Pen and paper


I’m trying an experiment today. I’m taking my task list and calendar entries, which ordinarily reside in digital form, and rewriting them on a single piece of paper.

I’m going to keep that page in front of me throughout the day and when I complete something, important task or routine, that’s where I’ll check it off.

I’m not doing this to achieve an esthetic look. Nothing fancy. Just scratch paper and the first pen I grab.

I’m doing this to see how it affects my planning and execution.

By rewriting my list, my theory goes, I’ll be more likely to think about each task and ask myself questions such as, “Do I really want to do this today? Is it necessary that I do this at all? Is it aligned with my current goals? Is there anything I need to do first? Do I have all the resources I need to do a good job with this?“

The idea here is to be more thoughtful and intentional about what I do, and to consider things I should do but aren’t. It’s too easy to do things out of habit, which may not be the highest and best use of our time.

I’m also thinking that having everyone on one page that I look at throughout the day will help me focus and get everything done. That’s how we did things in the pre-digital age. We didn’t have to open an app to see what was next, just look at our calendar or the legal pad on our desk.

At the top of the page, I wrote “Today” and the date. Then I wrote “P1“ and listed my “must do’s” for today. There are two—this post and working on my latest book.

Under that, I wrote “P2”. These are other things I’d like to do but don’t have to do today. I listed some things I want to research and a phone call.

Finally, I wrote 4 routine tasks, the kinds of things I do pretty much every day.

No appointments or errands today, so that’s it.

As soon as I post this on my blog and send it out via email, I’ll check off the first “Must do” task on my list for today.

Tomorrow, I’ll write a new list and we’ll see how this goes.