…I attempt to dig my way out of a mess that’s part circumstance, and part me. A combination of factors got me here today, looking forward (not) to a weekend of speed-working my way through hundreds of emails while implementing a revised GTD with my Hobonichi planner that could hopefully prevent this from happening again.
Ah, it’s a familiar mantra. You work your ass off and killed that 500-email beast with grit and guts and you shout to the heavens, ye! No more! No longer will I allow such a beast to overwhelm me again!
And whoops there ya go, one week later it’s back to 500.
Cue the stress-shopping, the late nights refusing to do work the more work you have and God, sometimes you hate yourself you know? Even when it’s a hard situation you’re in which is not entirely your fault and in some ways that’s almost as bad as being in crap that was entirely your fault. I guess because the latter is something you had control over and the former, not.
I’m wandering, forgive me.
I like the principles behind GTD; it makes sense. I don’t like using Outlook as my be all end all though. Technology has failed me, more than once. At least depending on myself will help me train myself to be a better me in the interim.
What’s your method to the madness in your life?
I go through the same email problem. Every time I get my inbox to 0, I swear I will no longer let it go, but sure enough, one week later…
My “method” is mostly writing everything down. Sitting down and clearing my head allows me the brain space to work. If I don’t make lists, I worry I’ll forget something and then that worry contributes to the pile-on that makes me not want to do anything.
But how do you manage those lists and make sure things that need to be done get done? I think I’ve rigged out a system that uses my Hobonichi that could work and I’ll be road testing it this coming week, but I’m terrified I’m just fooling myself!
At the beginning of the year, I make a list of goals I’d like to accomplish (or need to accomplish). At the beginning of my Hobonichi, there’s pages that have two months to a page (and dates along the side, which I ignore). I use the 12th month of the previous year to make that yearly goal list and I use those other months to break down the yearly goals (like if there’s a party in June I need to plan, I’ll make note of it in April that I should start brainstorming and May that I should order/make reservations/etc.).
Each month, I revisit my yearly list and pick one or two things to add to my goals for the month (I learn what’s manageable as I go along). I use the December days of the previous year in my Hobonichi planner (it’s after the monthly calendars) to have lists dedicated to each week (I’m thinking of purchasing a dedicated weekly planner for this, though). Each week, I take a few of my month goals and add them to the weekly list, along with any deadlines and chores I’d like to accomplish (or need to accomplish).
Then I have a cheap pad of paper that moves around the apartment/work with me (cheap just in case I lose it) and that notepad has a running list. I add a few of my week’s goals to that list along with whatever I have to get done that day. I cross things off as I go. Sometimes everything gets crossed off, sometimes not. The next day, I add a few more things to that list from my Week’s goals (how many depends on various things). I also just sort of revisit that Week list to tweak it–maybe I was a bit too ambitious when I made the list, or suddenly something new and more urgent came up.
The cheap notepad also contains a list of things I want to add to one of my lists in the Hobonichi later, new deadlines, or just something I want to look up. The more I can free my mind up, the better. This list gets reviewed regularly.
At the end of the week, I begin a new list on the cheap notepad and start clean. If something didn’t get done the previous week, I’ll either realize it wasn’t so important, or add it to the new list. A add a few new things from the monthly list for the new week. I revisit my monthly list to tweak it as needed. At the end of the month, if I got all my goals done, I make sure to do something small, but nice for myself ’cause I can, ha! I also revisit the yearly list to cross of what was completed in that month.
This method is ever evolving and takes a lot learning about myself–like if I have a big project, I know there are certain points where I just can’t add things I’d like to get done as opposed to things I need to get done. I have to be gentle when things don’t get done and sometimes just rip the daily list up and start fresh. Also, there are times I’ll just stop making lists because I’m depressed, at which point, I’m learning to be gentle with myself.
I’m also learning to not use “should” during my day. “I should be cleaning out the refrigerator right now,” gets replaced with, “I could be cleaning out the refrigerator if I made it a priority, but right now, self-care is my priority.” Stuff like that.
And now I can cross off “write book” off my list, because I feel like I’ve written a book about my lists. 😉 j/k
Haha I think it was wonderful, thank you very much! It definitely sounds like something I’m trying to implement myself, with some variations. And you’re right, forgiving myself is so key – there are bad days you just have to weather through!