Last week I showed you how I was Planning On Getting Things Done in 2017 where I covered how I keep track of my To-Do lists and calendar items so please check that out first before reading on.
In this post we’ll look at how I manage my more long-term to-do list items, paperwork and reference materials and bills.
One of the issues with a lot of planner systems is that whilst they are good for managing your current and short-term objectives they don’t really take into account any longer-term goals you may have.
For example, a friend may recommend a T.V show to you so you note it down in your to-do list or on a spare page in your notebook. But what happens when you finish that list and the only thing left on it is that T.V show? Or you finish your notebook?
Keeping track of these items, and continually moving them can be a real pain, plus you run the risk of losing some of them in the moving process.
Bullet Journalling has a solution for this problem called a “Collection“ which is a page dedicated to a specific topic like “Books To Read” or “Films To Watch” but when you’re notebook is finished you’ll still have to migrate your unfished collection items to your new notebook, plus collections won’t necessarily be all in the same place which I find a deal breaker (sorry, I just like to be able to group things together!)
I don’t know about you, but when someone mentions something to me I need to something with it pretty quickly or it may be a case of in one ear and out the other. When something pops into my head I write it down on one of my to-do list pages and then when I process my lists during my weekly review they get moved to the appropriate list.
The advantage of using a separate piece of paper is that it doesn’t clutter my notebook up (I may as well keep the items in there if I were to write them in there), I can use different sheets for different subjects if I want, and when they’re done with I can get rid of them.
To me, a “Someday/Maybe” Item is something that I would like to do at some point in the future but it’s not the end of the world if I never get around to it.
Some types of Someday/Maybe items and reminder items are:
- Films I want to watch
- Books I want to read
- Things I’ve lent out (Books, DVDs etc.)
Each of these items get their own page in my discbound journal so that I can easily add extra pages to the “collection” and reorganise them as I want.
When I receive something that I need to action it goes into my in-tray in my office. I find that it’s really important to keep all my actionable paperwork together, that way when I sit down to go through it all, I’m not scrabbling around to find something that I know needs to be done or replied to.
Putting everything in one place is a great help to batch processing which I find is the best way to get through everything. I set aside a couple of hours each Sunday to go through all of my post (I do open it when I receive it to make sure it’s not super-urgent) and then action it as necessary.
Most items I receive I can action and then throw in the shredder, if there is something that needs to be looked into further then it goes on to my to-do list, if it’s an appointment then it goes in my diary and if it’s for reference then it goes in the appropriate project folder or my filing cabinet.
In order to make things easier for myself I try to organise all of my payments for the same day each month, that way I can spend half-an-hour on online banking and get all my bills paid without worrying what is due when.
Unfortunately for some online services it’s not always possible to set the date you prefer for payment so I keep track of those using the monthly calendar in my discbound planner.
I find it easier to keep an eye on what’s coming up in a monthly format rather than in a weekly format. I use stickers noting the payee and amount of each payment, and I can check off on each sticker when I’ve paid it.
Using a monthly overview allows me to see when bills are due and allows me to budget accordingly.
How do you manage your “Someday/Maybe” items? Do you have one specific list for them or are they mixed in with your other to-do items? What about your bills? Let us know in the comments, I’m always looking for new ways to manage my items!