How to get things done
I used to make lists on pieces of paper. I used have a collection of various-sized scrappy bits of paper in the kitchen, held together by a big clip, and I'd use these bits of paper for lists. LOTS of lists:
General to-do lists (put the rubbish out, ironing)
Lists of big things (paint the house, redesign the garden)
Shopping lists (85% dark chocolate, eggs)
Lists of work stuff (update diary, tidy workshop, call supplier)
You get the picture. Actually I'd generally have these four lists on the go all time - four bits of paper - or, WORSE, a SINGLE piece of paper with an assortment of incomprehensively impossible-to-achieve-in-a-one-list-timescale items on it! Like the worst list EVER.
Write arts festival submission.
Car service 10am a week on Wednesday.
Call supplier (about that thing I've forgotten because I didn't write it down).
And what about the things that don't make it onto a list? The ones that are - *shudders* - unlistable. You know, how to take care of the things that pop into your head without notice, when you're in a different room to all of your lists - but it's something that you just can't forget? Like 'I must remember to ask X about Y to find out whether Z has happened BEFORE I go ahead and circulate the agenda for the meeting that's happening after the weekend.....' Yes, you must remember - but DO you? Do you get into bed and then think 'BOTHER - I should have asked X about Y to find out about Z - and because I haven't, it means I can't circulate the agenda - oh never mind, there's always tomorrow'?
Yup. Been there. And not just with X, Y and Z - but with the entire alphabet, several times over.
I don't have this problem with lists any more. I still have a list though - it's just in a different format. And thanks to the genius of Ryder Carroll and the amazing Bullet Journal system, I'm keeping on top of it. I've been planning my life in this way since mid-April, and two months in I've been finding excellent ways of adapting it to suit me and my (new-found, work-in-progress, watch-this-space!) work/life balance.
Check out the links at the end of this post to find some amazing sources of information about the Bullet Journal system and how to make it work for you. There are several blogs that I've read in their entirety over the last few months which have made such a difference to my life!
But back to the list thing. You know, 'ironing', 'put the rubbish out', 'call supplier'.
If I've got 'ironing' on my list - and there are 4 things waiting to be ironed - that's great! I'll get the ironing board out, switch on BBC iPlayer Radio, and get ALL the ironing done. But what if there are 19 things waiting to be ironed? If my list says 'ironing', I'm going to feel like such a failure if I only iron 4 of those 19 things!
So 'ironing' doesn't go on my list! 'Iron 5 things' does. Or 'Iron 5 things each'. That's just 5 - or in the case of the latter, 10 - things to iron. After which I have ACHIEVED what is on my list! And you know what? If I've ironed 5 things of mine, and 5 belonging to my husband, and the radio play I'm listening to hasn't finished yet - well, I might just iron another couple of things while I'm at it! Which means I'll've not just ACHIEVED what's on my list, but NAILED it!
I mean, unless I'm about to go on a round-the-world cruise which requires me to launder every single item of clothing in the house so I can pack it (which I'm not), when will the occasion EVER present itself that I have to iron the ENTIRE ironing pile in one go? It won't!
'Put the rubbish out' is not useful in a household with three different bins for kerbside collection and an alternating two-week schedule. Writing 'Put recycling bin out' on my page for 20th June, however, means the RIGHT bin will go outside the house ready for the correct collection on 21st June. And it's the same number of words on the list - they're just much more useful words when it comes to getting the task done!
As far as the list of 'big' things is concerned - 'paint the house', for instance - well, a much more likely-to-be-achieved list item might be 'paint the hall walls'. The next week, once I've done the walls, I might have 'paint the hall skirting boards'. One thing at a time.
And the shopping list is easy - it's a post-it note stuck to today's page of my Bullet Journal (which is just a lined notebook, in my case - nothing fancy) - and I just write stuff on it as I go. The fact that it's IN my notebook means I don't have to tear around looking for that scrappy piece of paper in the kitchen that might or might not be the shopping list......
It's all in one notebook - the home stuff, the work stuff, the big stuff, the small stuff, the shopping list - and this means that I don't have to go running about finding stray bits of paper!
Ryder Carroll's Bullet Journal - This is the system. Simple, straightforward and life-changing.
How to Bullet Journal: The Absolute Ultimate Guide - a very funny and incredibly useful overview of Ryder Carroll's fabulous system.
Blogs that take the Bullet Journal further
Productive & Pretty - I've read this entire blog and it's really fun and really useful.
Boho Berry - some incredibly creative planning solutions.
Pretty Prints and Paper - fabulous advice and loads of videos.