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Doing What YOU Do, only Better

July 22, 2011

Helpful Hints to Make Your Life Easier

We all have way too much to get done, and too little time to do it.  I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you, my dear reader, some ideas that have made things better for me.

First, and foremost, is the keeping of a journal.  Now my journal is a *moleskine* that fits easily into my back pocket.  I do not go anywhere without it, and a writing device.  Well, except the pool and the shower.  Because it is always with me, when a thought or an idea comes to me, I am free to write it into the journal.  Many an errant thought has made its way in.

Okay, so we have ourselves a handy-dandy notebook that is easy to keep with us, and what do we do with it?   Here is what I do.  Notes to self:  need to change the oil on that old pickup truck?  write it down.  Mail the electricity bill?  Write it down.   Send a scented note to your lover?  This one you just better do it, and write down that you did it.   But you get the idea.  And then in the evening, before you hit the hay, you look back over your days scribblings.  Don’t worry, it will not take long.  My notes are generally less than one page, and that page is less than 3″ x 5″, like the size of an index card.  It takes less than a minute to read it.

Next up, the Daily *To-Do List*

Okay, I admit it, this one is a little bit more involved.  I made up an *Excel* spreadsheet.  It automatically puts the day’s date on the top of the sheet.  The column headings read like this:

Task   Priority   Roadblocks   Accomplished (?)

The rows start out with a heading of Early Morning.  Then comes Morning.  Then, Mid-day.  Afternoon. Then Evening.

There are all kinds of routine and other tasks on the list.  Some of the items that I list you will not want to list.  In the morning I like to do stretching exercises.  When I didn’t have a day job I liked to do Tai Chi in the later morning.  After dinner it is nice to take my honey and go for a long walk in the country.  You get the idea.

Every day I print out the list.  In the early morning, one of my tasks is to prioritize the tasks.  It is interesting to see how the priorities change from day to day.  As each task is completed, a check mark is placed in the *accomplished(?)*  column.  As a dull moment comes up, one can easily access the list, assess what the highest priority undone item is, and then focus on getting that done.  Then check it off.

If you get Stuck

Let’s say something makes it impossible for you to complete one particular task.  NO WORRIES.   Write down under the roadblocks column what it was.  Trust me, this too shall pass.  You write it down, and subconsciously your brain will be working out a way around that roadblock.

At the End of the Day

Okay, it is almost time to retire for the day.  Before you hit the hay, you review your daily to do list, and look over your journal entries.  What didn’t you get done?  What did you get done, that you wouldn’t have if Old Uncle Milton hadn’t suggested this?  ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;   You write a check and send it to old Uncle Milton, as a sign of accomplishment.  You mark any outstanding notes, or ideas for more success tomorrow onto your daily to do list.  And then, you go pull your honey out from in front of the boob tube and you retire for the day.  You cuddle up, review the successes (and those shortcomings, ugh!) and you drift off into blissful sleep.  And you let your subconscious run wild.

In the Morning

You arise and you are just frickin gleeful.  The sun will be coming up soon.  You grab your significant other and point out that the children are not awake yet.  (Hint, hint)  As you spring forth out of bed, you grab yesterday’s to do list and you head over to the computer.  You pull up today’s to do list, and update it from yesterdays notes.  You add any new items.  Then you print it out, and stick it in your pocket.

It is going to be a great day.  You tell yourself – *It is going to be a great day*.  Your significant other approaches you, and smiles.  You tell them “It is going to be a great day”, and you smile at them.  You write another check and mail it to Old Uncle Milton.  The note included with the check says,  Dear Uncle Milton, thank you for pointing out to me, that it is going to be a great day.  You smile again, and your great day takes off.

So HOW Does This Work, So Well?

What this system does for you, dear reader, is it helps you to organize, prioritize, and review.  By keeping a journal, you jot down ideas that come to you through the course of the day, and you document them.  By having a daily to do list, and prioritizing it, and noting your accomplishments, you get a sense of accomplishment when you review what you have achieved.  At at the end of the day, before you go to sleep, you review what you have not gotten done, and you allow your brain to overcome roadblocks that prevented you from achieving all you wanted to achieve.

I hope you will give this a try.  It does take a little bit of effort to get into the habit, but if you have ever reached the point where you know you have stuff to do, and you don’t know what you should do, then this little scheme might be helpful to you.  Give it a try, and let me know how it works out for you.

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