If you’ve been using two or more planners to stay on top of your to-do list, you could be adding SERIOUS overwhelm to your life.
And extra overwhelm is just not necessary for anyone.
Consider switching to just one planning tool. Why? So glad you asked. Read on to find out.
1. Your to-do list will feel manageable.
When you get all of your items down into one place, you will know that everything’s there. You’ll be able to see small, doable tasks.
Conversely, when you’ve got lists all over the place, you’re constantly switching back and forth, trying to check some off here and some off there. Your brain starts to wonder if you’ve even got everything you’re supposed to be doing written down somewhere, and begins to trust you less. This leads to more stress because your brain doesn’t believe that a single one of your reminders or to-do lists are complete and accurate.
You can retrain your brain by switching to a single planning tool and using it completely and accurately.
- All to-do items go on it.
- All reminders go on it.
- All notes that you need to sort out later go on it.
And so on.
2. You’ll feel accomplished at the end of the day instead of overwhelmed & disappointed with yourself.
You know how looking at your to-do list makes you feel like the laziest, most useless person in the world? (Or was that just me a few years ago)?
Imagine the opposite happening: You look at your to-do list and a smug smile pulls at the corners of your mouth because Damn, look at what a badass I am.
That happens when you switch to a single planning tool and use it properly. You can do this by creating projects for all your multi-step goals and breaking those steps down into single tasks. I am always pleased to check off tasks like:
- Draft blog post on XYZ
- Write blog post on XYZ
- Graphics for blog post on XYZ
- Schedule blog post on XYZ
And so on. What used to be “Write a post on XYZ”, which, we all know, is not always (or ever) easy, instantly becomes way more approachable. All I have to do is draft some bullet points? No prob. And then writing the post is super easy because I just have to expand on those bullet points.
When you’re able to check off 3-4 tasks a day, you can see the progress you’re making towards your overall goals. Then you’ll feel like every day is a good day for Sunglasses Emoji. 😎
3. It’s easier to batch tasks.
To properly use your single planning tool, you have to really use it. That means putting down everything. Any task, idea, note, or reminder that you cannot complete right now in the next 2 minutes goes on it.
When all of your tasks are listed in the same place, you won’t forget any of them. When you get in this habit, your distrustful brain starts to trust you again.
Your brain may then say: Hmm, maybe she does have it all written down here. I suppose I can stop trying to remind her of every stupid little thing at the worst possible moment. She can see it all in this list when she needs to.
Thanks, Brain. ‘Preciate the vote of confidence.
Brains: Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em, amirite?
So, once you start doing that and your brain starts trusting you again, you’ll find task batching a lot easier.
Right now, you probably find that whenever you want to sit down and batch some things, your mind starts wandering. Maybe I should check my inbox. I wonder if anyone replied to my last Tweet on cats. Oh, shiz, I totally forgot I need to renew my passport.
And while a wandering mind is a normal mind, you’ll find that getting in a single-planner groove will result in a lot less wandering. Your brain may get bored and want to scroll through Pinterest, but it’s not going to remind you of your passport renewal when you’re trying to edit your business plan because it knows that you already put that task in your planner and that you won’t forget it.
The end result: When you sit down to write your blog post, a chapter of your novel, or your sales page, you’ll be able to do all of your segment writing at the same time, without forgetting sections.
— Holly O. 🎃 (@GirlAlchemy) October 25, 2016
4. You’ll stop forgetting things & missing deadlines.
Do you ever get an email that you need to act on or respond to and leave it “unread” in your inbox so you won’t forget about it? How many times out of 10 do you actually end up forgetting about it?
If you’re anything like me, the answer is close to 9.
That’s because your inbox is not your to-do list. It’s not your project list or, really, any list at all. It’s people and businesses saying hey to you. Your brain isn’t in to-do list mode when it goes through your inbox; it’s in hey mode. Why would you deprive it of saying hey to people?
Because that’s what happens when you try to use your inbox as a to-do list. Believe me, first hand experience here. Not only do you often forget these ‘reminders’ and end up missing the deadlines anyway, the clutter in your inbox makes all emails in it feel overwhelming.
- Your mom asking how your weekend was? Oh, god, I can’t handle this right now.
- Your partner reminding you to take the cat to the vet. I will do this later.
- Your retirement company asking you to make sure you still like your portfolio? Can’t. Even. Open.
- Your sister asking if you want to be her +1 to dinner at the Whitehouse. Why do you pressure me so much???
So, let’s avoid all that. Stop leaving items in your inbox as reminders. Archive them if you need to access them later; delete them if you don’t. If there are to-dos or other tasks in your email that you need to act on, put them in your Asana (or other tool) and archive the email. You can always use Boomerang to send it back to you in a week or so if you absolutely need.
I keep myself organized and focused by putting every task and to-do in Asana, organized by Projects. This keeps me from forgetting important things + helps me plan for the future. It’s a sanity-saver.
Using Asana, and more importantly using only one tool for all my planning, to-dos, notes and reminders, has helped me tons. Give it a try and then let me know in comments how it’s worked out for you!
What planning tool do you use? I’m always interested in learning about new options!