If there’s one thing you’ll encounter in a perusal of internet message boards, blogs, and the Business shelves of your local bookstores, it’s methods for planning your day. They’ve got all kinds of snazzy names, like Inbox Zero, the Pomodoro method, Getting Things Done, Blast Jumping, etc. All of them are equally valid and worthless, especially the last one, which doesn’t exist, depending on who you are. I’ve tried a lot of them, hopping from one to the next like a candle lover searching for the perfect pine needle scent.
What I’ve found works for me, and as you can probably guess from the graphic above, is a Post-it note method. I’ve heard about this from a few places, and have used it daily for a couple of years now. It more or less consists of using a post-it note or similar-sized piece of paper, creating line items on it for tasks that you need to accomplish on that day, and crossing them off one by one as you knock them out. It’s extremely satisfying to draw that line (most days I’ll go the extra effort to draw a little box just so I can put an X in it). That visual validation of “hey, I got that thing done” is just so awesome.
Yes, you might be thinking that “awesome” is a bit strong for making a mark on a piece of paper, especially with the task is “laundry”, but hey, that’s a big deal for some of us.
Anyway, why a post-it and not an overflowing stack of notebook paper?
Because you can’t fit all that many things on a single post-it note. You have to prioritize, you have to focus, and you generally can’t overwork yourself unless you’re being too general. “Write a novel” is not a suitable Post-it note task. “Write three chapters” or “Knock out two thousand words” is more in line with the whole feasibility thing. I find the more granular the task, the better the method, because then you can get to that crucial dopamine fix of X’ing a line off more easily.
Now, Post-it notes aren’t great at lining up your future. In other words, it’s a little difficult to plan out a year’s worth of projects, or even a month’s, using the little scraps. So I mix Post-its with my Google Calendar and Todoist, though I tend to use the latter as dumping ground for tasks that I rummage in to fill up the Post-it note every day. That way I’ve got my weekly/monthly/yearly plans in order, but the day-to-day is spit into bite-sized accomplishments.
So if you’re wondering what method to try next, or if you’re feeling like you frequently forget what you’re doing, raid your supply closet or the closest Target and get a stack of Post-its. You might find it useful. Or, dare I say it, fun.