HIOML = How I Organize My Life
I know, what a cheesy acronym right?

Part 1 (which I’m going to go an retroactively change the title of right now) is the post from last year about me and my course tracker Excel sheet, which you can read if you still need to do that thing.


Honestly, this post should have been posted closer to the beginning of the term but I needed a couple of weeks to get my own life in order. Okay fine, the truth was that it took me this long to come up with the title. (I’m really kidding here because the title is possibly the worst title I could’ve come up with, but I have almost no regrets about it.)

Being in class is so much crazier than being on a work term, especially since I forgot about the constant stress of ever-present, never-ending assignments and tests. Not that I rely solely on other people to tell me when things are happening, but there is an element of being able to relax knowing that friends will remind each other of upcoming due dates in shared classes. Unfortunately because of my unscheduled 8-month co-op, I have no friends in my program on campus this term. The solution? Google is now my new best friend.

Google is love, Google is life

I am well aware that Google basically owns me + my life and I’d like to say that it’s for a good reason. Solid apps, cross-platform support – wait why am I even trying to sell you on something that I’m sure you’ve long since bought into? No time to go through all the ways that Google controls my life, but let’s focus on the main one that I feel like every student should be doing – the calendar.

I usually spend a couple hours during the first week of class to pull together all my syllabuses (wait, syllabi?) and dump all the important dates into my calendar. This also includes each lecture and tutorial block as well as tests and assignments. I have different notifications for each type of event. For example:

  • My 8:30AM classes have a notification an hour before the class (basically the minimum time I need to pull myself out of bed + get ready + get to campus), with notes on the two bus times I can take and when I need to be out the door.
    1. The earlier bus time is if I feel like I need Tim Hortons before the lecture.
    2. The later bus time is the second last bus that I can take to get to class on time.
  • Major papers that I know I need time to develop and work on will get a whole series of notifications, prompting me to do things like:
    1. “Ugh Vicky can you start thinking about your thesis yet?” Around 3 weeks before the due date. I most likely won’t start research + writing yet, but this at least reminds me that I should start keeping the paper in mind.
    2. “Vicky, c’mon write this rough draft!” Likely I’ll set this for around a week before it’s due. I’m clearly trying to bully future!Vicky into not screwing over night-before!Vicky.
    3. And so on.

Google Calendar also now has reminders, which is helping push it along the path to becoming a more robust to-do app. Seeing my tasks in the calendar along with the rest of your agenda items is definitely more conducive to me actually doing the task.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 5.07.58 PM

Side-note: it irks me how there is no integration between Calendar reminders and Google Keep reminders.  I don’t mind continuing to use Keep for notes/grocery lists, but just move the location reminder function to Calendar and it won’t seem like you’re doing twice the work, Google. The reminders also don’t sync over onto other Calendars, like the one on my Mac, which is less of a deal breaker when my phone/tablet/web are all synced up, but still something to be worked on.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 5.07.44 PM

I’m sure you’re probably using your own calendars like this to an extent but I’m a fan of my aggressive method of scheduling everything and having multiple notifications. Some people don’t bother with putting in their class schedules but I like having it there so that I can plan my day and break it down into blocks of dedicated time for specific tasks.

Obviously there are other calendar apps that have their own fun features and for a while I was using them too (shoutout to you SolCalendar) but in the end, there wasn’t anything that I needed that Google Calendar wasn’t already doing.

How about you guys, are there other productivity/organizational tricks you’re doing with your calendars? Let me know!

One thought on “calen-do’s! [pt. 2 of HIOML]

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