Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Making lists to get things done



Every Sunday evening I sit down with a glass of wine, my moleskine planner and a favourite pen.  It is a moment of quietness; a moment in which I can visualize the coming week and all the tasks I need to accomplish.  

A few weeks ago my writing and illustrating group had an email discussion on how we plan our projects. It was refreshing and enlightening to hear everyone's perspectives.  So, I thought I'd share my process with you here on my blog, and I'd love to hear your planning ideas in the comments!

This is how I schedule my life: 

On the blank, right-hand page of my Moleskine planner I write down all the things I need to accomplish that week. I divide the list into 5 sections, corresponding to the 5 facets of my career: illustration, writing, blog, etsy and other.  

If there are specific deadlines or events, I'll schedule them into the calendar portion. If the deadline is still upcoming I'll often write something like "2 weeks left" beside the task in my list.   

When I have ongoing projects, I make a note of exactly how much I need to accomplish each week. For example, for my current illustration project I have basic tasks outlined for each week until the deadline at the end of this month. 

This system gives me a structure to know exactly what needs to be done, but also freedom to do it at my own pace as the week unfolds.  

You might have noticed from the photo that I use the pocket moleskine planner, and not the full-sized one. Even though it's half the size, I can still fit all my notes onto the pages, and the smaller size reminds me to keep my to-do lists and expectations simple.  There literally isn't enough space to keep writing tasks ad infinitum. Also, it fits easily into any sized handbag. 

I love broad margins in my daily routine. I crave blank, unscheduled time when I can reflect on my creative journey and the world around me. Idle time is golden because it's when I get my best ideas.

How do you schedule your week? Do you have any tips and tricks for staying sane when tasks and deadlines pile up? What kind of calendar/planner do you use? I'd love to hear from you!    

Are you interested in reading more about the subject of balance and getting things done?  Here are a few amazing blog posts I've read recently.  Take a moment to read them, they might just change the way you look at life. Truly.  



Practical tips for maintaining work/life balance from Alissa in two video blogs here and here. 

17 comments:

  1. You're very organised! I got given a planner for Christmas last year and the only thing I've filled in is the birthdays page... I do like to-do lists though.

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  2. wow i am so impressed by your organization!
    i am great at keeping organized on the job...but at life, that's a different story :)

    Molly {Dreams in HD}
    http://dreamsinhd.blogspot.com/

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  3. I like the idea of dividing the list into sections, Jane. This way all the important areas of life/work are covered. I think I will steal that one :) xx

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  4. I love planning and reading about other people's methods. This is great and I'll give it a go. BUT you're so neat! Perhaps that's the illustrator part of you. :-)

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  5. Hello lovely, thank you for your post on my blog! I am actually reading Wolf Hall now! I think I may have to pop it on pause for Nov Book Club though (thought it might be a bit too long...) If you haven't already joined, you can join the group here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1416245088604330/?fref=ts It's both offline and online so either way, I look forward to seeing you there! Poppy xx

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  6. Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. I absolutely love this post! Every year, without fail, I buy a Moleskine calendar, but once March rolls around I stop using it and go back to G-Cal. This inspires me to keep at it and make a new effort in 2014. Thanks!

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  7. You're so organized! I love making to do lists and organizing my planner. It's such a guilty pleasure!

    Caitlin
    www.atgatsbys.blogspot.com

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  8. Really nice to meet you, Jane! I really think I need to pick up some of your ideas when it comes to organizing, because I am awful at it and I have SO many projects that I am juggling right now. It is nice to categorize it into an umbrella of goals just as you have done!

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  9. It's great to be organized!! :) I like to sit down on Sunday, and write out blog posts for the week. If I don't take the time, my blog gets neglected. I get busy, and forget to post.

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  10. I love Moleskin planner. But my default planner is Starbucks. Aside from using planners I also type it into my phone so as to remind me more and as a back up as well. You may wanna try some post it notes on your cork board. That works for me as well i got to chek it before sleeping and after waking up.
    ♡,
    Riza

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  11. Great post and I love how you menage to organize everything's so well. I don't menage to be as good as you but I want to try your metod.Who knows,maybe I'll menege to be a little more organized:)

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  12. I also use a moleskine! but my planning is a little different: on mondays right after I arrive at the office I write down all the things that need to be done and deadline. Once the list is set, I write down reminders on the specific day such as call or mail someone. It really helps me to get everything done

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  13. i love that planner so much <3
    http://saltskinned.blogspot.com.au

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  14. Thanks for sharing your scheduling and planning tips - you're so methodical about it all!

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  15. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog :) I do have a weekly planner I keep on my desk to write down daily tasks, I have a very very old Filofax that stays in my handbag for every day work related stuff, and on the wall in the office we have 2 wall planners, as we have 2014 up already, this is where the hubs writes down all the events for the year, gigs and vehicle MOTs (we have a lot of vehicles haha)
    Also we have a calendar in the kitchen where I write down when 'm working as I do shifts so the hubby knows where I am. wow I never realised I was so organised!!

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  16. Thanks for visiting. This was interesting to read just because I still wonder at how people can actually be organised! I just scrawl down lists, lose them, write more, forget them, write another, a child writes over it...repeat, repeat, repeat...! Maybe if mine looked as pretty as those last ones by Julianna Swaney I'd be less inclined to misplace them!

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  17. Being a big list maker myself, I love this idea of starting the week in such an organized way. Your lists are much more organized than mine though! I do love my moleskin, so I may try out your format. And thanks for the links, I'm going to check them out now!

    http://www.melindadiorio.com

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Hearing from you makes my day bright with sunshine. I try to respond to each comment on your own blogs. Who knows I might make a few new friends along the way! X Jane