Life Book

I like to keep busy.  Like…really busy. Ok, maybe not as busy as CJ…but I do have a full time job in tech, Meg’s Retro Cookies, and dancing.  I also try to get in an hour of exercise everyday – it helps compensate for the cookies. I also really enjoy reading fiction, which unfortunately is the thing that often gets sacrificed for the other activities.

Anyway, the point is that I have a lot going on.  And it was getting so difficult to stay organized!  Being organized at work is easier because it’s mostly contained in the office, but everything else was a huge challenge!

Old Organization

In an attempt to de-clutter my brain, I’ve been trying to de-clutter my living space…getting rid of as much as I can.  (More on that later.) While I was tearing through desk drawers I came across my old notebook from three lifetimes ago.  What a treasure! I had completely forgotten my very best organizational habit. Over the years, I have tried to use technology to keep me on my toes, ranging from Wunderlist to entering daily tasks in my Google calendar, all with unsatisfactory degrees of success. Baffling! In theory, the technical solutions SHOULD work – yet important things still slip through the cracks.

Time to resurrect the old habit!

My New Life Book

Life book is not…

  • A diary or journal. It is not for feelings or musings – it is for getting shit done!
  • A date book or pocket calendar. All the pages are either entirely blank or lined. No dates, no quotes. Blank slate.
  • Pristine and orderly. It’s a hot mess.

Life book is everything else…

  • Lists! So many lists! Lists of things to do, people to call, stuff to buy.
  • Always accessible. It must fit in my bag and it cannot be left at work or home.
  • Actionable. Everything in the book is an item to take care of and can be crossed off when completed. When a page is completed, it gets a big X at the top to indicate I can ignore that page.
  • Disposable when done. Since everything is an action item, once all the actions in the book have been completed it relocates from my bag to the recycling bin.

I’ve only been back to this habit for two weeks, but my world is already getting easier. There’s something really satisfying about finally getting to mark a whole page as “done” so I’m inspired to stay productive. I’ve also forgotten far less!

My life book has been a massive help in the Hugo House 30/30 writing challenge! I keep blog post topics in my “to do” list, but then in later pages, I outline what will actually be in the post. When I sit down to write, I refer to my outline page, then cross off the whole outline page as well as one item off my action list. Yeah! A twofer!

This has been the only really effective organizational tool for me. I’m interested in hearing what strategies work for others!

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