The SHU Box has a post today about her planner, which is a top-of-the line version. I thought I’d write about my system, which is much less advanced, and also some thoughts on how systems structure behavior.
For many years, I’ve been writing out my weekly priorities before the week starts. This is a universal list, encompassing work and personal. Then I think about when during the week I want to do those things. I make daily to-do lists off that. Anything that is time specific goes on my little pocket calendar, which is just a cheap week-at-a-glance type thing. I try not to schedule much in the morning if I have deep writing I need to do. I also try to leave space in the afternoon sometime so I can go for a run.
I write my to-do lists in a regular spiral-bound notebook. But about a week ago, I got this little Mom Corps You note pad in the mail (see photo). I don’t think I’m ready to give up my little notebooks yet, but I do like that it is on one page, but broken up into the three major categories: work, family, self.
Having all three categories represented nudges the brain to think that, oh yeah, maybe I should put something in all three categories. It’s easy to forget to be mindful about “self” to-dos. I may start structuring my to-do list like this to see if that helps me deliberate about down time. But this notepad seems like it has an awful lot of spots on the list. Eleven self to-dos seems like a bit much — unless you need to remind yourself to shower!
What system do you use for to-do lists and scheduling?
For all time geeks out there: The results of the annual American Time Use Survey will be released on Wednesday! This BLS survey has thousands of Americans talk through the previous day, describing what they did. As such, it is not subject to the same biases that plague other surveys that ask people how many hours they devote to X, Y, and Z. The problem is that we often don’t know. Or we make something up that fits with the overworked, sleep-deprived visions we have of ourselves. I’ll take guesses on how much sleep the average American got in a 24-hour period. The winner gets bragging rights.