Me? I seldom make a list when it pertains to my personal life. This, however, may be changing in the not so distant future as my memory continues to wane. In my work life, I am all about the list. Using techniques from my favorite time management book “If You Haven't Got the Time to Do It Right, When Will You Find the Time to Do It Over” by Jefferey J. Mayer, I first make a master list which, depending on the projects I’m working on, may be remade weekly or monthly. Then I make a daily task list. Each day, the previous day is reviewed for any tasks not finished and notes from meetings which may include new tasks to be moved to the current day.
Even more important than the actual list, for me, is where I’m going to write. I like to use a work journal which holds daily to-dos as well as meeting notes. I take it with me everywhere and am, shall we say … a little particular about it. Years ago, my journals were ordered in bulk from the “Scientific Notebook Co.” www.snco.com and a fresh supply always on hand. Sometime in 2006 (the exact date has been blocked from memory) while in El Paso, on a project, I finished my current journal and found myself without a spare. No big deal, right? I’d just go buy one. The ones I had been using were a little expensive anyway and ordering/waiting for delivery of them was kind of a pain. This would be a good thing, I could check out new options, expand my journaling horizon as it were. Who could have guessed this would become the most frustrating week in my journal writing career. In one week, I started and gave up on approx. 7 different journals. On the bright side, it really helped me succinctly establish the most important work journal criteria:
Has to have grid paper. Two reasons, 1, although history has shown I’ve never done this, I always want to be prepared in case I need to sketch something and 2, depending on the multiple projects I’m working on my daily tasks may require organization in separate columns which just works better than lines or blank. (I know, blank should work, but I can’t keep a straight line if it’s blank)
Should be no bigger than 8.5 x 11 but can be smaller down to half that size
No paper covers, needs a soft or hard significant cover, never paper.
Should be less than ½” thick. Fits better in my brief case plus if it has too many pages, I get tired of it about half through and want a new one anyway. Oh yeah, and it weighs less.
A built-in cloth book mark ribbon is definitely a plus!
A couple of weeks ago my current journal was reaching the end. Normally this might instill some mild panic remembering that dark week in El Paso but I was prepared. Confidant with my last journal, the “Moleskine Squared Notebook – Large” – www.moleskine.com, I had purchased two and was already prepared …. excited to begin a new book. I’ll be more organized this time, and more thorough. Oh, the anticipation of it! I’m not typically a stickler about making sure every single page is finished before starting a new book. Sometimes there may be 5 or so empty pages remaining when a new book is started. This time, though, as the end neared and my new, crisp, blank, journal was there, a clean slat ready to get started, I found myself questioning whether this day was worthy enough to start. Maybe I’ll wait ‘til a Monday or a really important meeting. I ended up filling every page including a couple pages which had only been half used before, eagerly waiting for the perfect moment to start anew …. TODAY!