The main objective of To-Do Lists is to guide throughout the day. It enables to focus, remember things that we aim to accomplish and assess how realistic the scope of activities is.
To create a To-Do List seems like a simple task, and hopefully, it is this way for you.
However, there are several common flaws attached to a usual way of To-Do Lists building:
- They are random and unstructured
It happens this way: you wake up with some thoughts in mind: “I haven’t sent an email to a client! I need to do it first thing in the morning!”, “My inbox is flooding with emails!”… So you rush into the day, put things to your To-Do List very quickly and get down to work straight.
Typically, these things follow an urgent nature. There is not much room to think. So, your list looks like a mess which lacks focus and trajectory.
- They do not have a devoted place
Since we often in a rush, we tend to note down in the first piece of paper. Alternatively, some of us would do it in a notebook and start writing something else on the next page. Next page – something else again. In the end, we totally lose track of the notes.
- Bullet Journal helps overcome these issues. It provides:
- Sense of direction
In Bullet Journal you would create a yearly log → monthly → daily. So, you start from reverse: not from your plan for the day, but from your plan for the year. Imagine, one of your yearly goals is to read 1 book a month. So, how would you organize your day?
The benefit of this approach is that you really become aware of your direction and end goal. If you know your plan for the year, you can come up with a good plan for a day.
As good as your day plan can be… If it does not add to your final goal, it is useless.
- High priority
Things leading directly to your end goals. Complete them in the most productive hours and always book time slots in a day where you are doing to knock out your goals.
- Urgent matters / low priority
Urgent matters and low priority is not the same, but for the purpose of simplicity, I combine them together since they require the same approach.
There are urgent tasks that still need to be completed, but they do not necessarily contribute to your end goal. That’s OK; you became aware of it: instead of rushing to compete them first thing in the morning, you stop prioritizing them.
For example, if you need to go to the bank to resolve some issue, you know it cannot be outsourced or neglected. But you can be smart about timing: book a time slot for it when you are least productive / squeeze it in between your high priority tasks.
- Things called “I’d love to do”
There are things in life that you know could be good for you, but they are not directly leading to your end goal. For example, I would like to learn Dutch, but it will not bring me to my end goal. So, I put it off till my high priority tasks get solved.
- Fun stuff
This is a big weakness of mine – I tend to forget this part, but to maintain a good level of productivity it is necessary. When you are relaxing, your brain still works in a diffuse mode. When you get back to work, you can experience a steep flow of ideas.
How often should you do this? Some research shows that to be on track with your goals, 2 times a week is a good indicator to go out. It depends on you and certainly varies from week to week. But I’d say start with this metric and adjust it on the way.
Bullet Journal is a place to store your notes and lists. So, you can always come back and revisit them. You can see what can be improved and if you have neglected some of your goals. One said, at the very end of life those wins who learn from their own mistakes. So, it’s necessary to track your actions and analyze later on what went wrong / could be improved.
They say, if you cannot organize your notes, you cannot organize your thoughts.
In practice this means:
- You know what you want from today, tomorrow and this month. A lot of our problems arise because we do not know where we are going. We do not know our values, standards and directions.
- You become more concise and precise with your words. Are you familiar with this one:
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
― Mark Twain
This skill is very beneficial in business and in life in general: we are all lacking time, so we tend to respect those who also respect our time.
Learn how to start a Bullet Journal in my book: “Bullet Journal: A Practical Guide How To Start A Bullet Journal“.