This year, I decided to try an experiment: going paperless to manage my hectic schedule. Whilst the calendar and other GTD apps have been sitting on my BlackBerry for a while, I relied heavily on “real-world” diaries and Moleskines to record tasks, assignments, due dates… basically, anything and everything that would help keep my life in order. So I thought about ditching the paper stuff, and embrace the cloud-way of doing things.
iOS and Android users have it good when it comes to keeping devices synced: iOS has iCloud, managing all your Apple devices. Android has Google – ’nuff said. But for us BlackBerry users (not currently upgraded to the BB10 OS), making sure that content is synced between the Berry, computer and web is a bit of a pain. Especially since Google dropped support for their Google Sync app for BlackBerry. In the new BlackBerry OS10 devices, syncing is indeed much better – but that doesn’t help someone like me, who’s still rocking an “old school” Bold 9790.
So, here’s how I now keep track of everything happening in my life:
Being a heavily-invested Google user, I decided to stick with their services. Gmail is for email, and so I linked it to my Google Calendar account (I always had one, never used it until now.) I’ve always had email pushed to my BlackBerry – so that was fine. Next step: using the Setup app on my Berry, I edited my Email Accounts settings for the Gmail mailbox to include syncing my Calendar. Now, my appointments get synced between the BlackBerry and online Google Calendar.
Then, using OS X’s Calendar app, I added my Google Calendar to the app’s list of calendars. Now, every time I’m connected to the ‘net, my MacBook’s Calendar app retrieves the latest changes to my Google Calendar. And vice-versa: I can also add entries through the laptop’s Calendar app, and it will reflect on my BlackBerry. Sometimes. See, here’s the one major drawback: syncing from BlackBerry-to-online-Calendar works great, and instantaneously, but syncing the other way round – from Computer-to-BlackBerry – is a bit faulty. It usually takes a long time, or doesn’t do anything at all. In which case, I have to go into my BlackBerry’s calendar app, select “Options”, and then type “RSET” to reset the calendar, effectively re-downloading all my entries saved online. Which is a bit of a pain.
I know this sounds really tedious to set up – but it’s saved me many times. And with Mountain Lion’s new Notification Centre, I can also keep track of assignments and other appointments on my computer whilst I work. It’s the best solution I have without upgrading my mobile phone to an Android or iOS – or, even, BlackBerry 10.
The “experiment” is going really well right now. Despite the issues of syncing from computer-to-phone, this method is helping me keep my tasks in check. The only thing I really wish for now is Apple including Google Tasks as a means of syncing their awesome Reminders app with, instead of going through iCloud. I know this might not happen soon – if at all – but one can dream, right? Hope this post helps add perspective to those out there curious about managing their life in the digital age with digital tools.