In our day-to-day life, we have built up many routines and tasks which we diligently pursue because we are eager to pursue our goals. But there are important events and tasks we sometimes just need to follow, which are repetitive and which we cannot simply ignore.
If you do not use “social” networks or want to get away from these time sucks and distractions, you need to get proactive and enter birthdays of friends in your own calendar. Of course, you know your best friends’ birthdates by heart, but not so much those of new friends or acquaintances. One of the advantages of entering these dates into a calendar is that you can get gifts timely. If the reminder is set to the exact day of the birthday, most people probably will only react with an impersonal message on the digital wall.
Another bad habit of adults is to not celebrate their own birthday. They are grown up now, have little time for their friends and when finally the occasion to meet their friends comes around, they do not seize it. That is why you should enter your own birthday into the calendar and invite your friends early on.
Adjusting Routines & Goals
Anyone who has developed firm routines in his or her life, is pursuing them because of certain goals. However, sometimes you need to question whether those routines still are leading you towards your goals or whether those routines even are destructive. A good example is sports. If you are set on getting a beautiful body, you are going to start small. For instance, your daily sports program could consist of a few push-ups and crunches. In the first few weeks, this makes sense too, but after only few months, even a beginner is unchallenged by this and the sports routine needs to be adjusted.
It is not uncommon that we are working on goals that aren´t our goals anymore. We pursue a regular routine purely by habit, not questioning it anymore. If you go for a night out, with the goal of meeting your future partner, but found a partner ages ago already, you should stop pursuing this routine. Else, it really is not beneficial for your current relationship.
Of course, these are rather evident examples, but if you question your goals periodically, you don´t run the risk of moving in the wrong direction.
This target date recurs every three months, always on the last day of a month.
If you aim to keep focus, it is best to take notes of ideas, flashes of genius and other distractions arising from your own thoughts. My personal approach is using paper notebooks and a file which is synced on all my devices, since no matter where I am and what I am doing at any given moment, anything inside my head and distracting me at any given time, I need to get down in writing right away. Sometimes, I just can´t wait for ages until I have unlocked a device, chosen an app, waited for the app to pop up and fought my way through a host of submenus. No! It needs to be written down right away. Else, time is being wasted. Hence, I often carry small paper notebooks with me.
Like this, a lot of information accumulates over an extended period of time. New ideas, things I wanted to get done or which simply are interesting, reminders to research a topic which held my interest at that point in time and much more. I need to fight myself through all of these notes and of course, I can discard a lot of it, as it simply has become irrelevant, and with some things, I´m pretty glad about not having immediately invested time in something which would have burdened or distracted me.
What remains, is often very important information which I transfer to my permanent list. This permanent list contains information as long as I grade it as important. The list is digital, and I can add or remove items anytime, which is perfect for a list like that. After sorting the notes, I also read through my permanent list and sort it. While reading, it stands out that I make entries in my to-do list because some things have become very important, after all, or even a simple idea has developed into a project.
I process notes always on the 2nd day of a new month.
Reading my Diary
Readers of my blog know the advantages a diary provides and know that I am keeping one.
Every month, I read my diary of the previous month and sometimes I´m astounded by all the things I have forgotten about within a few days or weeks, all the things I had intended to do and the things I have actually achieved.
You also can recognize emotions and feelings in it and reading your own diaries is a great enrichment. Once a year, I also read the complete diary of the previous year, which of course takes time for about 360 pages, yet is incredibly worthwhile, as I can learn from my own past.
This date was set to the 1st of each month.
Invoices / Incoming Mail / Filing / Shredding
Bureaucracy is a very unpleasant thing for me. Invoices, correspondence and documents everywhere, and you are supposed to keep them for whichever reason. I do not pay attention to my mail daily though, because it would amount to a lot of time if I would act right away on every slip of paper that finds its way into my mailbox. I get my mail biweekly and put it into my inbox. I have two document compartments on my desk, one for the incoming mail and the other for filing & shredding.
Once I got the mail, I settle the invoices right away. And, of course, schedule for exactly one day before the payment due date and process any other mail. After this is done, everything moves a compartment down to filing & shredding. Once a month, I empty that compartment and decide if anything needs to be filed or can go in the shredder right away. For most of the invoices, it´s clear that they can be shredded. Only invoices of electronic devices survive, because you need them for the warranty. Other correspondence, which might not exactly be needed as a piece of evidence in front of a court or other authorities, go in the shredder straight away as well.
Collecting the mail and paying the bills happens biweekly, filing & shredding on every 15th of a month.
This topic is the parting of the ways since several years, as many people do not own a desktop or laptop computer anymore or just don´t use them because their smartphone replaced them. Not many care about backups, because the trust in data collectors is very high and all data is being uploaded to the cloud unencrypted. Some people even lose those data, because they also store their password on their smartphone and in the case of a theft or simple defect of the device, there is no way to get those data back
I, on the other hand, am still very old school. As a computer scientist, I have several PCs, laptops and smartphones/tablets, after all, and all of them contain more or less important data, which needs to be secured. As I would not entrust data collectors even with unimportant data, I take care of this task myself and backup my data regularly. It is not actually a difficult task nowadays either. These days, a USB flash drive provides enough space for all important photos, videos and documents, while you would have needed a separate drive in the past, and suitable software to encrypt and store data in a sensible way is widely available too.
Backups are done every 3 months.
End of Contracts
Every time I sign a contract, I add the date the contract will expire, respectively the next possible date for a termination of the contract.
A timely reminder to set up a written cancellation notice is important as well. This simple entry has saved me quite a bit of money since, because after a year, I even had already forgotten, which subscriptions/contracts I had running and there are things you just don´t need any longer after some time. I would generally recommend keeping a note with all of your running contracts and subscriptions somewhere and, if you don´t need them any longer, to cancel them at the next possible termination date.
People who have several accounts and need to manage several currencies, invest in stocks and crypto currencies or do whatever else with their money, which is supposed to gain him or her money, can quickly lose the overview of their finances. But surely it would be interesting to know how much capital you actually have at any given time.
or this, I can only recommend keeping a simple table and not some expensive finance software and least of all some online finance software.
As the monthly invoice amounts should be deducted first, I set this date to the 3rd of each month.
I´m not a person who enjoys visits to the dentist and I often forgot going there as well.
Not missing your check-ups and having a professional dental cleaning done every once in a while is incredibly important. You will save an incredible amount of money you would otherwise lose due to negligence and on top of that, you will shine with a sparkly smile.
A dentist appointment is on my schedule twice a year.
Planning unplanned days sounds paradoxical. But not planning any activities for a few days or to even not work down your to-do list for a whole week, can be very refreshing and occasionally, idle mode is needed for mental stability. Letting your daydreams run free also can lead to new goals or ideas that you would not have had before. You can even support your daydreaming by cutting off all distractions like smartphone or tv completely or by treating yourself to a blackout day.
But beware! Daydreaming should not become a habit, because, at least for me, it often is destructive when it takes over too much time, or I end up thinking about unnecessary things too much.
What do you think about regular fixed dates? Have you got any which aren´t included in this list?