Too Stupid For GTD, Too Lazy For Bullet Journal.
That was my conclusion earlier this year when I began searching for a productivity system. We'll get to the reason why I even needed a system in the first place, but before that a joke.
What has four arms, swears a lot and is covered in vomit?
Me...I was the joke.
My life was out of control. I was stood in the living room of my furniture-less house, holding my 8 month old son, surrounded by 2000 unpackaged notebooks from a Kickstarter project I had done 4 months earlier, listening into a conference call about a job I didn't think I could do.
If that sentence sounds hideous to read...imagine how it felt to be there.
Getting Things Done
So enough was enough. I was a grown up and needed a grown up system to help be wrestle back control of my life.
I googled productivity systems and found GTD (Getting Things Done). It's a system devised by David Allen to manage all the things you want to do. I'd given it a go once before and quickly got lost in a cloud of 'tickler files' and 'next actions'. Nope, this wasn't the system for my peanut brain.
So what else was there.
I'd heard of Ryder Carroll's Bullet Journal through his Kickstarter project and it sounded more my cup of tea...good old fashioned paper and pen. I watched the explainer video on his site. Hmmm. Seemed like a lot of time and effort was needed to set it up. This was time I didn't have. So where now?
I decided to write down what I wanted...no...needed from a productivity system if I was going to make it work.
It needed to be easy to start. It needed little time to set up. It needed to handle appointments and meetings. It needed to manage both work and personal to-dos. It needed to be able to allow me to prioritise tasks. It needed to make me want to use and maintain it every day. I needed a miracle to find what I was looking for.
It's Not Rocket Science
So not having found anything to match these requirements, I created my own system called Strikethru...actually that's a lie. At the time I called it 'Big todo list which filters into a small todo now list when it's ready to be worked on'...not quite as catchy but pretty self explanatory. So I got to work brainstorming ideas, tasks, goals, dreams and a few doodles as well. Then I picked a selection of the most important to-dos, siphoned them into a small list and made a promise to try to complete them the next day (These lists later because the dump and the live list.)
The next day came and I started well. By the end of the day I'd completed half a dozen tasks. I lay in bed and began ticking the completed tasks off my small list. It didn't feel right. I reached for my trusty sharpie for the final task and smeared a dirty big line through it...it felt much better...it was like a mini celebration...a two fingered salute to a task I'd smashed into oblivion. I decided there and then that anytime I completed a task I would use a strikethrough rather than a checkmark...and Strikethru was born.
Over the next few months I added more complexity with The Vault section which allowed me to add defined lists with titles, and The Calendar section which enabled me to schedule events, appointments and meetings in advance.
Give it a Try
The system is far from perfect and I still get covered in vomit from time to time, but at least I feel like I'm finally in control. If anything gets fired at me now I just add it to Strikethru and work on it as and when I want.
And best of all; it's not rocket science to set-up and maintain. If someone as stupid and lazy as me can make it work, just think what you could do with Strikethru!
You can download the free set-up pdf here