I love lists. All lists really. To do lists. Lists of books I'd like to read some day. Lists of people to send Christmas cards to. Lists of places to look when we need a new washing machine.
To do lists, or some form of task management are really just part of the landscape of work. It might be scribbles on a Post-It note, or a spectacular arrangement of projects and tags on Asana, or a list bubbling away in our head that we hope not to forget. But most of us do have some kind of task management system.
Over the years I have tried so many systems. I know I'm not the only one.
I remember using Remember the Milk when I was working on my doctorate. There was a period when I used Todoist. In my last employed job I had a Bullet Journal. I have always had in my head that there will be a "one true love" of task management. My husband tells me that there probably isn't and it may be a question of the right system for right now. Frustratingly, I think he's right.
The bullet journal that served me so well when I went out to work and then came home in the evenings stopped working for me once I was at home with a small child. Partly because the small child kept taking the book, wanting to draw in it. Now, I have a different system (I'll tell you about it another time), also an analogue task management system, in a very beautiful notebook. This is the system that works for my life as it is now.
What has become really clear over the years is that I do best with a written system. I love digital systems and apps, and I use them a lot with my clients. They're brilliant for sharing work and tasks when you're not in an office together. But for myself, I like a notebook and a pen. I honestly have never found a digital system that can cope with the number of metaphorical hats I wear in my life. Whenever I've tried, I just end up with so many notifications, so much checking on things that it is not actually particularly efficient..
And so it is that in running my businesses and my life I have a beautiful notebook and a packet of highlighter pens. Analogue systems are my favourite. And I'm not one to turn down a reason for a reason to get a new notebook or fountain pen.
What's interesting when searching for these methods is that, compared to apps, they are really not discussed all that much. I understand why. Just the number of to do list apps alone means that they need a bigger space for discussion. But, having found limited conversations about handwritten task management approaches, and knowing that I'm not the only one who loves an analogue system, I've decided to write about the methods that I have come across over the years - and to tell you about my own.
So, over the next few weeks the blog will be home to posts about methods like GTD and Bullet Journalling. I really hope that my explorations can help you find the right method for you!