Part 2: Tasks, Events and Reminders

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Welcome to the second part! If you use NotePlan to keep track of everything daily, your Daily Notes will fill up very quickly. You might ask yourself, 

→ How do I manage incomplete tasks from yesterday?

That's what you are going to learn today. We will also have a look at events, reminders, and time blocking.

Managing Tasks in Daily Notes

First, open yesterday's note and review everything. If you still have open tasks, there are (at least) three things you can do to manage them:

  • If you have completed the task, click on the circle to mark it done (shortcut: CMD+D).
  • If the task is no longer relevant, click on the arrow button to the left of the task and mark it canceled (shortcut: CMD+R).
  • If the task is still relevant...
    • Either reschedule it to a future date by clicking the arrow button, and then selecting a date from the calendar (shortcut: CMD+Shift+D),
    • Or cut & paste the task into today's note.

Tasks do not automatically "roll over" in NotePlan, and this is intentional. The added bit of manual work forces you to reconsider each open point and prevents building up a massive list of tasks.

Events and Reminders

NotePlan integrates with calendar accounts on your device, including iCloud, Google, Yahoo!, and other services.

To add calendar accounts to your Mac, open the System Preferences app, choose "Internet Accounts," and select the type of account you'd like to add from the panel on the right. On iOS, open the Settings app and scroll down to "Calendar" → "Accounts" → "Add Account."

You will also see your iCloud reminders with specified dates in the calendar sidebar (Mac) or above the daily note (iOS). Reminders that have no date won't be displayed in NotePlan.

Note: you can choose in NotePlan's preferences under "Calendars" which of the calendars you have added to your device should be displayed in NotePlan.

Create an Event or Reminder

On Mac, click into the timeline in the right sidebar to create an event or reminder. At the top, you can choose between "Event" and "Reminder."

On iOS, you can use a "swipe down" gesture inside your Daily Notes or tap on the menu icon top right of your note, then selecting "Create an Event or Reminder."

Time Blocking

Block out some time visually in the timeline on the right by adding a time range anywhere in your task, for example,

* Reply to emails at 3pm - 4pm, or

* 3:00pm - 4:00pm Reply to emails

It is essential to use the keyword at or write the time with colons (HH:mm). You can also use the 24h format like 15:00 without am/pm. And, you don't have to define an end time.

Learn more about Time Blocking here.

Note: NotePlan won't sync the time blocks to your calendar accounts; they only appear within the app (at the moment).

Tip: Download the plugin "Event Helpers" (open the preferences on Mac, then click on "Plugins") to send time blocks to your calendar and more.

It's your turn

Open yesterday's note, review each open task and close it (complete, cancel, reschedule or cut & paste). Then, in today's note, block out some focus time for your most demanding tasks.

In the following email, you will learn how to manage projects which don't fit into your Daily Notes, so you don't have to keep carrying forward everything from day to day.

Pro Tips

  • Use the shortcut CMD+0 to reschedule an open task to today, CMD+1 to tomorrow, CMD+2 to the day after, and CMD+3 to next week.
  • Under "Review" in the left sidebar, you can filter for overdue tasks by selecting "Overdue" (more on that in another email).
  • Instead of selecting a start and end time for a new event or reminder, use natural language to type it into the event or reminder title field, i.e., Meeting at 3pm - 4pm.
  • Use CMD+E to create events and CMD+Shift+E to create reminders.
  • If you don't see any events or reminders, open NotePlan's preferences and, under the "Calendars" tab, click on "Request Permissions."
  • On the monthly calendar in the right sidebar, the days with overdue tasks have a red background.
  • Create recurring events and set the "alert" field to get reminded about important things. Or create recurring Reminders.

Next up: Part 3: Project Notes and Backlinks →

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