Being Cognizant: Scheduling


A series about the ways I work towards being cognizant through decisions that make me more mentally engaged with various facets of my day-to-day life.

Cognizance (noun): Awareness, realization, notice, knowledge, perception.

—-

My memory for dates and significant events is strong – I even remember the minor details and events that would probably be best to forget. However, when it comes to remembering to bring something to a friend or not forgetting to attend a spontaneously-planned meeting, my memory has a tendency to fall short.

Cue: Calendars, to-do lists, reminders.

I am not sure if my love for scheduling has resulted from my affinity for organization and efficiency, but I do know that seeing a week of scheduled events, meetings, and study times really helps me focus myself and prioritize what needs to be done more effectively.

While I do not advocate for scheduling every minute of each day to accomplish what needs to be done, I do advocate for the use of visual cues of goals and tasks in order to make one accountable to oneself in accomplishing those items. Visual cues may come in the form of:

Calendars (digital or physical)

I have begun using Google Calendar in tandem with my computer and phone iCalendar to track my daily schedules. During the weekdays I find them particularly useful because, as a student with a part-time job and extracurriculars, I have a lot of unstructured time. I need to use that time for studying and self-directed projects for my extracurriculars, and I may neglect it those items if I do not structure them into my calendar and make myself accountable.

One of my personal pleasures is writing physical schedules in my agenda – I enjoy pen-to-paper writing and like to cross-reference schedules this way and generally write specifics about school assignments in there as well.

To-Do Lists
http://www.computertimes.com/boogieboard_files/image004.jpg
Have you ever heard of the idea that if you write down your goal and put it somewhere that you will look at it every day, you will be more likely to accomplish it? I like to think of my to-do lists as miniature versions of this, in that by writing down the tasks I want to accomplish that day, I will see them and feel more accountable to myself to finish them. My favourite part of physical to-do lists is, without a doubt, crossing items off or putting a check mark next to them upon their completion! It is worth trying a to-do list out for that reason alone. 
The device I use for lists is my Boogie Board by Brookstone – a gift from New York I received last year and have used time and time again ever since. It is a digital notepad that you can clear with the push of a button once your list is done. When I am not using my Boogie Board, I am a huge fan of sticky notes being placed in locations that will catch me at a time when I am most able to accomplish my task. For example, writing “UPDATE YOUR BUDGET!” on a note and sticking it to my computer so that I see it when I next use my laptop.
Reminders

Unfortunately, I have become all-too reliant on my phone for providing me with reminders about tasks and meetings and all of those little things that don’t DEMAND to be remembered. However, I do appreciate that I have such useful tools to lean on! The iPhone Reminders app is one of my more frequently-used tools, but I also set notifications on the events I create in my Google calendar to pop up on my computer and phone so that I don’t miss out. 
My rule with reminders is: Never say that an item is complete until you have ACTUALLY completed it. Sometimes my notification pops up and I think, “Right! I’ll do that in a few minutes,” only to forget to do it within a few minutes, thus leaving it entirely incomplete. To avoid doing this, I “snooze” reminders until I have 100% completed the task.
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