I started by creating a #7 tag under .When called “7-43 Folders”, because it seemed the obvious place for this. Under this tag, I created a tag for each month of the year. If I needed to, I could also create a tag for the year, it if was relevant, and a tag for each day from 1 to 31. That works with physical files, but seems like overkill here, as you’ll see.
Because my printer is also a scanner, I can scan any relevant documents and add them as notes tagged with the appropriate month.
In the #Cabinet notebook, I created a new note called March Events. Here I listed all the recurring things I have for March, like birthdays and anniversaries and annual checkups. I tagged it as March. I also tagged it with the name of each person whose birthday, anniversary, and so on it is. Because it currently is March as I’m writing this, I also tagged it as both Next and Read/Review, so that I will look at it.
Any task that needs more information in the note can be broken out. For example, my wife Katie’s grandmother has her birthday in March, so it’s tagged with March and her name. However, Katie also sends a specific type of flowers from a specific florist every year. I could add the florist under .Who, but I don’t want to clutter my contacts for a place we’ll only call once per year. I create a separate note with this information.
In the Cabinet notebook I also created a note called March Appointments. This is a list of things that are not annually recurring, but also aren’t part of any active projects. For example, for a committee meeting that I attend monthly, I’ll just make a note that says “next meeting 24th 5:30″ and tag it with the committee name under .Who and also tag it as soon. For a one-off meeting with people who aren’t on my normal contact list, or in a recurring location, I’ll create a note under Action Pending, tag it with Soon, March, and add the who and where in the note. After the appointment, I can re-tag and refile as needed.
Rather than creating tags for each day of the month, as 43 Folders has files numbered 1-31, I simple name the note accordingly. If I have an appointment with Doctor X on at 9:30am on March 24th, I will name the note “24 Mar 2015 9:30am Doctor X”, and add details to the note.
If you have any other thoughts on incorporating these systems, I please leave them in the comments!
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Eat the Elephant is an irregular column on productivity and project management. You can read more articles in the series here, or subscribe to the RSS feed for the series here.