Here we are in 2019. If you’re like me, you’ve made a commitment to yourself about getting things done this year. Not only will you meet all your deadlines, but you’ll also get more done in general.
Sadly, the saying, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans, applies. In fact I’ve noticed that whenever I plan something, then immediately or maybe a day later, something will happen to derail those plans.
That’s a given. But this year, we will conquer… Or at least, we’ll try.
Getting things done: writing to remember, now and later
To that end, last November I went back to using my wonderful bullet journal.
I developed the habit of using my BuJo diligently, then I forgot to use it… and a couple of months passed in which things went all to heck.
In the above image, you can see that I’m currently using a Clairfontaine My Essential notebook. This is my favorite notebook for bullet journaling because:
- The paper’s excellently sturdy. It copes with markers and fountain pen ink without ghosting;
- You get eight pages (!) for your Contents/ Index;
- All the pages are numbered.
I’ve discovered that if I want to remember something, I need to write it down. Physically, with a pen. On paper. Otherwise my gaze skims my digital To Do list. I forget things, and mark projects as done when there are several tasks remaining.
Pen and paper help me to think; when I write something on paper, I remember it.
Let’s look at some tips for getting things done which may help you, as they help me.
1. “If it’s not written down, it’s not happening” — writing stuff down helps
When my kids were growing up, I’d ask them to remind me to write their activities down: “if it’s not written down, it’s not happening.” Things are exactly the same today. Of course, now I have to remind myself to write things down.
One of the benefits of a bullet journal is that you can see your thought processes at the time you wrote something. Did you scrawl the note in letters which take up half the page? Was your writing careful and precise? Did you highlight the text in a specific color?
Of course, despite the Contents at the front of your BuJo, you’ll forget where you wrote something.
So, I keep my project calendars in Things (Mac), and keep my remember-this-without-fail-because-it’s-important reminders in Evernote. (These items get transferred from my BuJo, in my daily review.)
2. Review daily, with a lengthier review once a week to keep yourself accountable
Reviewing is essential. Daily reviews — of what you did and didn’t do, or finish — help you to winnow your tasks. You decide whether you’ll delegate a project or task, rather than doing it yourself.
A digression re bullet journaling. You’ll see lots of examples of layouts for BuJos on Pinterest and elsewhere. My BuJo is nothing like that; it’s not an art journal, although I do doodle in it. Mainly I stick with Ryder Carroll’s basic method, and focus on Collections — I keep a Collection for every project, and every interest.
A long project, like a novel, or a series of novels, gets its own Bujo, which I archive when the project’s done. Having a bullet journal for a novel is useful, because it reminds you of your original inspiration for the project.
At the end of each week, or on Sunday, sit down with your bullet journal and do a longer review, in which you map out projects and tasks for the coming week.
3. No, no, and no: why is “no” so hard to say?
For years, I hated saying “no.” I’d tangle myself in knots to avoid saying the word.
Over time, I’ve realized that we all have a limited amount of energy and inspiration each day, and we need to spend them wisely.
Say no when you know that it’s wise to do so.
Also, say NO to yourself. I develop minor obsessions about research and similar activities, and before I know it, an hour’s passed.
I’m training myself to think “later”. I make a note of whatever bright and shiny thing caught my interest in my bullet journal. Then in my daily review, I can either enter the task for tomorrow, or later, or I can ignore it completely.
Getting things done in 2019: use the boost a new year gives you
A new year’s a great time to look at what worked, and what didn’t work, last year, and to set fresh goals.
I’m hoping that my bullet journal(s) will help me to meet my goals in 2019.
Are you using a bullet journal?
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.More info →
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