“How in the world do you two find the time to get everything done? What is your secret?”
Those two questions seem to always come up in the conversation when someone talks to us about balancing our careers and family life while building the farm, tending the garden, and writing articles and recipes for the blog.
It can certainly get a little crazy at times – and although we, like many, rely on a digital calendar to keep track of meetings, family functions, school events and travel schedules – its actually a simple, low-tech system that powers us to accomplishing daily tasks and goals that make it all work.
In fact, in an age of technology, time management devices, electronic calendars, alarms, reminders and task lists – I think most people are fairly shocked when they find out that our “secret” to “getting things done” is none other than a tiny, 49¢, 3 x 5″ spiral notebook.
Accomplishing Daily Tasks – How The Notebook Works For Us:
5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes at night…and a whole day of accomplishment!
For us, it actually all starts with the realization that no single large project, goal or dream ever gets completed without a lot of little accomplishments happening to pave the way. And our notebook system is the perfect answer to help us get those “little” things done.
Every single morning, when that first cup of coffee is poured, we each take five minutes or so to write down what needs to be accomplished that day.
We each keep our own list and divvy up any tasks that are needed for the household. Everything from work needs, farm chores, grocery lists and any and all errands make the list. We attach no numbers or rank of importance to each item, instead concentrating only on what each of us has to do for the day.
Throughout the day, the notebooks are never far from our sides. Every time an item get completed, it gets crossed off – and likewise, every time a new task or chore presents itself, it gets placed on the list. It takes only seconds to do – and keeps every single day right in front of us. The small 3 x 5″ size of the notebook makes it easy to keep nearby, easily fitting in a pocket, on a desk, in a computer bag or the front seat of the car. People think it’s crazy – but that simple act of taking a few seconds to write down a new task, or cross of a completed one keeps you connected to the day – and forces you to see what else still needs accomplished.
Too often, we think of random things that need to be done at the strangest times (sharpen the mower blades, call so and so back, pick up this or that, or even fix the window that is sticking) – and the notebook is a great way to get it on the schedule right then, and right there!
Finally, every night – we each take 5 minutes to roll through our day’s list. It’s easy to see for each of us what didn’t get accomplished – and what did. And here is the important part – instead of leaving the unfulfilled goals in their place – we turn the page and start a new list – writing out again those goals that didn’t get accomplished for the next day’s list.
It’s funny, but after a few days of re-writing a goal again – it is AMAZING how much motivation we have during the day to get that goal accomplished so that we do not have to re-write it again. Writing a new list each evening also lets us start fresh and keep the list current – not having to look back over previous weeks or days to see if we missed anything.
When you write something down – it tends to become embedded in your memory. Its one thing to think about what you need to do – or type them into a “task list” on a computer or smart phone – but when you actually write the down a goal or task and see it in your own writing – it somehow changes it all.
Even better, the little notebook doesn’t need to be recharged or fall apart and shatter when dropped on the concrete! I know it all sounds so low-tech and simple – but try it – and you will quickly see how powerful it really is in helping get things done!
Here is to accomplishing all of your goals!
Jim and Mary