That’s the name of a system I use to organize my life.
Back in the days when I was single and almost constantly in front of the computer, it seems so effortless to use and rely on my MS Outlook and my other computer- and online-based scheduling applications to get me organized. You would think that since I don’t hold a full time job, I have all the time in the world to be in front of my laptop blogging and doing all those IT-savvy stuff. No such luck. I gave up on organizing my life through a computer. Now, it’s a chore to even switch on the computer, while making sure my 7-year-old son is doing his homework, me finishing with the laundry, cooking, stopping my toddler from climbing up the furnitures, etc.
I had to ask myself, though — since my life is more chaotic than ever, shouldn’t organizing and scheduling be more important now? With that, I tried the old-fashioned way of getting myself a filofax/organizer and stuffing all my to-dos and schedules and priorities and my contacts and my business ideas and sketches into it, the way I always did when I was in college. Didn’t work. Just more mess for me to sort away.
So what a relief it was when I read a post from one of my favourite blogs, Success from The Nest, called How I Gained an Hour a Day by Ditching My Productivity Tools. I started following the tips given in the link, and my notebook/organizer now looks something like Bill Westerman’s. I don’t use Post-Its and I don’t keep my receipts (except if it’s tax-deductible), instead I record them almost immediately in my notebook, which is then stuffed into my handy handbag. I love looking at my sketches and ideas for the next big niche site even if I don’t get around to building it, but it feels good to record them and access them whenever and wherever I like. I do use something electronic for one part of my daily scheduling, and that is using my mobile phone (specifically a Nokia N95) for reminders and snapping pictures of important paper-based notices that I don’t have time to note into my organizer.
Here are a few more references if you’re interested:
- The site that inspired me to go for it. The system is called Getting Sh-t Done.
- Many people recommend the hard-to-find Moleskine notebook, but Mike Rohde can show you how to make your own from an ordinary notebook, and here are his notes and thoughts on having an offline planner.
- I use Isahrai’s technique of checkbox marking with the arrows and stuff.