As you may have noticed, there’s a lot on my plate to deal with. I have a system that works pretty well for me. That said, of course things still fall off because, well, there’s just so very much.
I use a combination of Trello and Evernote, along with IOS Reminders, Alarms, and Shortcuts. Using an Android phone does mean a bit more overhead to track things, and that a few more things get lost.
It still mostly works for me, so here’s how I (mostly) keep track of every freakin’ thing that’s going on. Please note that I am not compensated or employed by any of the mentioned companies, nor am I an authorized representative.
Before we get started, let’s review some terminology:
- Board: a place to track stuff
- List: a collection of cards, shown as a column
- Card: something to do
- Checklist: a list of things within a card
- Automataion: a macro
My Trello board is called Daily Routine. There’s a column with today’s date on it, and another called, Done <date>. It’s pretty much the same every day, and is sorted by timeframe, starting with waking up down through time to go to bed. Yes, it seems to have a lot of teeny things that most people might not bother tracking. But. With how busy things are here, even those get forgotten, so they’re on the list.
As things are worked on, the cards and checklists get updated. When things are completed, cards get dragged over to Done <date>. For example, see Clean Me. The checklist includes Shower, Brush Teeth, and so on. After showering, Shower gets checked off.
Even what I’ve done is tracked, such as which dates my hair was washed. I have curly hair, and washing it every day turns it into a frizzy mess. My hair’s got enough troubles without all that nonsense. That said, I don’t want it to get too smelly and dirty, either.
The next list you see is Hi-Pri. This is all the larger than life, high-priority projects that need to be addressed, meaning something might happen on them during any day. This list also includes things to be done as soon as possible.
The checklists on these cards are a bit different. In this case, there’s a checklist for each date things happened regarding this card, and each line of the checklist is something that I’ll probably want to know about later. For example, on April 1st, the company representative I spoke to is noted. I also document what was discussed and what our next steps are.
Another great thing about using Trello for this is the ability to add Attachments, which could include media files such as screen shots or audio recordings of phone conversations, or even URLs for more information or where to do things / were done.
Reminders and Shortcuts
On IOS devices such as iPhone or iPad, Reminders are simply, well, reminders. Kind of like a single thing to do. Except they can be triggered at a specific time, when something happens to the device (the iPad says “Feed Me!” when the battery gets too low), or by location such as arriving at a certain store or leaving home.
Most of my Reminders are for a certain date and time. For example, when the dogs eat, the Time to Poop Reminder is set for a half hour just in case they’re asking to go outside, standing by the door, but I’m upstairs. Or when an appliance is run, a Reminder is set to do the next step such as emptying it.
The light purple Shortcuts are used to setup the day, and the dark purple Shortcuts run my day. For example, Plan The Day runs each of the others in turn, telling me to check each app, and then opening each in turn. The Dad’s Shower Timer will remind me in a few days that it’s time for dad to shower again (just in case my nose isn’t enough).
These Shortcuts are called from the iPad’s Home Screen using app icons. Oh, and yes, that’s the Among Us avatar because just maybe something about my day is not real. I mean, it all feels surreal.
As you can probably guess, my favorite Shortcut is F’ing Timer. This gets used every time an appliance is run. I select which appliance, and the Shortcut sets a Reminder for when that appliance is done. Such as two hours for the dishwasher, or one hour for the washer, and so on.
It helps to have set the default per appliance, which can then be modified before the Reminder is set just in case something different is happening. For example, what if all three clothing washers are running? It makes sense, then, to use the Run In An Hour button on the dishwasher so that we don’t run out of hot water.
Pulling It All Together
To get as much done as possible, I’ve gotten myself into a good routine.
The first thing I do every morning is verify that today’s Trello lists are created. If not, the New Day automation is run to create them. If it’s a Sunday, New Week is also run, and if it’s the first of the month, so is New Month. Why? Because some things happen pretty routinely each week and month, so there’s no point in setting Reminders if it’s something that happens every Thursday or on the 2nd Tuesday.
During this stage of the daily planning, things are moved over from the week and/or month that should happen today. For example, c.DogFood means “copy me whenever you need to make Dog Food”. So if Taz needs food, this is copied from this Week‘s list to Today‘s list. And yes, the recipe is included as a checklist so time doesn’t have to be wasted digging it up.
The second thing is to ensure everything is updated from yesterday, so that those lists can be moved over to archive boards for later reference, if needed.
In the best of all possible worlds, the dogs and my bladder would allow all of this to happen before getting out of bed so the rest of the day is calmly setup. But alas, reality happens, so I try to have as much of this setup done as possible before going to bed. Obviously this can’t include eMails that arrived overnight, but a lot of the Trello list updating, copying, and moving can get done.
Then as the day progresses, Trello is kept open so that cards can be updated and moved around as needed. Sometimes the card is something basic like Laundry. In this case, appliances are used, meaning the F’ing Timer Shortcut is called to set a Reminder to go off when each washer or dryer is done with it’s cycle.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Alarms are set to go off each day at the typical times things happen, such as 3pm, when it’s time to take some meds, remind dad to take some meds, and move to the next section of Trello’s Today list. This Alarm is called D&T Meds / √ Trello because the name appears on the device’s screen, providing a helpful hint as to why the iPad is singing at me.
And finally, Evernote. This is where everything is stored in perpetuity. I’m not even joking. There’s over 25k notes in there, which are quickly findable. Remember that meme with the singing pineapple about Obama? Yep, search for pineapple Obama, and blam, it comes up.
Anywayz. Recipes. Magazine articles. Receipts and bills. So very many audio recordings, such as voicemails, phone calls, and voice memos. Videos. Web page clippings. eBooks and PDFs. Dog pictures. Scans of important papers. And so on.
Whenever anything is needed to do something, a local link can be created and attached to the Trello card, or it can be searched for when needed.
Seriously, this is how my day works. It means my devices have to be charged and fully operational at all times. And of course with me. With all of this happening, I totally get why a friend of mine calls his phone The Nag. Or in my case, The Boss.