I woke early, ready to attack the day. That happens a lot now that I’m doing things that I enjoy. I find it harder to get in bed and to stay there however these bursts of energy don’t have any particular structure to them and so it’s very easy for me to spend three hours looking at fonts, or a day and a half watching videos trying to find a solution to an inconvenient quirk in my design software. I sit down with the intention of reaching out to Facebook friends with a specific objective and look up and two hours are gone and I’m watching videos of penguins. As much as I LOVE being creative, my curiosity and lack of focus can take me miles away from my goals for the day, or the week, or the month. So I have to get back to making lists and planning my days.
You see I have (so many) calendars and organizers and notebooks (oh my!) and at various times this year I’ve planned my menus, and travel schedule, and makeup posts and I’ve done some awareness/improvement work…and then I get busy or I get out of my routine or I lose focus or I get discouraged and things get set aside. And here’s what happens to me, my brain tells me that I have too much to do to “waste time” making lists. The idea is completely comical when I review my “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” style days, but alone in my Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of a brain, it seems to make sense.
Back in the early 90’s I read a book called Organizing for the Creative Person and it was an epiphany. It felt like someone had been following me around and taking notes and the solutions suggested worked wonders for me…every time I implemented them. One of the suggestions the book made was a way of writing and organizing a to-do list that makes so much sense. The suggestion was to start with the traditional to-do list, similar to the brain dump suggested by the bullet journal system. Next, it’s suggested to sort those to-do items into three categories: MUST DO TODAY, BEGIN TODAY, & IF I HAVE TIME. This forces me to prioritize my tasks and to focus on the things that are time sensitive or that will make the biggest impact and to leave organizing my sock drawer for another day. As someone who always gravitates to the easiest and fastest chores on the list, this was a big improvement. The BEGIN TODAY column helps me take larger projects that might hijack my time and break them into smaller pieces. I make progress but I don’t have to build Rome in one day. IF I HAVE TIME is the place where everything else lands. At the end of the day, decisions can be made on whether tasks should be eliminated (I mean am I really going to alphabetize my eye liners?) or migrated to the next day’s list. For those who like a more compact method, the bullet journal system is simple, adaptable and is easy to implement.
So this morning I’m sitting down with my Traveler’s Notebook and a cup of iced coffee and I’ll be planning my day and because tonight I want to lay my head on the pillow and think, “I am a getting shit done machine.” Hope your day is all about turning your to-dos into all-dones.