There’s a list-making program that I use to keep track of everything I have to do in each of the areas of my life. I have customized it into a tool that frees up my mind while simultaneously keeping me organized.
On my mind? On the list. Off my mind.
Every night before bed, I move any unfinished tasks to the next day or days, which happens regularly, leaving a plan in place for the next day and a clean slate to end that one. I don’t think of it as a static list. It is forever expanding, changing as priorities and ideas change. It’s become a part of my brain and my life.
Remember when you were in your early 20s and could keep all your appointments, months or weeks out, plus a work schedule (accurately) all in your head? I’m so far from being able to do that now. I joke to my colleagues, but it’s not funny, that if I don’t write it down, it isn’t going to happen. I will completely forget. Completely.
To free up my mind further, I deleted all the little alerts (badges, banners, dings and clicks) off my phone except text, phone call, and Messenger, of which I have retained only their badges. Alerts cause anxiety, and I already know I have stuff to do (it’s on the list!) so I don’t need a reminder. I’ve also kept the calendar reminders so I know what’s coming next, which has saved me more than a few times. I’ve got kids so the phone alert stays on, and I only communicate via messenger and text with family members and friends, so that stays too.
I’ve also started responding to email only once a day. I delete all the things I won’t read as I notice them, and later in the day after all the North Americans have woken up and sent their initial emails, I go mailbox by mailbox and address everything that needs addressing. It’s not visually inbox zero, but it feels like it, and that is the point.
Finally, I took all the social media off my phone, followed some over-the-top SilVal dude’s phone editing suggestions, and turned on the new Screen Time tracking app.
I have two screens now, one is this home screen, and the other is the widgets screen. The home screen is blank except for this cool photo of some land art, and includes my three top used apps, with all the other apps in that folder on the bottom left. I highly recommend this organization method. I love it. On the widget screen, I have widgets for upcoming events, phone favorites (so I can call right from the screen) calendar, and screentime. That’s it. I’m on the phone a lot less and I’m happier when I am. This is how I survive.