Stressed? Disorganised? Wanting ONE WEIRD TRICK to help you fix everything?
Sorry, can’t help you there.
What I can do is tell you a few things that make life a little easier for me to do stuff. And I’m no expert here, just wanting to share :)
It’s not really enough to write a single list anymore. The other day, I actually wrote a list of the different lists I need to write. Full list inception. I realised at that point that I needed a new tool, and TRELLO is it. I have created a board called “Flourish”, and on this board are multiple cards, all representing one area of my life: PhD, Family, Home, PlayWrite, Game Industry, ME… you get the idea. On those boards are things I need to do – a full blown list of every single thing I need to do. Some are quite detailed, some are just one line. Every day I move a small selection of these items onto a board called TO DO TODAY, and I try to work my way through that list.
Non-weird trick #1 – if you like writing lists, check out Trello.
I care about what is happening across a range of industries and interests, so I have set up google alerts. Every morning I receive 5 emails listing all the new media from the last 24 hours that relate to my specified keywords. One of them ‘interactive narrative’ (my phd topic), doesn’t get too many results, but there’s always something new every day. And because it’s a niche keyword, pretty much everything is highly relevant to me. I’ve discovered several articles / papers that I wouldn’t have otherwise found.
Non-weird trick #2 – minimise browsing, get the content you’re after with alerts.
I’m hopeless. I will be distracted for the remainder of my life. The *only* way I ever get anything done is if I work on one specific objective in a short burst of time. When I first heard about the Pomodoro Method, I fell in love. It is essentially picking one thing, and focussing on that thing for 25 minutes; then take a five minute break; then do another 25 minute burst – a pomodoro. Finally, I found a method that actually works for me! I am currently working on the beginnings of my phd thesis, and the entirety of it has been written in 25 minute bursts. I actually find that I can get more written/read in one 25-minute pomodoro that I can in an hour of loosely aimed time. There are plenty of pomodoro style apps, but really, it’s more about the setting of intentions. Set your task, then set your timer.
Non-weird trick #3 – get things done pomodoro style.
So, that’s just a few of my strategies to help me think that I’m staying on top of things. Now all I need is some kind of household robot to help me keep up to date with the washing & cooking, and I’ll be set!!
What tools do you use?