I am a creature of habit. I have always done my best to plan ahead, as far ahead as I can. In last month’s post, “Has Covid-19 Curbed your Enthusiasm?”, I mentioned that planning and dreaming doesn’t cost anything and that it can be a positive experience, give you something to look forward to, and potentially limit your stress for the week(s) ahead.
Sunday afternoon is my time to reflect on the previous week and plan my week ahead. The way I do that is by creating a list. The list consists of anything and everything I have to do, from calling people, to cleaning the bathroom.
Inevitably, there are items from last week’s list that may not have gotten done, it could be a phone call or maybe something that you didn’t want to do, like getting you tax paperwork in order. Any outstanding item from the previous week is added to this week’s, so that it won’t get forgotten.
The list that I start on Sunday afternoon is very much a living document. I add things regularly as they pop into my head, that way I can forget about them until I am ready to deal with it. Doing this ritual has been very helpful for me, it allows me a better night’s sleep.
I don’t have a pile of individual pieces of paper in my world, that drives me crazy. Everything I do, including the weekly list, is captured in a spiral bound notebook. That notebook is with me everywhere I go, and if you are a potential new client, guaranteed I will have it with me when I meet you for the first time and every time thereafter. If my notes are important enough to retain for a longer period or become part of a reference, then I just pull them out and it becomes part of a new or existing file. One example might be taking notes from your physician regarding a medical test…once you write them down, perhaps they come out of the notepad and become part of your medical record file.
I know you might think that old school – but it makes sense to me and that is what’s important. I even retain the last few notebooks, in case I am looking for something like a phone number or maybe the name of the person I spoke to regarding some random inquiry.
I know that most people today likely use digital means to keep track of lists and things to do, but I know working with the clients that I do, that they still use the old paper methods. Unfortunately, they get extremely frustrated as their paper lists are usually scattered around the house, written on a random piece of paper, the back of an empty envelop, or on a page in the newspaper or flyer, and then ripped off so they remember… and there are 100’s of them, hence the frustration.
This small notepad, purchased from the dollar store, is dated and will contain a lot of information that has accumulated over time. The notebook will probably last several months and end up with several pages ripped out, or have post it notes or flags to remind you of something from several pages back. It’s your living document. It doesn’t have to be pretty and no one else needs to understand the logic of how you use it.
P.S. – Please do not include your bank account, Social Insurance number or passwords in the event that the notepad gets lost!
The purpose of it is meant to keep you on track, and by updating it weekly, then you can start your week knowing how busy you will be, and what challenges you may have ahead, and when things pop up unexpectedly, you know when you have time to fit it in.
Once you commit to doing this, keep it up, it’s worth it. It will become routine after some time. Don’t give up! Write it down!
If you have any questions on how to proceed, please reach out, I will be happy to help and more importantly, I would love to hear from you about how you keep your lists and schedules organized!
North Bay, Ontario
Space For Change