How I Use Lists (And Sometimes Circles)

Thanks to some random article on the Internet that I saw years ago, I’ve become a supporter and user of something called the Bullet Journal. Of course, my Bullet Journal has gone through several iterations to get where it is now. It’s actually pretty far from the original system that was outlined in that article that I read all those years ago.

But the important part of it has stayed intact: the lists. My planner is made of lists. There are all sorts of things on those lists and sometimes when I get really into something, my lists are really just made of other lists. My lists have grown longer and more complicated as I have continued to work as a freelancer. I don’t have homework from school anymore and so the structure I had for lists is now gone. Work and writing sit mixed and side by side in the lists that I create for myself in my journal.

Lists help me keep my mind focused. They help me know what I need to do and keep me on task. When I’m having a bad week, stress wise, I put my things to do on a new list. This list is in the order that I want to get them done. And I work methodically through that list until I reach the bottom or until I fall asleep.

This all seems straight forward until I throw in an exercise that I did for a class once. We took our projects, put a circle around the name and then created new rings around that starting circle. They were the steps that we needed to take to get to that center goal.

This is just a fancy list, really, but there was something soothing and interesting about having to write out the goals that I had and the steps that it would take to get there. It focused me on the future and what I had to get done. Even if the dates I put down there changed, I still knew that I had to work through the outer rings before I could get to the work that I wanted to do in the inner rings.

If you’re struggling to focus on your work, your projects, or your goals; then sit down and try putting them in a new shape, whether it’s a circle or a triangle or something. Find a new way to look at everything you have to do. And then get it done.

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