My new bullet journal layout has been completed with an enormous brain dump. All my ideas have been captured and put into the new planning system. How? Well, watch 🙂
I sit at my desk, the to-do list before me. It is a good day, there are only ten things scheduled that need to be done. More importantly, there are only five additional things that are overdue. Okay, I can also see that tomorrow isn’t looking quite so good. There are 31 things that will compete for my attention when the sun rises. I feel overwhelmed. Things could get quite busy, quite quickly.
I use Omnifocus to keep my projects and to-dos in order. I try, I honestly do, to keep on top of things. The to-do list in front of me isn’t going away. I have almost 50 things vying for my attention. So what do I do first?
I use a mixture of help from David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change in my decision.
There are some things on the list that can’t be done at this moment. That’s because I am at my desk. Some things on the list require me to be at the shops, or talking to someone else, or can only be done at a certain time. I can leave some things till later. This is what David Allen refers to as the context. Depending on the context we find ourselves, there are some things that can or can’t be done.
That still leaves plenty on my list to get on with. So now I slip into the Important and Urgent grid. This is something I picked up from Stephen Covey. Everything we ‘can’ do falls into a grid, ranging from Important / Urgent things to Not important / Not urgent tasks. It is obvious that the Not urgent or Not important things shouldn’t be chosen… in fact, we should try to eliminate them from our (productive) lives. The good thing about this grid is that it highlights things that we think we should do, but actually should be left alone. These are the Urgent but Not important things. Quite often these are interruptions, but they can also be things that we think need to be done, but because they are not important we should leave them be. The idea is to try to get all our tasks into the Important / Not urgent box. This gives us time to complete the tasks and lets us focus on the things that really matter.
Unfortunately, I have let things slip and I find a couple of things in my urgent and important quadrant. So, what should I do? The answer is to choose the most important / most urgent thing. Here a little common sense and project management skill come into play. I have two tasks that both need to be done. However, one of them will help the other, albeit indirectly, so that one gets the nod.*
When it comes to completing something, you need to know what you are doing. This can be difficult for creative types, we tend not to think tasks, or actions, and can end up feeling overwhelmed with what needs to be done – yes, I end up that way far too often.
Try and set a goal for each day, a top task, something that you need to finish. The further ahead you can plan these tasks and goals the less you’ll find yourself in the ‘bad’ quadrants. Know what you are going to do every day. You don’t need to plan every moment of your life, what’s the fun in that! Just know what you’re going to try to achieve each day. If you can prepare the night before. Your subconscious won’t be fretting about what you are going to do, it will already know. It will actually be laying down ideas for what to do, while you’re lying down.
May you find yourselves happily living and working in the Zen Zone of Creativity, go forth and create.
How have you done this week? Have you managed to create everything you wanted, or set out, to do?
If you haven’t, and I’m talking to myself here, what are you (am I) going to do about it?
There may be plenty of emotions: anger, remorse, self-loathing. Just thinking about the time I may have let slip by brings me down. But that’s the little point I want to make.
We should think about what we have and haven’t achieved. We should review our time. We need to note where and when and why we have been successful or not. Then, either try to repeat next week or change the things that made us go awry.
Take a moment each week, doesn’t have to be a Friday but the end of the week works for me and review your creative adventure. Keep positive habits, commit to change bad ones and realise your creative potential. Learn from both what you have done… and what you haven’t.
A week where you haven’t been creative can still be a learning and therefore positive experience.
It is a leap year. We have an extra day. An additional day to complete things, do more and enjoy ourselves. However, that doesn’t really help February. Even with an extra day it is still the shortest month of the year. Despite the corporations instilling the virtues of love and demanding we part with our cash to share it with others, it is also a month that so often sees us longing for spring and summer.
February felt like a two steps backward one step forward month. I write it in that order because as the month closes I feel positive about things. To end up feeling that way I needed to stop, go back and organise.
I was feeling overwhelmed, from my pile of books and journals to the situation I still found myself in despite trying to sort things out. This is a state of affairs I often find myself. However, this time I managed to go through everything I wanted and needed to do and organise it all.
My goals needed to be reassessed. Nothing was connected. I had things I was doing, but I was unsure about why I was doing them. This can lead to a lack of motivation on the best of days… but February c’mon.
A big list was made in OmniOutliner. Everything I wanted to do and achieve was put on it. Goals, roles and projects were all connected up. The list was pulled into OmniFocus where after a little editing and refining, it began to tell me what my next action was.
My goals are now aligned with my life vision. My goals have projects, and the projects have steps to complete them. I’ll expand a little on this in other posts, as this is just a review of the month.
The planning meant that posts here were a little light on the ground. I also failed to complete the FAWM challenge, or will do at midnight. I did write over ten tracks, but that’s not enough for victory. Some freelance work took a very short break, but has been pushed forward this morning.
I am up to date with Patreon and I am excited about how that is developing.
I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped, but by taking a step back, March is looking to be a very interesting month.
I posted this image, along with a few words, over at Imaginality I thought it was worth sharing here too. It’s something I need reminding of quite regularly. So much of my time is spent fire-fighting items in the important / urgent quadrant, that needs to change. One day I hope to attain my Zen Zone of Creativity.