Google, Microsoft and tons of other big tech companies want to gather as much data about you as possible. And one of the easiest ways to gather it is giving you a “free” calendar. What they don’t tell you (unless you read a book-sized terms of service document) is that they will use that data to “personalize” your experience. This is internet-crap jargon for “we will sell that stuff to anybody who’s willing to spend a penny”. And the crazy part about it is they aren’t even that useful to begin with.
To begin with: You could easily switch to services like Nextcloud (a cloud computing solution with office, messaging and calendar/contacts), which not only is FOSS (free and open source) but also respects you as a human being by not collecting data and giving you control over it. But we’re not here for that today.
There are a couple of options for you that could suit your lifestyle: a Bullet Journal (I use that), a pre-made planner or calendar or a simple list.
Let’s start with what I use myself: the Bullet Journal. Ryder Carol inventend a plain-notebook-based system that basically functions like three baskets. You have a half-yearly bucket, a monthly bucket and a daily bucket and you throw tasks between them to keep up-to-date with your tasks. The greatest part (about the original Bullet Journal) is the flexibility. It requires just a pen and paper and gives you a system that you can modify to your heart’s content and give you enough structure and flexibility to fit into our modern schedules. If you want to dive into the system, I recommend reading all about it on the official website here.
But I have to admit, you’ve gotta take your time each month to create a new monthly spread and daily planning is also involved. Everything is written by hand and that might slow you down, which can be a really great thing. Writing thoughts down, testing new system-additions out like weekly trackers is a little bit like productivity meditation. It primes my brain for what to come and keeps me in ballance. The logging is a really important part about it and I can only recommend it.
However, I do understand that you might not want to constantly create layouts, even if they’re the most basic thing. If that is the case, you could just by a premade calendar or planner, depending on what format you prefer. It basically has a lot of the benefits of the bullet journal but takes away the customization. For some people this is perfect, since it just gives you something to work with.
The last thing I mentioned is a plain and simple list. I have to admit that I’ve first seen this when my significant other started writing down important events and a to-do list onto a sheet of paper and sticked it to the wall. This is just perfect, especially if you want to make sure to not forget something important. It will smile at you the moment you look at it. You could also start customizing these lists like one would with a bullet journal.
This inspired me to do it digitally. This month I started creating a wallpaper for my laptop.
This is basically the same thing as my so’s list but on my computer, the thing I work with the most. It also helps me keeping important stuff for the month as a digital back-up, since I can just upload it to my Nextcloud.
Hopefully I gave you some inspirational thoughts that can help you say goodbye to evil corporations for good. If you are interested in another blog post about Nextcloud, please let me know either in the comments or send me a mail here.