I’m not sure if this is really about Paper, Pens or Ink and is verging away from filofaxes… but, after exchanging emails and ideas with a fellow Philofaxer, I have been trying to adapt the Time Manager International (TMI) system for use in a filofax, although so far, without massive success.
in hell at work, I am well-organised and achieve my goals etc, on the home/personal front, I do less well and I want to try and improve on it. Hence me trying to plan the other areas of my life a little more constructively.
The crux of the TMI system (as far as I can tell) is to think of all the things you aim to do as part of a tree – the goals are the trunk, then coming from those goals are key areas (branches) and then under the key areas are tasks to be achieved in those key areas (twigs) and under this are the activities needed to complete the task (leaves). The activities seem to translate to ‘to do’ although they are specifically linked to the tasks and key areas. Anything else is a ‘don’t forget’ (like – don’t forget to pick up your dry cleaning).
Well, I’ve tried to write out some key areas (writing; Chimwemwe work; the garden; etc), and underneath those key areas the tasks (finish novel #3; raise £1000 for Chimwemwe by autumn; finish re-organising the big border; etc). Then I did the activities (short-term and long-term) that are required to accomplish the tasks (and ultimately contribute towards the goal) but now I’m a bit stuck. My gut feeling has been to put them all together in one ‘to-do’ section which would also have my ‘don’t forget’ stuff in and then transcribe activities onto weekly and daily lists. However, the TMI system seems to have the sections separated (from my reading of it, though I am happy to be corrected), where the goals go together, then all the key areas for that goal and then all the tasks and then the activities, but that is way too much filing for someone like me where out of sight is most definitely out of mind! I think I must be blending other systems into the TMI system because what I have done is to put the activities for the key areas onto separate sheets (one for each key area) and then file them behind the ‘don’t forget’ page in the ‘to-do’ section. The trick appears to be, to turn over the page and read through all the activities when planning the week and the day.
I know – I am an educated woman who, amazingly, holds down a well paid job and who can at times make OCD look slapdash. So (you’d think!) turning the page wouldn’t be that taxing. Well, it’s taking a bit of getting used to, because my usual method is to put a star-rating next to each work-related task when I’m
in hell at work, and to do the *** ones first and the * ones last and so when I’m planning my work day/week, I scan down the big to-do list looking for the ***.
Although at work, that makes compiling my daily/weekly lists pretty easy to sort out, at home it’s taking a bit of getting used to. The trouble is that I find it hard with several pretty equal strands to rate which activity is the most important. Consequently, nothing has a * and certainly nothing has *** so I stare at my list and feel a bit lost. Then I write out far too much stuff for the day and don’t get it done and then I feel like I’m unproductive…
Only time will tell how well I get on with this.
How do others sort their ‘key areas’ and task lists? I honestly feel like I’m making this way harder than it should be!