Continuing from yesterday, I thought I would share about my own personal homemade organizational system today. Later, I will share more about its strengths, weaknesses and so on. I also look forward to sharing about the conversation between my task list and my calendar. The talking calendar. So fun!
How it started: I started college in 1998. I was a full time student. After the first week, I had 5 syllabi in my hand, totaling hundreds of assignments, readings, tests, quizzes, deadlines and details. I knew that I would fail if I failed to organize it all, so I bought a monthly calendar at Staples and a pack of legal pads. I took the time to write all the dates and deadlines into the calendar and then I made a to-do list for that day. The calendar was for tomorrow and forward. The task list was for today! I slid the legal pad into my 8.5x11 monthly calendar and carried the 2 with me everywhere I went. Each day, I would:
- Have a task list with a nice heading handwritten in my sloppy writing..."To-do list 1/7/09"...and have a bulleted list of everything that I wished I could accomplish that day.
- Look at my task list often. Morning, meals, classes, chapel...often!
- Do things on the list throughout the day. (I struggle with doing the fun and easy things first. But the problem is that they add up. That leads to putting off the larger more difficult tasks. Which leads to procrastination. More on that later.)
- Experience the elation of scratching items off the list as I finished them. (Did I mention that I LOVE putting a line through something?)
- Think of things to do tomorrow and start writing tomorrow's tasks on the next page.
- Look at my calendar a time or 2 throughout the day anticipating what is coming up in 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 weeks. Then, typically add something to the task list such as... "Begin preparing for blank."
- Finally, at the end of the day, every task that was not completed got written on the next page to be done the next day.
- Repeat each day.
The whole system rides on the relationship between the task list and the calendar. I will post about that soon.
PS...in 2000 I made the leap from paper to electronic. Same system! Just using a mobile device (PDA). I am a HUGE Palm OS fan. To this day.