With so many technological advancements in the last decade – most people would forgive you if you found yourself confused and swimming in a pool of utility and productivity apps and digitized calendars. Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone and Google Calendar and use it daily, and as brilliant and as life-changing as these inventions are… I will always fall back on my:
LISTS. Yes, Handwritten lists.
I would like to think of myself as someone who is pretty organized. My clothes are generally organized in a certain aesthetically pleasing manner, my belongings are placed strategically and my time is spent efficiently. One could say, that if I didn’t have my pen and notebook near me,I get habitually apprehensive about how to take the day forward. One could also say that I suffer from short-term memory lost; hence jotting things down on the go is super helpful, plus it makes me more answerable to myself. Lists are so simple and efficient it seems impractical to use anything else.
How you deal with the year, week or day is all up to you. 5 years ago Sneha might’ve suggested procrastinating watching cat videos, stress crying or binge eating but, 28 year old Sneha values her sanity more than regurgitating what she use to do back in the day. If you’re over living out your days procrastibaking; I suggest reading the following list (ha!) to understand why the simple pleasures of creating a list makes your day that much better.
The reality is that the aspects of our lives are varying. If you could imagine a beautiful cut diamond; you would notice that every facet of the stone has differing amounts of light reflecting of it on the account of which way its facing. Our lives are no different. Lists help create boundaries between the different parts of our days. It respects the various functions of our daily activities and aids in giving you a clear picture. It sets the scales for when you need to gauge what takes priority on different tasks, whether its work, social or personal. Everything has its place and within its place it has a ranking.
By spending a couple of minutes the night before planning the next day you save so much mental energy and crucial thinking space to actually get on with it. Is there anything more to say?
When you have a mindmap of how your year/week/day is going you can start breaking them down into small and larger priorities – marking down what is the most important thing. Lists help you keep a track of your progress – if you notice that a particular task isn’t crossed off for days or weeks on end, then it probably needs to be done asap. Again, lists make you accountable and if you don’t start of being accountable to yourself, can you really set a good impression for anyone else?
Some would say that checking things of a list is the least of all reasons to be satisfied and clearly not enough to jump on the list-making train. I disagree! Noting things down and crossing them off, is by far one of the best feelings in the world. I always go to bed feeling a sense of relief when I know I have accomplished everything I set out to do for the day. Isn’t crossing off things of a bucket list satisfying? To me, it’s essentially the same thing just on a smaller (less exciting?) scale.
So now that you’re briefed on why they work. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of writing sh*t down.
It useful having a bigger picture of what you want to achieve in the year. And, even more convenient to break them up into different groups like long term objectives, skills you want to acquire or work activities. Try to keep them as vague as possible and eventually build a mind map by writing down additional things that need to be done to achieve these long term goals. A time frame usually helps; 6 months, 3 months and 1 month.
Recently I started using skillshare to pick up certain art and blogging skills and I stumbled across Michael Karnjanaprakorn’s lessons on Real Productivity: How to create your ideal work week. There’s a lot you can take away from his lecture, but the biggest idea for me was how he starts and ends his weeks. He has a model in place called the PLAN → DO → REVIEW system. Where you list your 3 priorities for the week, for the day and finally 3 wins for the week. This system, essentially provides you structure for the day. It’s so schematic and powerful, yet so simplistic – I implemented it the next day.
The basis of it is to write down 3 priorities of the week, which means jotting down three things that need to be achieved by the end of the week, followed by 3 things that need to be done for the day. And, when you review on a sunday night, you note down the three wins for the week. This system is so uncomplicated and efficient it actually leaves you feeling really good. Infact, I loved it so much I started it on a whatsapp group with my closest girlfriend where we write down are goals for the week and review it back at the end of the week. I’m grateful for a bunch of girl who motivate you to touch the sky.
Write Creating Habits: Lists and Productivity,
Finish Bracelet Design
Organize Wardrobe – Fitness Stuff
Top up on Pet Food
Finish outline and final for blog post on productivity
Make sure to finish bracelet design
Clear Email Inbox
I manage to outline, write and post my blog post on productivity
I finished all menial tasks such as laundry and groceries
When you have ideas conceptualized right in front of you, it cooperates so much better than a 10000 ideas in your head. In short, I can only hope this helps you accomplish your goals! Technology is a beautiful, scary thing and I don’t know what I would do without my iPhone or Google Cal but I do, know that I would be hopeless without a pen and paper.
Note: I like to digitize everything and put it down in ink and paper. It’s extra effort but I find that it really helps me.