are coming up that I need to do, regarding payments or bills coming in or even tasks I need to perform for business.

    The problem with a calendar is that a calendar is not a project management tool, nor a todo list. I keep running into these situations where I see an event that is now a few days old, and have already forgotten whether I did it or not, so I have to go log in some place and check. There is no way to mark a calendar entry "done" as if it were a task.

    Of course, task management and todo apps can have due dates and thus often have calendaring functions, but those tend to be isolated to just the calendar within the app, and not connected to my general use calendar like from Google or Zoho.

    Things get even more complicated if multiple people are able to respond to calendar events on a general work/task calendar, in regards to knowing whether the thing was done, and what the notes are.

    All this creates a situation where we have multiple calendars mixed with todo app mixed with notes app, and people lose their place not knowing what needs done or if someone else did it.

    I'm also annoying by the fact that todo apps make for poor note-taking apps. Typically a todo is simply marked complete and then disappears. Very little attention seems to be given to the fact that I might need to record notes about this task and refer to it some time in the future, make a time entry, and track whether it was billed. This means I have to duplicate my todos into some other note-taking app so I have a history of work done with billing and time information.

    So we have task apps that make for poor calendars and note-taking apps. A note-taking app that makes a poor calendar and task manager. A calendar that makes a poor task and note app, etc. I have to duplicate the functionality of each into each other app, which takes too much time. And on top of that they often make for poor time and billing tracking.

    To top it all off, some companies try to be everything, but just end up doing everything mediocre. A dedicated note app is best at notes. A dedicated calendar is best at that, and dedicated project management tools are best at that. And naturally I have a dedicated billing app which is not a note, todo, or calendar app.

    I wish there was a better balance of these primary tools, and that they worked very well not only for an individual, but for a team.

    In general, I want to avoid Google, just don't like them, even if other people think gapps are great.

    For right now though, I think I'm going to stop putting things that are "todo" on my calendar, even though it seems a good fit for them, because calendars make poor todo apps.

    And don't get me started on notification systems, priority levels, data management, customer communications. Ugh. A billion apps out there and nobody can get it right yet.



  • Before reading everything I'll answer the question: No, I do not.



  • @guyinpv said in Do you put TODOs on your calendar?:

    I'm also annoying by the fact that todo apps make for poor note-taking apps. Typically a todo is simply marked complete and then disappears. Very little attention seems to be given to the fact that I might need to record notes about this task and refer to it some time in the future, make a time entry, and track whether it was billed. This means I have to duplicate my todos into some other note-taking app so I have a history of work done with billing and time information.

    I think you want a ticketing system, not a to do list.



  • @guyinpv said in Do you put TODOs on your calendar?:

    For right now though, I think I'm going to stop putting things that are "todo" on my calendar, even though it seems a good fit for them, because calendars make poor todo apps.

    I don't think a calendar sounds like a good fit there at all. Calendar items and "to do" items are unrelated. It's a terrible place to put them.



  • @guyinpv said in Do you put TODOs on your calendar?:

    This is something that is annoying me lately.

    I love the idea of a calendar telling me when things are coming up that I need to do, regarding payments or bills coming in or even tasks I need to perform for business.

    The problem with a calendar is that a calendar is not a project management tool, nor a todo list. I keep running into these situations where I see an event that is now a few days old, and have already forgotten whether I did it or not, so I have to go log in some place and check. There is no way to mark a calendar entry "done" as if it were a task.

    Of course, task management and todo apps can have due dates and thus often have calendaring functions, but those tend to be isolated to just the calendar within the app, and not connected to my general use calendar like from Google or Zoho.

    Things get even more complicated if multiple people are able to respond to calendar events on a general work/task calendar, in regards to knowing whether the thing was done, and what the notes are.

    All this creates a situation where we have multiple calendars mixed with todo app mixed with notes app, and people lose their place not knowing what needs done or if someone else did it.

    I'm also annoying by the fact that todo apps make for poor note-taking apps. Typically a todo is simply marked complete and then disappears. Very little attention seems to be given to the fact that I might need to record notes about this task and refer to it some time in the future, make a time entry, and track whether it was billed. This means I have to duplicate my todos into some other note-taking app so I have a history of work done with billing and time information.

    So we have task apps that make for poor calendars and note-taking apps. A note-taking app that makes a poor calendar and task manager. A calendar that makes a poor task and note app, etc. I have to duplicate the functionality of each into each other app, which takes too much time. And on top of that they often make for poor time and billing tracking.

    To top it all off, some companies try to be everything, but just end up doing everything mediocre. A dedicated note app is best at notes. A dedicated calendar is best at that, and dedicated project management tools are best at that. And naturally I have a dedicated billing app which is not a note, todo, or calendar app.

    I wish there was a better balance of these primary tools, and that they worked very well not only for an individual, but for a team.

    In general, I want to avoid Google, just don't like them, even if other people think gapps are great.

    For right now though, I think I'm going to stop putting things that are "todo" on my calendar, even though it seems a good fit for them, because calendars make poor todo apps.

    And don't get me started on notification systems, priority levels, data management, customer communications. Ugh. A billion apps out there and nobody can get it right yet.

    I use Microsoft To-Do, which is great. I highly recommend it. Has it's own built in reminders and such so you don't have to put on a calendar. It's a very simple interface, and awesome sharing lists.



  • I use it for personal use, not sure of your context yet, still reading through your post.



  • Okay, so for work. I've been using Jira and it's been really great so far.



  • Have you tried Goals in Google Calendar?
    https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/6334090



  • I use NextCloud Tasks + DAVx + OpenTasks (on android) to do this. It works well. Once you click done, it removes the item from your calendar, but keeps the "completed" in your task history.

    DavX syncs the calendar from NextCloud. OpenTasks syncs with NextCloud and puts calendar entries on your NextCloud calendar.

    I just set this up again on my phone after wiping & reloading.



  • I'd say the most important for me is the notes, to be fair. Everything revolves around my notes. What I've done, somewhat what I need to do, time tracking, billing, account access, other client meta data, sites, projects, lots of stuff.
    Currently using OneNote in my O365 subscription.
    It actually works well enough but I think the search indexing sucks. Also I tend to keep each client in their own note file, so indexing across all clients is impossible when the notes are scattered in many OneNote files.
    I've been experimenting with both https://www.notion.so/ and https://coda.io/welcome but haven't made up my mind on those.

    The least important is the calendar really. I like to use it for things like when a big bill is coming up, and to schedule literally physical meetings and appointments.
    When I say I was putting todos on the calendar, what I mean is like, say a client wants to cancel a service or something, but that's 3-4 weeks away or more, 2 months out, etc. I do want to schedule myself a calendar event to being the process of removing them. A calendar felt like a good fit since I can see that event coming from far off, whereas a due date on a todo app usually means the todo item pops into existence that same day, making it harder to remember it's coming up.

    The project app is middle importance. I use it both for current todos, but also to track proposals. Things I'm asking the client if they want to do, but have to wait for approval. There there are a lot of "cold" todos to track. It feels better putting these in the todo app than potentially buried in the notes app. I don't want proposal projects and todos to be in my current list of items though. I just want them recorded somewhere.

    Anyway, I could go on forever about the incredible inefficiencies of trying to run a business on all these tools. I think half my day is updating tools and notes and billing and time tracking and management tools and comms, the other half is actually getting work done.



  • @guyinpv said in Do you put TODOs on your calendar?:

    I'd say the most important for me is the notes, to be fair. Everything revolves around my notes. What I've done, somewhat what I need to do, time tracking, billing, account access, other client meta data, sites, projects, lots of stuff.
    Currently using OneNote in my O365 subscription.
    It actually works well enough but I think the search indexing sucks. Also I tend to keep each client in their own note file, so indexing across all clients is impossible when the notes are scattered in many OneNote files.
    I've been experimenting with both https://www.notion.so/ and https://coda.io/welcome but haven't made up my mind on those.

    The least important is the calendar really. I like to use it for things like when a big bill is coming up, and to schedule literally physical meetings and appointments.
    When I say I was putting todos on the calendar, what I mean is like, say a client wants to cancel a service or something, but that's 3-4 weeks away or more, 2 months out, etc. I do want to schedule myself a calendar event to being the process of removing them. A calendar felt like a good fit since I can see that event coming from far off, whereas a due date on a todo app usually means the todo item pops into existence that same day, making it harder to remember it's coming up.

    The project app is middle importance. I use it both for current todos, but also to track proposals. Things I'm asking the client if they want to do, but have to wait for approval. There there are a lot of "cold" todos to track. It feels better putting these in the todo app than potentially buried in the notes app. I don't want proposal projects and todos to be in my current list of items though. I just want them recorded somewhere.

    Anyway, I could go on forever about the incredible inefficiencies of trying to run a business on all these tools. I think half my day is updating tools and notes and billing and time tracking and management tools and comms, the other half is actually getting work done.

    The NextCloud setup I have is a decent Hyrbid approach because you can see it on your calendar as well as have it pop up the day of.

    But I totally get what you're saying. Seems like there would be at least one app to do most of all that...but I have no idea what it could be.



  • The problem is not always the tools but how you use them.

    Calendar needs to be one and one only and it should be personal. It contains the planning of fixed time items that has to be done at a certain time and day. Say you have a meeting on Wednesday at 2 o'clock but it takes 30 minutes to get there and it takes 10 minutes for you to pack your things then you need to allocate all the time it takes for that meeting in your calendar. So a one hour meeting maybe takes 10 minutes packing, 30 minute travel, 60 minutes meeting, 10 minutes to wrap up the meeting, 30 minutes to get back and 10 minutes to unpack, file notes and whatever.

    But maybe you need to do some research, planning or other kind of work before the meeting. That you put in your todo list which contains specific things to do that are not bound to a specific time or date, like set up a telephone meeting with XYZ to discuss the new project, email ABC to get prices etc. The todo list should be organized after the type of activity/location you can do it in and not project or client.

    And to make sure you have all these items done in time before the meeting, you have to put reminders in the calendar so that you can verify that it is done and if it's not, you have a second chance to do so or you may have to postpone the meeting.

    You should not use the due date on the todo list. When it's due it's often too late to do it. You can use it for information but anything that need to happen on a certain date should be in the calendar. And if you need reminders to make sure you get it done in time you put those in the calendar - "check on project Z that we are on track and plan to be ready in 4 weeks". So when you look at one week in the calendar, you'll see everything that has to happen that week.

    If a team work on things together you should have a worklist for that. Maybe a kanban board if it's a project or perhaps a ticketing system if that fits better. Unless everyone just works of the worklist they also need their own calendar, todo list etc. Depends on how much control they have over their work. A factory worker that works by the production line may not have to plan his work day at all.

    Management of teams and management of projects are separate things compared to management of your own time.



  • For me now, yes. Everything I do and need to do gets put on the calendar. It's the best way for me to track time spent on all tasks which need to then be logged in our project management and billing tool against clients. It's also the best way for me to ensure that I allocate time I need to get a specific task done, otherwise my calendar will be booked full of meetings for other things. This is an example of a week after being at a conference the week before, not many meetings that I booked for myself, all meetings that I needed to attend at the request of others. (shown in BST, but I'm CST)

    Screenshot 2019-04-22 at 20.38.50.png



  • IMHO, the world is too chaotic so todo lists needs to be very fluid.

    This is what I do:

    • Todo's are put in the calendar if they have to be done at a certain time and day, otherwise they go on the todo list.
    • Todo's never goes in the notes. N e v e r .
    • Everything that need to be done before a certain day/week or month are put in the todo list but reminders in the calendar.
    • Don't put projects in the todo list. Todo list should have been broken down into actionable tasks.
    • Projects go on a project list.
    • Review your todo list and project list on a regular basis to catch anything that is stuck


  • @Pete-S said in Do you put TODOs on your calendar?:

    The todo list should be organized after the type of activity/location you can do it in and not project or client.

    Can you expound on this a little? This is pretty much exactly NOT how I do it, lol.
    Each client has a folder in the project app, so each client has their own set of tasks.

    The odd thing here is that each client has the same todos, for example perform some monthly task on their site. It's the same todo list, but applied to a bunch of different clients. They don't have precise due dates, but more of a general maintenance window, say between 20th and 25th monthly.

    @Pete-S said in Do you put TODOs on your calendar?:

    Todo's never goes in the notes. N e v e r .

    This one is also interesting. My notes pretty much always are an extension of a todo. If the task is "run site X through the scanner", all the notes about that task are in my notes, not in the todo app. Notes about when it was performed, how long it took, what was turned up, what I did, what needs to be done or could be improved, etc.
    When done, the todo is marked complete, but the notes become the history for time tracking, billing, and info I'll email to the client later or put on a report.

    In fact, the notes are far more useful to me than an archived list of checked-off todos. I think the todo list is really just a personal way of reminding me of little things to pay attention to and start working on. The notes are where the bulk of my work gets recorded or becomes meaningful.

    The calendar is a wild-card. I rarely have things like scheduled meetings, and even if I do, it's rarely the calendar that reminds, but rather a Slack message or an email or something.
    If I have a scheduled event like a video conference meeting, and I set it up as a todo with a due date, this works as I can mark the todo high priority or whatever, and it shows up on today's task list.



  • I think the perfect project management tool would be a combination of these.

    Calendar is easiest as it just has to do what calendars do, and sync up to Google calendar and Zoho or any others for convenience.

    Project management would let me separate things by client and their projects, and ultimately into todos.

    Todos would not just have a "due date", but rather have a type of due "range". Or even separate dates for "get started" and "due". If I set a get started date 10 days before due date, the app would give me a working range.
    If todos had time estimates, and ultimately the project had a time estimate, that would also help align starting and due dates, which would all be represented on the calendar.

    Finally I could do time tracking but not in the usual sense. I might find it useful to track time on each todo, or on the project as a whole. But I actually track time by day. So each day of work I'm logging the tasks I do and taking notes on that.
    At 9am to 10:30am I'm working on client X across two projects A and B.
    Then from 10:45am to 12:00pm I worked on client Z on project C.

    What this looks like is basically a chronological log. Like this:
    Client Acme (a OneNote file)
    -- Project X (A particular page)
    4/19/2019 - (2:00) - (BILLED)
    ... notes ....
    4/21/2019 - (1:30) - (BILLED)
    ... notes ...
    4/22/2019 - (3:00) - (UNBILLED)
    ... notes ...

    Within the concept of a daily log, I could work on any number of tasks or todos, doesn't really matter, as long as I have the total time spent and tracked in the daily log notes.

    Then when I go to invoice Acme (every two weeks), I can add up the time on all their projects dating back to the last time entry that was billed.

    I know todo apps or project management apps often have time tracking, but I feel like this is not a smooth experience, and the data is scattered around. I track time with a separate app Toggl which has a list of clients and projects to track against. This makes all my time entries feel together and easy to see at a glance. I can start a new timer in a few seconds and bounce between clients and projects and end up with 15 different entries through the day and easy to see them all. I don't find that simplicity within project management apps.

    My ideal project management app would find a way to have that simplicity in its time tracking.

    And the app doesn't need to try and become my billing tool, I have professional tools for billing. I don't know why every tool today wants to be your invoicing app too, it's annoying!


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