I have a confession to make.
My name is Krista, (Hi Krista!) and I still use paper to organize my projects and tasks, using the Getting Things Done method.
Despite the fact I use my computer and smart phone for almost everything else, I have been unable to let go of some sort of paper organizer and pen. (And it has to be black gel ink rollerball pen.)
So, since it is easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re becoming an entrepreneur, I thought I’d share my process and the tools I use to get things done with you. This works for me, feel free to adapt it as you like.
First, the process.
My process is based on the book Getting Things Done by David….. While it can get quite complex in its purest form, let me distill it down for you here.
1.Make a list of all the projects you have going right now on one page. I am a firm believer in everything being in one place, personal and professional. Personal life and professional life intersect more than ever these days, so make it easy on yourself.
2. Create a page for each project. Write the name of the project and the goal for the project at the top.
3. Brainstorm a list of all the tasks you need to do to get that project finished. They don’t have to be in order at this point.
4. For each day, create a tasks page. Write down the first task you have to do for each project. When you knock those out, go back and write down the next task to do.
Um Krista, what’s a Moleskine?
If you aren’t up on the virtues of a Moleskine read on (if you are skip down)A Moleskine is a very well made, trendy blank notebook that’s generally black, and has an elastic band that holds it shut. The pages are either blank, lined, or graph-paper style. There’s a black cord attached to the binding which serves as a bookmark, and a small accordion pocket at the back for notes, receipts,etc. Somewhere along the line they became “cool” for some reason, so I tried it and I’m on like my 10th one or something.
Now, the Moleskine Hack
What you’ll see in these pics is how I organized or “hacked”my Moleskine to be a Getting Things Done-style organizer.
This is the actual notebook I use every day to organize my projects and tasks. You’ll notice I added colored tabs to divide it into 4 sections which I’ll get to later on.
Section 1. Project Index.
Write out a list of every project you have going on right now. It doesn’t have to be in any particular order. The goal of GTD is to get your projects out of your head and into a place that your minds trusts to be able to find them.
Section 2. Project Pages.
For each project in your Project Index, create one page. Write the name of the project at the top. Next write the goal of that project. In other words, finish this sentence: The project will be done when (fill in the blank). Whatever you fill in is the goal for the project.
NOTE: Fight the temptation to skip this. It is important to focus on what the finish line is for each project, or else it can drag on forever. The definition of a project is a series of tasks with a distinct beginning and end, so doing this will keep you honest.
Now, on each project page, brainstorm an initial list of all the tasks that need to happen to complete the project. Again, they don’t have to be in chronological order right now.
Section 3 Tasks (or To-Dos)
Draw one line about an inch above the bottom of the page, and another line about an inch from the outside edge of the page. I use these to note down responses I’m waiting on from others, (bottom) and meeting times or notes in the sidebar. Write the day’s date in the top corner.
Now,this is the cool part. Those of you who are feeling overwhelmed, don’t know where to start, etc, this will help you tremendously.
Go to each of your project pages, one by one, and copy the next task you need to complete for each project on a page in the Tasks section . Only write one task down per project.
This is what you’d have called your To-Do list before, but the difference is it is focused on getting your projects done.
Section 4 Inbox
This section I use to take notes in meetings, classes, etc. I also write down voicemail messages. The point of this section is to be able to capture any items which either 1. Need to be part of an existing project 2. Or call for creating an additional page for a new project completely.
Okay, so that’s my system and I’m sticking to it. What questions do you have? Leave them in the comments and I’ll help you out.