Getting it Together

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Confession time: I have recently become obsessed with bullet journals. It’s an organization system that takes the idea of keeping a planner, a myriad of Post-It to-do lists, and a journal and then throws them into a blender. You can keep all of that stuff tied together in one handy, non-digital notebook, hopefully with the result of being super productive.

For me, increasing productivity and mindfulness was a large part of the appeal (aside from having an excuse to buy new office supplies). I’m stepping away from my computer and phone to re-calibrate how I want to keep myself organized. I used to be that kind of person, especially throughout high school and college. I wrote everything down, which forced me to think about what I was doing and what I was making a priority.

We (1) capture what has our attention; (2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it; (3) organize the results, which presents the options we (4) reflect on, which we then choose to (5) engage with. —David Allen in Getting Things Done

A few resources popped up again and again when I dove down the internet rabbit hole to research layouts. One is Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Morning Before 8 AM. I am not ready to give up on the snooze button any time soon, so for now I’m going to take my chances with the other book, David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. After all, productivity is the name of the game.

In the book, Allen lays out his method for getting your act together: “We (1) capture what has our attention; (2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it; (3) organize the results, which presents the options we (4) reflect on, which we then choose to (5) engage with” (p. 27). It sounds a little heady but I’m finding that it boils down to “What can I tackle right now?” and “What am I comfortable with saving for later?” Those two concepts, I can manage. I’m especially finding the capture and clarify steps to be helpful. Getting my to-do items down on paper in one place means that I’m not scrambling to remember things. Then I can decide what needs to take priority and how I can, well, get things done.

So far, the bullet journal and incorporating some of Allen’s ideas have been a good way to take stock of my day every evening, track habits and plan ahead some. I’m really hoping it’s something I can stick with — ask me again in a few months!

How do you keep organized, digitally or in analog?

Master the art of stress-free productivity

Reserve Getting Things Done

Jess is the Clerical Specialist at the Woods Run branch on the North Side. She’s your girl for YA lit, romance novels and knitting.