Back in September, work was incredibly busy – but it was a good busy. I was working on some pretty fun stuff like tradeshow swag, holiday items and print ads. Plus, there’s nothing like a little good old-fashioned job security! But still, it was crazy – lots of extra-long, hyper-focused, “don’t forget!” days.
Being so busy at work made it really hard to keep track of my personal tasks. I had so many to-do items swirling around in my head that I felt overwhelmed, scattered and unable to focus. Every time a “don’t forget!” would pop in my head, my brain went into overdrive and recited every-single-task it was storing. (see also: overwhelming)
I tried downloading goal-setting and task-accomplishing apps – but they just turned into another thing I had to remember to do. (see also: defeating the purpose)
I decided I just needed to get all of this “goop” out of my head. So, I grabbed an unused notebook and wrote EVERYTHING down. From the little daily items to weekly/monthly plans, even the random “don’t forget you have a coupon for XYZ that expires on…” – it all got written down with a checkbox next to it.
Ladies and gentlemen, it was a game-changer. I immediately felt like a weight was lifted. I finally felt like I had a clear idea of what and when to get things done. My brain was no longer over-flowing with tasks and to-dos and “don’t forgets!“. (see also: head goop)
Sure, it looks a little crazy…but how that page looks is exactly how my brain had felt: busy, overcrowded and disorganized. Nevertheless, there is just something about being able to see it all that makes it seem manageable. I no longer have to worry about remembering every little detail and feel a sense of relief just knowing that everything was written down.
I bring this book everywhere and update it constantly. There is something strangely rewarding in writing my tasks down. I feel a small sense of accomplishment because I know that writing it down is the first step to getting it done. Plus, I think we can all agree that few things are more rewarding than crossing an item off of a to-do list! I love flipping through previous pages to look at all of the items I’ve checked off.
Alright – so maybe my “head goop” book is nothing more than a glorified to-do list…but I maintain than it is infinitely better than my previous systems. (see also: “overloaded brain“, “forgetting post-it notes at work“)
In fact, I think this is the best idea I’ve had since I “invented” the 5-minute Journal:
To re-cap, the 5-minute Journal is when you use a planner as a journal. It’s the perfect amount of space to jot down the things worth remembering from your daily life. As I said in my original post: If you realize that you have nothing interesting to write about – it’s a good sign that it’s time to shake things up!
Keeping up with these 2 books are part of my 2014 Goals. Ridding my brain of
clutter goop is a healthy habit that is worth continuing!