Experiment #2: I went analog for my daily To Do list.
I’ve been using ToDoist for years now to track my daily tasks, and while I like it—it was adding to my screen time in a big way.
I had seen ads (yes, on Facebook), for a premium journal called a Self Journal. It claimed to be “A simple yet powerful daily planner to help you optimize your day, tackle your goals, and be happier.”
These promises seemed a bit of a reach, but I was delighted to find that the journal has helped me do just what it says. It’s not just a nice daily planner, but it’s laid out in a way that helps you to structure your time. It also has some nice, morale-boosting elements planned in—you write down three things you are grateful for in the morning and there are nice, peppy quotes sprinkled throughout.
The biggest gift the journal has given me is a strange concept—to give my every working minute a job. In the morning, the first thing I do it sit with my journal. I sort my available hours into blocks, and tackle the most important work first. Before I started using this, I would sit down at my desk and answer emails for a couple of hours. The emails would have a bunch of mind-draining questions and I’d have to go get information and write it up nicely, etc, etc. in order to answer them all! Exhausting. After doing emails, I would then turn to my writing!
I was putting everyone’s requests in front of my own work.
Zoinks! Once I saw this pattern, I knew I had to stop it.
Now I make sure the first two-hour block goes to writing. Then I do other tasks, have lunch, and resume for another one to two-hour writing block in the afternoon. It’s working so beautifully for my book, but you know what happens sometimes? …I don’t get to all my emails.
At first, this made me panicky. I’ve always prided myself on being a fast email responder, turning them all around within a matter of hours. Now I had become someone who didn’t get back to people… sometimes until the next day! (Just to be totally transparent here – I still answer professional emails toot suite, as well as ones from my mom and dad!) I’ve found that, again, no one really complained about me slacking off in this area.
Does working with a paper journal impact my mental health? Yes! I really like checking things off in the journal. And I find the moments of reflection it encourages boost me up. It has an area on each page for you to write goals—they can be lifetime goals, daily goals, monthly—whatever you want.
Here are some goals I’ve written down over the last few weeks:
- Get a writing residency and write edgy, crazy sci-fi short stories.
- Love exercise again.
- Let go of perfectionism.
- Draw more with Rex.
- Learn to speak with a Norwegian accent and pitch yourself as the narrator for the audiobook edition of Berserker.
Are those fun to read? They sure were fun to write…