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My analog focus system for the digital age

I do my best thinking with a pen in my hand (or while I am walking). That’s why I have switched to a different method for focusing and getting things done at work. I am still using Todoist and Evernote and many of the other digital tools, but I try to stay analog most of the time.

I am using:
– A large notebook
– A small notebook
– Post-it notes

The large notebook

I start my day with planning. I started the night before (I’ll explain this in a bit), but what I am doing in the morning is adding everything that’s inside Todoist for the specific day into my large notebook. I use pen and paper. I write everything without thinking about what’s most important and what’s not. I just write everything I can see inside Todoist and I use Timely to track the time (I use 25 minutes planning).

After I have added everything from Todoist to my large notebook, I start prioritizing what I need to get done. I am still focusing on just one thing. The most important task of the day. I add the time I’ll be using next to the task, with a star (sometimes I use the letter A or the number 1). Then, I prioritze all the different tasks (and the time I’ll be using on each of the tasks).

I use the same (large) notebook to write notes during the day. But, it stays in my office. I don’t take it with me for meetings.

The small notebook

I have a small notebook when I travel. It fits in my pocket. And, I have a small pen as well. This is the notebook I use for meetings, and it’s always with me wherever I go. It’s small for several reasons. It’s easy to carry and I write less text. I keep it simple.

The post-it note

I have all the tasks inside Todoist, and I have all the tasks in my large notebook. But, in order to stay analog while I’m outside the office, I add today’s tasks on a post-it note and I stick it inside the small notebook. This way I’ll always see the tasks I need to get done while I’m in meetings and traveling.

The last 30 minutes

Every single day, the last 30 minutes at the office is the same. I start the last 30 minutes by looking at the small notebook and the post-it note, and I see what I have accomplished and if there are any notes or tasks I need to transfer to my large notebook.

I add everything that’s been happening during the day into my large notebook. When everything is inside the large notebook, I add the important things to either Evernote (for reference and notes) or if there are any new tasks, I add them to Todoist.

It might look like a complex method, but it helps me stay analog and more focused during the day.

The night before

30 minutes before I go to bed, I’ll be looking at Todoist and see if I have added everything for the next day. Sometimes I have things on my mind that I need to add (it might not be for the next day), and sometimes I need to add notes to the tasks for the next day or write better titles and explain the tasks in a better way). This is a habit I have developed, and it just 5 to 10 minutes.

Doing this the night before helps me not think about what I will need to get done. It helps me relax.

One response to “My analog focus system for the digital age”

  1. Bob Colvin says:

    Absolutely love this! I still carry about a small notepad to jot down notes. I think more people would benefit from this!

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