Time Management Monday: Write it where you need it

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I’m not a fan of the inbox technique of capturing all your scheduling, tasks and notes on one notebook page, because these things then need to be processed later. Appointments to schedule, tasks to be done, contacts information, lists and notes; when you write all of this in the same spot, you then have to sift through it all and write it again in its correct destination.

Anything that requires an extra step is likely not to get done at all. The result is a big mix of information, none of it in a readily usable form. If you don’t process the information constantly, you’ll create a backlog and things will slip through the cracks. That’s definitely not a recipe for productivity.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a step up from having random sticky notes everywhere. But there’s a much more efficient way to capture information.

Write information where you need to see it when you are ready to use it. Write it only once, so you don’t have to process it again later.

In an ideal world, you would carry your planner (to schedule appointments and write tasks) and your notebook (to write your lists and notes) with you everywhere. This is no problem if both are pocket size.

If you are a one-book person, there are several ways to capture everything you need by combining notes and scheduling in your book.

1) The planner/ notebook: Use a planner with the schedule on the left page and the right page open for lists and notes like the Space 24 (shown in the photo above),  Note 27 and Rhodia planners. This allows you to write plans directly into the day they will happen, write relevant information alongside, and give you a landing spot for lists and notes.

2) The notebook + monthly booklet: If you need more page space for lists and notes, turn your everyday-carry notebook into a scheduling tool by slipping in a pocket size monthly booklet like the Visoplan or Exaplan. This allows you to consult your monthly planner for dates, write in appointments, and take copious notes all in one carry-all book. If you need more space on a particular date, add a note to check the page in your notebook for things to bring along or prepare ahead of time.

With these methods you can hit the ground running without worrying about processing your information. Every day the info you need is right there in front of you, ready when (and where) you need it.

2 thoughts on “Time Management Monday: Write it where you need it

  1. I get what you’re saying and agree. I actually do exactly what you demonstrated and write the information where I’ll need it. For example, my daughter comes over on Thursdays a lot. So on my Thursday page, I keep a running list of things I want to tell her or give her or ask her. I do the same with my daughter-in-law. I write the same kind of notes on the page when I know I’m going to see her. It only makes sense.

  2. This is why bullet journaling does not work for me: a big, giant, unsorted list is the same as a big, giant pile of snail mail. Icons don’t help because I still have to go back and sort and move items. The advice for snail mail is to deal with each piece of paper once and I do the same with information. The Space 24 is what I use at work. I can write down appointments on the date; I can write down tasks on the week I need to do them. For example, info for the upcoming newsletter is written in a list on the right hand page of the week I will prepare the newsletter. If I write things down as they come to me it helps me avoid missing them later.

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