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How to Identify the Most Important Thing in Your Day

How to Identify the Most Important Thing in Your Day

I love to read about productivity plans and to play with them in my own routine. However, a lot of them talk about choosing your most important task of the day. When I first read that I thought, “One!? I can’t choose only one!” Then after reading about it multiple times, I decided to start an experiment and to my surprise, it was very helpful. Here are a few questions I ask myself to figure out my most important task of the day.

Are there deadlines coming up?

This is probably the easiest way to pinpoint your most important task. If you have something due tomorrow, do it today. Also, if there is something you’ve been putting off, but it really needs to get done, make it your most important thing. This might be where you stop, but if you have nothing that is imminently due or behind, then you should continue on to the other questions.

What will be the most satisfying to complete?

I use this qualifier more often than not. There are some things you have going on that will just be very satisfying to finish or get caught up on. This is especially true for things you aren’t very keen on doing. Get it out of the way first, then your day will have a satisfying ending.

What will you be disappointed tomorrow?

I try to be nice to tomorrow me and you should, too. If it’s going to be a hassle to finish a project tomorrow, try to get it done today. The worst thing is waking up in the morning and realizing that you have a huge project to complete that you should have worked on the day before.

What do you have time for?

My most open days are Monday and Friday right now. I know that I can stick my larger projects on those days and not feel overwhelmed. On the other hand, Wednesdays are my busiest days currently. I try to be gentle with myself and have simple goals on that day since I know that I won’t have as much time. Always be kind to yourself as much as you can.

Even at the end of these questions, I still sometimes have more than one most important task. I split my tasks into personal and work items and that usually helps me. It also helps to have a hierarchy of importance, so there is a list of 3-5 of my most important tasks in each category. How do you decide which tasks are the most important?

Bullet Journal with No Rules

Bullet Journal with No Rules

When I first got into the bullet journal, it felt stifling. Between making weekly checklists, remembering to migrate tasks, and trying to update redundant lists, I started to lose a lot of steam for this truly useful to-do list technique. My whole bullet journal experience changed when I decided to stop following the rules word for word and instead adapt the most useful methods to what I needed. I imagine that a lot of people feel this way about their bullet journal and I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to bullet journal with only the rules you need! Or to make up your own.

Decide What’s Right For You

Take a look at your bullet journal. What are your favorite parts of it? What are your least favorite parts? I really love having daily task lists, but I really hate feeling like I have to migrate tasks. So, I stopped migrating tasks. If a task didn’t get done that day, I scratched it off. I have a master to-do list in OmniFocus for all of my recurring tasks, so I know that no important tasks are going to get through the cracks. Take your number one least favorite part and figure out how you can stop doing it. Some things are as easy as just stopping them (like adding decoration to pages), but others might require some thought (like getting rid of the index).

Experiment

If you aren’t sure of how a particular piece impacts you, do an experiment. I thought that habit trackers were an awesome idea, so I gave it a try. Almost immediately I got behind and was trying to remember what I had completed three days before. It didn’t work. It’s an awesome idea, but it doesn’t work for me! I also tried different sizes of notebooks and realized that the type of notebook they recommend really is the best (even if it costs an arm and a leg.) You never know what is going to help you, so try all kinds of different things and don’t sweat the things that don’t work.

Bullet journals are really awesome resources! I absolutely love mine, even if it isn’t exactly what they show on the official website. You can love yours too if you take the time to figure out what you do and do not like. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to the Bullet Journal, I’m always adding new stuff so check it out for more ideas. Remember that the bullet journal’s job is to make your life easier!

Do you have any tips or tricks for using the bullet journal? What are your favorite and least favorite parts of it?

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One Small Thing is Better Than Nothing

One Small Thing is Better Than Nothing

Sometimes I let things fall behind. I forget to clean out my email for weeks or I haven’t worked on my online course in months. Sometimes I don’t feel like doing anything, even things I think are fun. It’s so easy to get into a rut and so hard to find a way out. But I’ve found something that helps take the edge off of the times where doing anything is too much.

From Scratch Paper Studio

One small thing is better than nothing. It’s an amazingly simple concept: do something, no matter how small it is, even doing one thing is way better than doing nothing.

When my email gets overwhelming, I tell myself to delete the ones that are obviously spam. I do that one thing, that takes me less than five minutes, and the next time I open my email box it seems that much less daunting.

For my online class, I set a timer for five minutes in the morning and do what work I can in that time. It’s very slow going, but it is preferable to making no progress.

Your small steps might be smaller or larger than mine, but they still count for something. Look around and find your ruts. Do one small thing to make them that much easier.

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The Bullet Journal: Organize Your Life Simply

The Bullet Journal: Organize Your Life Simply

 

In this blog, I am all about making life more organized as easily as possible. The bullet journal definitely makes the cut.

 

The concept is to create short journal “entries” each day of the week to remember tasks, events, and any other notes for the day. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. And the best part is it is completely customizable. It’s whatever you decide it needs to be. I’ll walk you through the basic set-up and then describe how to choose for yourself which features benefit you and your life.

 

 

Materials
You only really need two things to start a bullet journal.

 

1. A notebook. (I got mine at Target, but many people like the Leuchtturm 1917)

 

2. A writing implement. (I use a blue pen from my work)

 

Of course, you can always use more materials than that. You can have multiple colored pens or markers, you can use tabs or bookmarks, but the bare minimum is a notebook and writing utensil of your choosing.

 

 

Index and Logs
The very first thing in your bullet journal is the index and page numbers. The index a simple list of where everything is. This journal is a stream of consciousness, whenever you think of something to add, you put it on the next blank page and add the next sequential page number. The index is the way to easily be able to find each entry and what you are looking for.

 

There are three types of logs: future log, monthly log, and weekly log. The future log is a way to lay out the coming months. Usually this is done in six-month stints. It’s a way to quickly look over your future. The monthly logs are usually set up at the beginning of each month and show any pertinent events or notes for the month. Some people add a to-do list for the month here. The weekly log is for mapping the coming week. This is most helpful with to-dos.

 

 

Tasks, Events, and Notes
¬†Here is where we get to the heart of the bullet journal. Tasks are the most common; they are the things that need to get done. They are typically denoted by a bullet point (hence a bullet journal) and when a task is completed, an “x” is drawn through the bullet. I like to use boxes and fill them in as I complete each task, it’s just my preference.

 

Events are the things you schedule, such as a doctor’s appointment or stopping at the store after work. They are denoted with a circle (and I use triangles). Notes are anything you want to remember for the day and are denoted by a dash (which I use the same thing). They can be as simple as saying you have leftovers to writing down the first word of your child.

 

All three of these categories are important and differentiating them is also important. You should be able to glance at your daily list and immediately see how many appointments you have scheduled. You should also be able to quickly read through any notes you have when you go back through your journal.

 

 

Migrating and Abandoning
What happens if you don’t get everything done for the day? You have two simple options: either you move it to the next day or you abandon it. To migrate a task or event to a new day simply put an arrow through its bullet and write it on the next day’s list. This way, you know that the task is still being taken care of, just not on the day you originally intended it. If you decided it’s not the right time for that particular task or the event ended up not happening, you can draw a line through the whole entry. The simplicity is astounding, but this method seriously works.

 

 

The Bullet Journal is Whatever You Want
I want to wrap up this post by reminding you that the Bullet Journal is whatever you want it to be. You can already see that I have made a few tweaks to the original model by using different bullets than the original. I have also completely done away with the future, monthly, and weekly logs. They just don’t work for me. My bullet journal looks mostly like a daily to do list; it’s very rare that I write a note.¬† Also, sometimes I write an arrow to migrate and I don’t write it down for the next day or I scratch out an entry only to have it reappear two days later. There are no rules when it comes to your personal bullet journal. It’s whatever you want to make it so your life is a little easier. I would suggest looking around at how different people use their journals to get a feel for the style that suits you best. I’ll share a few of my sources below. I would suggest setting up your journal in the traditional fashion for the first few months, then tweaking the things that just don’t work or adding in something you wish you had. It’s all up to you, which is why this is my favorite method of scheduling. have fun learning a new organization tool!

 

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