To Do Journal

Happy Sunday Everyone!

OK it is starting to become apparent that if I don’t actively keep up on what is going on from day-to-day, I will quickly lose track of time to the point where even remembering the day take more effort than it used to.

I get that things aren’t exactly back to normal – in fact I’d appreciate it if we all just threw the before-times “Normal” in the trash and started building a new one. The point here is that it’s distracting, so here are some things that I am going to do to help me keep on top of the things I’ve got on my plate at the minute.

Keeping an active journal.

Now I know this is something that can get really intense, and you can take this as far as you want, but for me this boils down to a combination “To Do” list and a spot where I can jot stuff down as a reminder.

Lately I’ve fallen out of the habit of doing that and things have caught me by surprise. This leads to stress increase, conflicts in scheduling, etc. and nobody needs that extra load.

The trick is to ensure that it becomes a habit again. How am I going to do that? By shifting the thought that this is something that I “Have” to do into something that I “Want” to do.

So how do I do that?

Well your mileage may vary, but I’m going to lay down my approach and if it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, that’s ok. Maybe it’ll spark an idea. The point is to let you do you.

So I’m going to make it one of the first things I do in the morning. This gets me a few things. First, since I’m usually the first on in the house that’s awake, it gets me a bit of alone time (Which I need). It also gets me sitting down to do this with a cup of coffee – which I also need, but I like coffee, so this is a little bit of a reward as well. And, since I keep my journal longhand, it also gets me a chance to write with my fountain pen. This is also a little bit of a reward, since I really enjoy writing with that pen.

So now I’ve got this list – often several…really several…items long. Maybe that list, as I’m looking at it can seem overwhelming. The list I created this morning has fifteen items – and that’s not counting the stuff that comes up later on that’ll need to go on the list (FYI: a couple of paragraphs later, I thought of some other things that need to go on the list – now it’s seventeen items long).

Note: One of the items on this list should be “Take some time for yourself.” Seriously. Add that to the list to give yourself a stopping point where you can declare yourself “Done.”

Naturally this should not be the first thing you tackle on your to do list – or maybe it is, if you decide to take the day off, which is certainly something you should do every now and again.

So I’ve got this list and I know I’ve got to start somewhere, knocking items off that list but where do I start?

The first place I’m going to start is not “What do I want to do the most?” But how long will it (or should it) take to do each thing?

Figuring that out does two things. First, it gives me an idea of how much time I can expect to spend on each thing. That will help me plan the day out.

Second, it will show me that I’m not trying to eat the entire forest all in one bite. What I’ve actually got are a collection of little bite-sized trees (kinda like Broccoli) – with some larger multiple-bite trees mixed in.

And, yes, there is going to be a sliding scale that represents how much, or how little interest I have in wanting to do these things. We’ve all got those kinds of chores. but if I can say to myself, “Self. You’ve got this task that you’re not all that interested in doing, BUT it’s only going to take you five minutes to do, then you can go onto this other thing that you’re looking forward to doing AND you get to scratch that thing off the list as well.

Scratching items off your list is important. First, it gives you an immediate sense of accomplishment. Second, at the end of the day, you can see all of the stuff that you’ve gotten done which will not only prove to your inner critic that you have, indeed done stuff, but that you are also justified in settling down to that last item on the list, “Taking time for yourself.”

In addition to breaking things down by the amount of time they’ll take, I’m also going to look at “When” a particular item needs to be done. I try to do this as I’m making the list – though it’s a bit of a hybrid thing. Some items, like Writing, etc. are perpetually on the list, so they’ll go at the top, followed by the things that have some kind of clock attached to them (Like a Sunday Blog Post).

When I’m considering what item to tackle, I’ll look at both the amount of time it takes to do a thing, and when that thing has to be done.

If I’m on top of things, I won’t be running into a situation where this one thing will take “Forever” to do and it has to be done by tomorrow morning.

Avoiding that it what this list is all about.

Again, your mileage may vary, but this is the method I’m going to try out and we’ll see how it goes.

Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

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