It took me a long time to come around to keeping lists, and the process of persuading me to do so has driven more than one of my former editors mad. Having tried methods including random post-it notes, scraps of paper and "I'll just remember it", I finally started getting my act together with online to-do list HabitRPG - it has collectable virtual pets, armour and XP. What's not to like? As my needs outgrew my gameified to-do list, I began using a slightly modified BulletJournal.
|I am slightly journal dependent. I've slightly modified the BulletJournal format to make it work with these pocket-sized books -in the second, closed, book, the calendar page has split columns. Also: green pens or GTFO|
USE A CALENDAR
My Google Calendar records deadlines, meetings, vet appointments and gives me sunrise and set times. It's synced to Touch Calendar on my phone, while critical dates are also copied into my journal's monthly calendar. I've also reached the conclusion that I'm going to need a wall planner to keep track of sowing and harvest times.
I'm what you might call a straight-line thinker. I don't multi-task well, I'm not brilliant when put on the spot about something unexpected and I benefit from routine. To make up for any lack of adaptability, I form habits. I get up at around dawn and try to get to bed before 02:00. I train and then I drink coffee. I get dressed and go to my office to work, because I rarely get much done if I just sit around in a dressing gown in bed, even though I have a computer there. I try to stop work at a sensible hour and create a division between work and recreation. I make sure I go out and do something on the farm or around the house every other day - if I'm busy with work, I just do a very small thing.
|Pick heavy things up. Put them back down again. Repeat every day. Also: learn to fill earthen floors|
BREAK THINGS INTO SMALL CHUNKS
I'm currently terrified by the amount of work involved in deconstructing this decaying, godawful, and inordinately solidly built old shower in our bathroom. But I've got a cold chisel, and I'm going to start by removing a 50cm square section of tiles, if I can. I can think about the next section tomorrow, or later.
The same applies to writing a story or group test, or to restoring some of the farm's neglected fields to a plantable state. Large tasks can be irrationally panic-inducing, even if you have all the skills required, but in small enough elements, almost anything seems manageable. Bringing a mothballed farm into working order sounds massively challenging. Yesterday's task of cutting away and removing old black mulching plastic from a field? That was hard work, physically, but certainly possible. Just as clearing and tilling the ground beneath it will be. As will sowing seed be. And on to the next field.
JUST DO IT
At the risk of sounding like a sportswear advert, the most direct approach to getting something done is just getting on with it. Okay, that sounds stupid, but let me continue. This is all about making a decision and acting on it. The more you do this, the more you'll create a positive feedback loop, and a picture yourself as "the kind of person who gets shit done".
Start small, by all means. When you think of a minor task that needs to be attended to, and you have no good reason NOT to do it immediately: do it immediately. You can even write it into your to-do list and tick it off straight away, if you like that kind of thing.
There's a proverb I rather like at the moment, not least of all because I can take it literally as well as figuratively: the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the next best time is now.