Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The power of one little symbol

I don't know about you, but I keep lists. Lists of things to do, paintings to paint, books to read (and write), blog post ideas, wish lists, movies to watch, household jobs, orders to make up, paints to order, website elements to add...I rather need lists of my lists. I keep them in a notebook, so they are all together, and refer to them often.

I work in paper notebook and with a paper diary as I still find that the most efficient way to manage my time. I had to go to October in this year's diary to find a month that has nothing in it - yet - though I plan to go to the US and Canada...anyway, here is the weekly spread from my favourite planning diary.

This diary is a great design by kikki.K. I use the A5 size diary so I can always have it with me. It
actually has enough room for Saturday and Sunday activities (!) and also a notes section on each weekly spread. That's where I plan out my weekly tasks.

It also has a planning section for each month - that's where I plan out the monthly tasks.

But it only has a few (well - 6) pages for notes in the back. There is a page for Websites, there is a Wish List page, one each for Movies, Books, Restaurants/Bars, 6 pages of Expenses and 4 for Addresses. It's been well thought through. But not enough room for all my lists. Yes I could go back to the Filofax system and have them all together in one folio but I prefer this style of annual diary.

So I keep another notebook for lists. It's better than lots of pieces of paper or stick-it notes. I have tried cutting out indentations creating different sections but you end up wasting pages when other sections take more space than expected. So I simply add an index to the back of the notebook, number each page (the Leuchtturm1917 are already numbered) and start a new page for each list, adding that page number back into my index. It works. Mostly.

I'd tick the tasks completed, asterisk the most important, and the rest would just have a • waiting to be done. I'd write them into the next week or the next month (or the next year...) and those • would still be there, catching my attention when I looked back through even though they had been written elsewhere.

Then I came across a very clever little symbol '>' in the Bullet Journal system designed by Ryder Carroll. In his system, > means migrated to another place. He also uses < to mean scheduled for another month but that is not as significant as the > to me. All those visually distracting little • marks get turned into > when I have migrated them elsewhere and I don't have to look at them any more. The power of one little symbol. Thanks Ryder!

In case you are interested, the Bullet Journal system is about keeping one notebook for everything - diary, notes, lists - everything - which is not what I was interested in, but the annotation system is interesting. Briefly -
• denotes a task. Once done, or written elsewhere, it gets changed to one of the following -
x task completed (I prefer a tick/check so will continue with that - it seems more positive :-)
> migrated to another place
< scheduled for another month
Cross out the task if it is not longer relevant - don't waste your time.
o a circle denotes an event such as a birthday
notes, quotes etc - no action needed
! research needed, *priority, etc can be added to emphasis the above notations.

Don't worry, I am not going to show my diary and notebook lists on-line (though it is amazing how many people do!) but I did want to share this little symbol as I found it very helpful :-)