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Powerful Paper-Based Strategies

Lesson 21 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

Powerful Paper-Based Strategies

Lesson 21 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

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Lesson Info

21. Powerful Paper-Based Strategies

Lesson Info

Powerful Paper-Based Strategies

I want to talk about another system that's gained a lot of popularity over the over the past few uh a few months actually going out for a couple months it's called a bullet journal it's by a gentleman by the name of ryder carol and you could get a bullet journal dot com this one is it's not super complex and I mean that's a great way to start isn't it's not super complex it's just no it's it's a really great system it allows it's for time tracking twosome journal components to it I really like it a lot and and I want to share the video that ryder explains how it works with all of you so that way you get a sense of ah better sense of how it works because he can explain it far better than I can we keep track of the things we do want to do have done things we ate miles we've run ideas we had it gets out of control there are plenty of ass for that but I needed a system flexible enough to handle whatever it is I threw at it and fast enough that it would never get in the way hi my name's rig...

ht and this is a brief overview of bullet journaling it's an analog system I devise that will help you track the past, organize the present and plan for the future sound good let's go the first thing you want to do is create an index page this page will help you find your entries but more on that later turn to your first blank spread this is your monthly calendar add the name of the month on both pages the left will be your actual calendar write down all the dates of the month on the left, then at the first letter of the day's next to the dates the right pages your task list you list all the things that you need to get done left of each task add a task bullet, which is simply an empty check box now that you've finished setting up your month flip back to the index and add the month with page numbers over time. This will help you organize your bullet journal once you're done adding the months of the index go to the next available spread this will be your daily calendar every day write down the things you need to get done as they happen don't worry if you miss a couple days here in there the bullet journal gets its name from the bullets there are three main kinds tasks events and notes task you've already seen events are signified by a circle and notes with a dot they will help you log different kinds of data quickly and distinguished between them forgivable priority simply place a start to the left of it when you're done with the task, just check off the box if a bullet becomes irrelevant, just strike it through as you like events be sure to add him to that months calendar page over time it will give you a solid overview of what happened month to month at the end of the month create the next month's calendar the set up is the same as before except for one critical difference go through all the pages of the previous month and check your tasks if it's done cross it off if the task is now irrelevant, strike it out but if it still needs to be done, migrated into the new months task list as you my great tasks put a little right arrow in the check box to remind you that you've moved the task forward when you're done setting up your month, be sure to add it to the index. Weeding out your tasks every month can be the difference between being busy and being productive. Sometimes tasker will be related when this is the case you can create a collection to do this, find the next blank page and give your collection an appropriate title with a page number finding my great all related tasks into the list and add the collection to your index well that's it for the basic overview I hope it's been helpful if so, please like and share this video the bullet journal is an ever evolving system to check out many more tips and tricks, please visit bullet journal dotcom thank you for watching so there we have it that's the bullet journal and you could see that there's some elements of that we're gonna jump in avenue here in a second we can see there's elements of every every every paper based system, whether it's, patron stash plus whether we're talking about the strike through system that I mentioned or whether we go really deep into the bullet journal which when you start practicing it you're probably looking at that video going that's a loss to dio that's a lot, but the nice thing is there's a video on youtube so you can watch it again and again and I'm sure at some point there's actually going to be a bullet journal made e I think that he's gonna have that but the nice thing about it again it's customizable like he said lists right that's what they are for but those air projects to a certain extent or those air ideas that are all interrelated so again you can kind of hack some of the convention they're the key to that whole system to me are the page numbers it's that index is that table of contact because that gives you that track ability that a digital system gives you that paper generally doesn't so in the chapel, we've probably had some people could really ask the bullet journal I've heard of it it's either it's too complex or it's amazing or do we have any comments on that? Yes, philip belgium says that the bullet journal looks good, but a lot of writing this is much easier with a nap. It's true, uh, but there's a lot of people who can wrap their heads around writing mohr than getting themselves into a nap, and for him, he's a designer there's a lot of people, a lot of creatures like to use that that paper stuff, they liketo have that, and plus, you know, again, the bullet journal is not going to turn up the juice if you're walking around town, give me with your phone you're like, oh, what do I do next? My phone's out of my phone's out of juice, right? So there are some there are some really great things about the bullet journal it is a bit more complex than the system that I've talked to you about, but clearly there's some inspiration from from like I draw inspiration from a lot of other sources to make my system, as you've seen with with the others, so that to me is to me, it's worth exploring at the very least, and again you're going toe you want to use a really nice notebook for that one because it's like you're going to be spending a lot of time in it so you don't want to use like a nice moleskin or something like that do anything else carly kano just said uh love the idea I have to go through so much to find something every new journal will now have that incorporated in the index page is simple why didn't I think of that? Yeah pretty it's a pretty pretty amazing idea but then there is ever note right like ever note is a great place for you to like capture ideas from paper and I showed you yesterday the evernote smart notebook that I have and it basically has like, you know, the stickers that I can assign to task which I actually really don't use all that often I generally don't use the paper stuff are the tags stickers all that often because again I've kind of hacked the convention of every out a little bit um I also there's also the post its that ever know now has and there's a smaller moleskin notebook so something that's a little bit smaller a little bit more manageable so you can take that and that's where you can start putting some of those ideas so if you've got like this you say you know what I'm going to use this only for ideas are going to use this for you know, ideas and tasks you can flip through it and go all right, this is going to go in every night this is we go whatever you could actually just physically take a picture of it too if you got the idea all fleshed out here like mine mapped or on a bigger sheet of paper like this what I'll probably do with my my outline here is I'll take a picture of it when I'm done using the I've ever note smart, smart phone app and then I'll put it into every note and a live there in perpetuity right? So ever know is a really great way to marry paper and digital it's the best in terms of marrying those two because there's so much ubiquity that goes on between those so uh, paper as we talked about it like it's, scalable and it's simple people know what to do with paper generally they have an idea of what to do with it because we're still in an era where paper does have some prevalence as brooks said he's not totally against paperless to him paperless doesn't mean get rid of all paper means get rid of paper that you don't necessarily need and file that digital stuff where it needs to go right make a digital where it can um I want to show you how paper can really work in terms of bringing in terms of prioritizing um and I'm going to get another person to come up here uh, in a second you're gonna have to write down member had everybody else right down those like little things on individual pieces of paper and their notebook. I know you're busy, right near list down you're paying, you're multitasking, what's going on? Actually, I'm very happy and very proud of you. You've learned so so what did you do is take individual sheets in that notebook and I want you to write down like tasks that you feel you have to do, things that are, like, maybe getting away of the bigger stuff. Okay, but I don't want you individual sheets of paper for this, not just one. All right, so let's, bring, um, let's. Bring jennifer when we bring you up first. All right, jennifer, I want to know when your big comeback right over here I want to know when you're big, big ideas like what's the big idea that you want something, you really want to move forward. We talked about this the past couple days, but something that I can write down on this big sheet of paper start training a client, okay, so that's a big thing start training train client, so I'm taking up this whole sheet of paper and yes, people that people in the chatroom people here they're like that's this is not going to be very environmentally friendly exercise you're absolutely right it's not going to be a very environment all right? We're gonna switch places all right? I'm gonna give you a call when you start ripped I want to read about your first note rebound just ripped the whole page about the page that's fine, we'll give it back to you stick that are gonna stick right there. Okay, give me another one. All right? These are all little things, so we've got right here. We've got clean bedroom dinner with family it's sunday at four. Fifteen and we've got friends birthday keep going. You got a lot of stuff that you've got to do that's, you know, kind of their ego, but that there how many things you've got, a lot of things here we got another this one's watch video then we've got create email account for what's happening here what's what's going on is that it that's it written on the back okay, so you had some on the back as well. So let's, let's give me another couple of real quick just give me blank sheets, then we'll just throw a whole bunch of so as we're seeing here what's getting covered up what's getting covered up my idea, your big idea, why I think other things are getting in the way right? Okay so I want to look at these things that are up here as in the blank sheets of paper or remember what you put on the back and tell me what things maybe you don't need to do that air air in a way of these other activities or that you could maybe get rid of really quickly so you can move on to the other activity summer appointments of their calendars we can't really do much about those but I mean I could see here create email account for newsletters that's important but that's nothing but you want to start training a client right a specific client so maybe that one gets out of the way so just pull that off course this is a stick release that one let's pull that off. What about another one? Is there anything else here that you can kind of clean bedroom yeah clean the bedroom that was one of those we use yet this is one of the pull that off let's pull that off you gonna hold that stare go right so and then we can start moving some of this stuff in tow so let's move this one down because it's dinner it's it's appointment but you could move it down a bit thiss kind of exercise is called the big paper experiment and what happens is normally I have a lot more time I normally do ah nice long break and have people sit down and really brainstorm their ideas and what'll happen is I'll say what's your big idea and then I'll say hey and they normally have post it notes but on an easel it doesn't work that way because I fall off on what they'll do is all right down there big idea and then they give me all the little things that are under to do us that kind of getting away and then we start to pull those things away and we realize ok there's all these little stupid things that are kind of getting in the way of the bigger thing how can I reallocate and how can you reallocate the little stupid things that probably don't need to be a higher priority that are top of mind let's get them out of the way let's assign them tow the proper context paper gives you that that ability so this is something you khun dio where you can just write down a sheet of paper don't need to use tape if you don't want you can actually just use two sheets of paper just cut up a small one kind of big one into smaller pieces you know? So that way you're not no killing too many trees uh but you could do that you can kind of get a sense of okay I've got too much in front of this well, let's, get rid of some of the stuff that's in front of it makes sense to you. Okay, do you need some of these back now? You're good you captured that they've already been struck through are putting another system. No, I don't have this taken back. Take him back quick. All right. Uh, so we're gonna get you up here, okay? This time we'll get it. We'll leave those up there. Come on up here we do this again. Now you now, this time we're going to switch. We're gonna actually no, I want you to write down you're big, you're big thing and give me that giving your notebook. All right, so this is this is exactly the kind of thing that you could do with paper. You could basically have a sense of it gives you a very visual representation. You only wrote three things down, so you have are three things that get in the way. I misunderstood your question there. Yeah. All right, well, we're just going to do this then so promote my work. Choose camera, jerry, have a camera. I need to have a great sort of my camera. So does video seat upgrade for sure for sure? Absolutely. Okay, so, so if we had more of these, the more elsewhere this is very week hasn't worked this time, but but you can get you get the sense of you get a really good idea of what's kind of getting in the way like I look it actually get get a new camera and your camera doesn't currently the video at all no, okay, um, sometimes upgrades don't really need happen to write like I've got an ipad one still, the ipad air just came out yesterday I totally want one, but it's not something that I'm going to put other things aside for in order to get it right away so you can use it for purchases you can use it for, you know, the little things you've got review camera so this is it you've got this is actually part of a larger project, right? So really, you can transfer meeting notes this is from a different place, they're perfect. Perfect. So what you want to do is if you're stuck on something with an idea with a project and you like, why isn't this moving forward as fast? I can you can you can sit down, I'll take them the marker back. Uh oh, and here get here's, your here's, your very empty notebook till that I just got it today, I know um, so what you can do with this is you can essentially say uh paper gives you that real visual representation, right? It gives you that ability to kind of say, hey what's in the way where digital doesn't give you that nearly as much right there ah wraps that can help you but when you really want to get down to it get really kinesthetic about it there's something about writing it down there's something about putting it in front of you to go you know, like collages, right? If you're looked at a photo collage, you can pick out the really nice things, right? And sometimes you see the bigger picture is kind of buried man he thought a little minutia right and that's kind of what happens when you are building building up to bigger things, building your gold, building your ideas and this is kind of how it relates back to the idea the idea stuff so if you're stuck paper could be a really, really benefit, you know, instead of just writing the tasks down like we did and saying, what do I have to dio write down that big crucial cube thing? You know that big thing you know and say you could even mean you could do it for day of the week friday what's friday like you could it's an exercise you could do that I tend to use it for like big projects that kind of keep getting stagnated. Do you have anything in the in the in the chat room right now, but with regards to, like, just using paper to kind of move yourself a little bit more? Yes, karl says mike's big paper experiment reminds me of using can ban I know you've used that all. Yes, so can ban campaigns like it's very on. I don't know there's like a certain amount of tents. I haven't studied a lot of campaign trail. Oh, it is actually, which I talked about on day one, like a team based top task manager, it uses a lot of elements of can banas well, um uh but but there are elements of cambon and that and that there's, like each card, represents something and, uh, there's a lot of feeling behind cama personal. They often call it personal campaign, but I mean, it's, based on on the idea that you really have to, you can connect better when you have things kind of parsed out a little bit more. Um, there aren't any really good can ban apse that I've seen other than trail. Oh, I would love to see like like this would be something that we call a plug in for, like, that paper app that he talked about the ipad, where you could drag now we've got tablets now we should be able just to drag the stuff out so maybe it doesn't become a paper experiment anymore but there's still the representation of paper is still key for that you have anything else suggestion here from sir spiffy who says that he's using the secret weapon dot forget not sure if you're familiar with this this is sort of taking the g t d mindset, adding ever know adding email management and that's been working really well for him? Yes, that actually is it's a great tool scott will grin from brain tonic it's a brain tonic brain idea I've used a secret weapon before my only my only concern as always and we talked about this during the actual talkto this chris is you know we talked about I t t dot com where it's reliant on other services the the problem that can emerge with using something like the secret weapon or zen dunn's another one that's gotta never know plugging capacity to it is that if when if and when or if basically, uh the app changes or the service that it's connected to changes that can break the system? So uh where is the paper and some mean if you're using something like that the system can be broken but it's your system you can kind of convicts conventional eyes at the way you want I've used it I like it but I'm always wary, especially with an app like every note that's consistently evolving that there maybe it's some point where it just you know it just breaks and then you've got to figure out a way to reconnect it um we've seen it before with I'm trying to think there's a well, obviously with I have tea but there's there's a few others where I've been stuck and I'm using a system and all the sudden it's like, oh, this is connecting anymore, which is again when we talk about that other rap earlier neo, right? I mean, if if they change a convention with everyone all of a sudden everyone's not connected there anymore and then all the sudden I'm like where's my every hour ever notice still ever notice just not connected in that way, which is why I'm big on hey focus on ever know it's simple and it's scales and yeah, if you later on one of connected to something else by home means please do, uh, and also the weather thing that I want to say about that is that when you use the system that's gear like that, you're going to have to add the context and tags that are prescribed within that system, which again may not work for you you might be able to hack that a little bit as well but if you have if you decide you're going to prescribe to that and it's not going to resonate with you and that's not going to be a system that's gonna work for you right so keep it in a little bit insular might be the best way at least to start he asked for within the system how do you deal with tasks which are dependent on other tasks so within within a paper system basically so what I'll do is uh there's there's task that could be done pair in parallel or sequential and no digital task minute often allow you to do this very easily where you could say hey this needs to be done first before this so when that's where we use arrows on occasion I don't need to use it that often because a lot of things I've never gotten to the point where I have to worry about what the next action necessarily is I can work on things in the fairly parallel convention but that's where you could say ok if this one needs to be done first you get so let's say well here here's one email email uh mike okay let me let me move over here a little more and that's a low energy task and then it's you know bye bye ap a you know and then review app it right so so if mike is the developer that's going to stay at the top right biopic is low energy and review app is well high energy because it takes a lot to give a good review so I'm not going to be able teo if I'm forgot review the app here below by the app that's great, but what if they're inverted we'll all I would do is I would just take an arrow and put it up like just insert it like do the old you know and in some cases I get very clinical igo like box it so it's very obvious that that's what I'm doing but that's why I used the arrows going this way because that allows me to do the arrow going the other way there so I don't get really confused in that regards that's that's another element that you can use but you know, I rarely have to use it because I'm looking at my system and I could go okay, that needs to be done before there's an awareness there but that's one thing you can do is you kind of say, ok, this needs to be done up here um you can also then if you decide that you're going to use this and you've got a whole bunch of things in here, you could just create a new list if you want like kind of like what the bullet journals done where he's got all those tasks written down, then you can create a list and then he could put them in order on that list right? Or he used the stars as well to say, hey, this needs to be done before this in this in this right? Okay, anything else out there all right? You guys have any questions about that before we were we're getting close to lunchtime? S o do you have any other? Yes, no question, but a comment I just like what you said earlier that paper allows me to see everything at once because many times I find myself doing all these tasks and everything else, but I just don't see the big picture that I'm supposed to be doing something else this is going in a different direction, right? And having a paper based system or like the bullet system that way just watched earlier having everything in one place the whole month in front of me, you're going to need a new year calendar to at the one that we didn't they won because that's that's another thing right when you've got that and I mean even if you're going to go digital with the other stuff right? Because that's paper based there's a whiteboard version but there's also like just a paper version, right? I don't use the paper version because it forces me to commit my ideas to that month and sometimes I have to move them right but honestly that that's using that you could use the new year calendar or a year long count that gives you a real good look at the year and it's something with the bullet journal or paper system, and then something that allows your ideas to incubate like evernote, right? And that could be your go to out for that that can work that's your workflow and that's great. And your workflow involves on me focus and google calendar. And now you're going to introduce maybe the analog counters that makes right it's out that that's it. I can see myself using the three things that I want to do during the day that kind of appeals to me a lot more than maybe bullet journal since I have a lot of digital for that already, but three things to do for things to do that really? So the emergent task plan? Yeah, which is actually the michael schechter who I do the podcast with mike's on mike's. He uses he's, not a paper guy at all, and he uses the emergent task planner to keep him on track so that he know there that gives him that that scope toe work with right, yet everything that scales is an omni focus and he we share and ever no, no book. To share notes so that we're on the same page for mike's on mike's that's his system, my system is a healthy combination of a paper entry system emailing stuff out either ever notre ami focus or asana and then, of course, having a few of the little helper absalom the way that really I've only added overtime because my system khun scale that's my workflow, your work clothes that way. Jennifer, your work for me, I'll end up never know and you made up doing the same thing like a paper based system and then say, you know, I'm now finding I need to use a digital system I'm going now dip my toe into something like ami focus or asana, but you can see here that a cz we get closer to the end of this course that there's a lot of subjectivity involved when it comes to time and task management because you can't control it, it's, how you manage it and it's all about managing as we talked, we said, I can't manage time, you have to manage you, right? You managing my managing time, he's managing yourself, yeah, managing your energy things of that nature so everyone, everyone in that chat room is gonna have a different work flow that's why we're seeing these conversations right out here, we're having different conversations you know, you showed me one thing that I might add to my my workflow, and I'm not gonna go. How do I do that? Okay, um oh, it's, just a narrow, okay, I could do that easily. Where, as opposed to something that's, a little bit more complex, I could just chuck to the side, right? Like a bookmarking application that I may not need, right. So, really, and I mean, we're getting closer to the end where I'm going to say, hey, guys, that the secret sauce is the workflow, right? That's, that's. What? It isthe workflow, you getting to flow a lot easier with that?

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Ratings and Reviews


Mike's class was chock full of useful information on streamlining a to do list, digitally and by hand. His process seems pretty robust, and extremely well thought out, to provide maximum efficiency and success with the least amount of effort. Granted there is a learning curve, and one must practice to become proficient and use it effectively, but if you are willing to put in the effort there is a major positive impact on productivity. He goes through his favorite apps (he apparently consults with app developers) and why, which was exactly what I needed at the time. Some of his 2nd choice apps may now surpass the others, but he explains clears how to pick the best app for you. I'm a small business owner and I found the class to be quite helpful. Thanks Mike.

Pavel Voronenko

Very interesting class! I would recommend recording it as it based on apps' solutions and since 2013/2014 there are a lot of changes. Al least maybe some wrap-up session. Well done, Mike Vardy and Creative Live team! Jan. 04, 2021


Just finished Mike's course and it was exactly what I wanted and hoped it would be. Nuts and bolts, real life ideas and hands on ways to implement what he shared. If I dedicated the time spent on researching an organizational system on just USING the system, I would be a shining beacon of efficiency. Mike's class and materials helped me let go of the need aka obsession with looking for the Holy Grail of systems and just pick a combo and do it. Thanks, Mike, I'll let you know when I AM that shining beacon of effortless organization...or at least when I quit writing notes on my hand! Great course!

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