What do you want your days to look like?

I have lots of aids to help me remember what I need to do any given day. I’m sure you do too. I’m interested in hearing about other people’s methods, because seriously, you people have your stuff together. Woo!

I’ve tried Evernote, glanced at Springpad, made a good college try at Batchbook. I’ve attempted to use my calendar as the Center of Everything… but still at the end of the day, it’s my little brown Moleskine with the graph paper pages and my trusty gel pen that really get it done. Little pocket for slips of paper or things to mail. Stamps if I need them (I write a lot of letters these days). It’s an object that I enjoy holding and using.

Flexible. The pages are unformatted and my note-taking is allowed to evolve. Right now I’m doing this great thing where I account for all of my time during the day. Above it is my to do list I wrote first thing in the morning, below I just bang out a ticker tape of blocks of time and what I did during them. If I screw off, I write it down. It’s ok to screw off a bit, but if I see an hour chunk where I didn’t do anything but sit at my desk and enjoy the internet, maybe I need to change that.

Meditative. Writing is doing, and for me writing is also memorizing and meditating. When I write down a to do list, I’m able to feel that word come out of the pen. The time it takes to complete that task becomes real for me in that moment. I might realize that it’s more important than something else, or that I can get it done quickly and first so it’s out of the way. I might also realize that it’s completely unimportant and I can let it slide to the next day. No big deal.

A client of mine writes herself notes, and her notes have made me change the way I write my notes. They’re here and there on post its, but they’re not to-do necessarily, and they’re not your run-of-the-mill reminders causing clutter. She writes work down in other places, like dry erase boards and an ever-open paper calendar, but those other notes are really something. They’re more like big ideas. “I want fun profitable work,” one says. Another reminds her to get outside and play, and even says how much time she should spend doing that every day.

And so I’ve adapted my lists too, because she’s on to something big. I don’t just write my work stuff down because I’m not two people. I’m one person who needs to play and pay bills and do fun work and maybe pick up a few groceries. So I have one notebook for everything. Dinner parties? In there. Reminders for me to invoice stuff? In there. Big thoughts like “Get Awesome?” In there.

If you’re writing two or three lists in a bunch of different places for all those people you think you are, maybe consolidating your goals and things to do into one list is better. You’re one person with 24 brilliant hours in which you need to garden, play, run to the bank, find new customers, walk the dog, write a blog post, research something… and for me, I’d like everyday to be fun, productive, full, manageable, and profitable. I want to waste less time and get to gettin’, whether that’s gettin’ more yoga in or gettin’ projects done for clients.

You know what doesn’t make the list? TV. Angry Birds. Thumb twiddlin’. No wait, I do have some time blocked out tomorrow for thumb twiddlin’. I also have something down here for whistling and looking innocent. It’s slated to happen right after I eat some cake. Ha!

I’d love to hear what you think of this. What do you think of keeping one list for personal and business stuff? What do you want your days to look like?

2 thoughts on “What do you want your days to look like?

  1. Your thoughts are so right on. It is difficult to select the very best, most right on place or way to take and keep notes. I agree with you that the Moleskin is by far the best way to keep notes.

    • Maybe you’ve hit on another idea, too, Diane. You say it’s “difficult to select the very best, most right on place.” Maybe we don’t have to commit to one system necessarily. Maybe a notebook in tandem with a calendar is good. Or _____ in tandem with ______ and ______ and you fill in those blanks as you wish. I reckon the habit is the most important part. Thanks for your thoughts!

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