Users of the GTD methodology should know that only two things go on your calendar: things that must be done on a certain day, and ‘tickler’ type reminders, if you choose to put them there. Items that need to be done but don’t have a specific date associated with them belong on Next Action lists, not in the calendar. The calendar (aside from the tickler bit) is a hard landscape of what has to be done and when.
As much as I understood that from the get-go, I had a hard time with it. I wanted to plan in lead time for goals — how was I supposed to do that without scheduling the Next Actions ahead of time?
I have discovered the answer: frequent reviews of the calendar.
It’s essential in GTD to review the calendar at least daily, but that review needn’t and shouldn’t be restricted to the current day. It should extend into the next few days and even the next week. Thus, when deciding what to do next from the available Next Actions, upcoming deadlines can be considered.
This seems so simple it’s stupid — and perhaps it is. But, just in case you, like me, were confused about the calendar, be confused no more.