Marking calendar items as “done”

So in GTD one of the things that we’re supposed to do is make use of the calendar for three things (the so-called Hard Landscape):

  • Date-specific information
  • Things that need to happen on a certain date
  • Things that need to happen at a certain time (and date)

One problem that has really plagued me in the past is “how do I know that an item on the calendar is complete?” I don’t mean that day the event occurs but down the road when I’m reviewing items to make sure they’re done (mainly making sure bills were scheduled). Long-time GTDers may say that I shouldn’t need reminders. Between the fact that the calendar should be considered sacred (according to The David himself) and the weekly review I shouldn’t need any indication they might say.

They may be right however in my current state I need these indicators. The next-actions list it is quite obvious what is done and what isn’t. Not so with the calendar so in Outlook 2007 (my current choice for GTD following the Outlook 2003 guide from There is a quick and dirty way to flag completed items though using categories.

In the category list I created a category called “completed” and its color is set to bright red. When I have finished something thats in the calendar (“Schedule credit card payment” for example) I clear its current category (@something) and either flag it with the “completed” category so it shows up as bright red or I reflag with “completed” then also add the original category back in. The effect with the second method is that the last category you chose in the list is the main color while the other categories are presented as small color squares inside the item (forgive me..I don’t have any screenshots handy at the moment). This little red “flag” also shows me that something is done.

So far its working well. Hopefully at some point I won’t need those reminders but for right now I’m sticking to them 😉

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