Keep Your Creativity (And Life) On Track With A Self-Updating Calendar
I know you might be thinking this is an odd topic for a creativity blog but I have a dirty secret. If you are the type of person who is perpetually trying to "get organized" I hear you - I am also perpetually trying to "get organized". I am a productivity junky - always reading up on the latest method or app hoping that I'm finally going to find the secret that is going to help us keep on top of things stress-free. I've been less than successful - until now.
Panda Partner and I have been using a rolling calendar for about 6 months now. It has freed up SO MUCH brain space as far as trying to remember what we are supposed to be doing and when, that I decided I finally had to share.
What is a rolling calendar?
A rolling calendar does what it says on the tin – it automatically “rolls” over from day-to-day, moving all unfinished items from yesterday's to-do list to today's to-do list without you having to do anything! It then deletes yesterday from the calendar and automatically adds the next day at the end of whatever length of cycle you have set, whether that be a week, two weeks, month, etc.
To set up a rolling calendar with my method you'll need a free account for a website/app called Trello.
What is Trello?
Trello is an application that allows you to sort information into boards, lists, and individual cards. I like to think of it as a series of corkboards or frames (Boards) divided into columns (Lists) where you can tack or display sticky notes (Cards). Like a real corkboard you can unpin and move these sticky notes around, group them, link them together, set due dates for them and so on.
Why I like Trello
Personally I love Trello because I like being able to see a lot of information at a glance. If I had the room I'd be one of those people with a huge whiteboard covered in notes all connected with string whenever I had a big problem to solve. I primarily use Trello for sorting my thoughts or organizing reference material.
Why Trello doesn't work as a calendar for me
Prior to figuring out how to set up a rolling calendar, I had tried to use Trello as a to-do-list or calendar but could never get it to stick. I found I would spend more time updating the lists – shuffling cards around to their new due dates, adding in new days, etc than I did focusing on my to-do items. It wasn't just Trello either. I can't tell you how many pen-and-paper planners I have bought over the years only to reach the end of the year with hardly having used them or bought one of those perpetual ones that doesn't have pre-printed dates only to become frustrated with those too. I would either fill in too much, and end up back in the same problem as with the pre-printed ones. Or I wouldn't have filled in enough and suddenly had to make a note of something for a date I hadn't filled in yet.
Why a rolling calendar can be better than a traditional one
For a long time I've had a problem with regular calendars because, being a self-employed artist working from home, I don't have as many set times and dates as say an office worker does. I have a big list of things that have to get done, but very few of them have hard and fast deadlines. I need to work on them until they are done and then move over to the next thing. This gives me a tonne of flexibility that doesn't fit well with a traditional calendar. I also happen to have depression and anxiety so setting myself a strict schedule is setting myself up for disaster.
On the flip side a traditional to-do list has flaws too because it doesn't have that connection to time the way a calendar does for the times that I DO have something that HAS to be done on a certain day at a certain time – like a doctor's appointment.
What's great about my rolling calendar is it gives me the freedom to set deadlines when I need them, and stay aware of times and dates while not setting in stone anything else that I have to do.
How to set up a rolling calendar in Trello
1) You'll need a Trello account
2) You'll need to "program" the calendar in Trello's automation feature, Butler (this is mainly fill-in-the-blanks and using drop-down menus so don't worry if you "aren't a programmer") 3) Enter your to-dos into your new calendar I can't do much to help you with 3) but I've got a couple ways to help you with 1) and 2). First - we have a new YouTube video that walks you through the whole process:
We also have a handy PDF guide that also goes step-by-step through the process. There are spots you are going to have to type a tiiiiiiiny bit of code so if you would prefer to follow along on paper so that you don’t have to constantly pause the video, you can either purchase a copy for $2 here OR if you join our mailing list you'll receive a promo code so you can download your copy completely for free!
Joining our mailing list has the added advantage of receiving our newsletter once a month - full of cosplay, crafting, and creativity tips, as well as EXCLUSIVE promo codes and sales for DaleyKreations.com
In the end, you'll still have to enter your own To-Do's, and you still actually have to, well, DO them, but a rolling calendar is still a HUGE help!