Once I’ve flagged my next actions, they appear in Outlook. Once they appear in Outlook, I sort them by context. “Context” is where things need to be done or what equipment is necessary for doing them. My contexts include:
- @Discuss With (Each person gets a “task” with a list of what needs discussing)
- @Errands (Each errand gets a “task” with a list of what needs to be done there/purchased
- @Sewing Desk
- @Waiting For
I assign dates to the Waiting For tasks so I can remember to follow up on those items. I set dates for anything with a deadline. Otherwise, I batch everything where I try to do as many similar tasks as I can when I’m in one of those given contexts. Thus, when I open Excel, I try to tackle all of my Excel tasks at once. That way, my workflow is more streamlined.
I also designate with an “!” or a “*” before the task description terms that need a lot of focus (!) or long stretches of uninterrupted time (*). I then plan on doing those items when someone is available (i.e. my husband) to take over small child duties. I can then sort by those symbols and batch everything that requires someone else to watch the little ones. This allows me to still get things done (social media scheduling, responding to emails, etc.) during pockets of time during the day when the little ones are playing independently next to me while also accounting for the very real fact that I need focused work time as well.
I track all of my contacts in Outlook, and I write notes about the projects I’ve worked on with client contacts. I will flag contacts for follow-ups at different times. I do this for friends, family, and clients alike so that I’m always sure that I’m keeping in touch as I need to be.
I also keep track of all my appointments. I also keep my content calendar in Outlook. I use a different calendar for each of my main career projects plus a personal calendar. This allows me to look at just Wining Wife or look at everything all at once.
Here’s where I track the day to day, I make fun doodles to track my progress on goals, and I write down what I’ve decided to accomplish each day. I’ll talk more about how I use this tool to “DO” what needs doing. I’ve just added this in a more formal way than I had been using it. I keep notes about the day’s menu plan, so I don’t forget that I need to defrost that thing until 5pm because I was so busy with other things. I track my household chores too, so I know when the last time I deep cleaned the whatever was.
Before I started a bullet journal, I was using a notebook where I’d make a list of all the things I needed and wanted to get done for the day. While that worked okay, this allows a more robust way of working from my Outlook tasks and making them portable, an especially important feature since my new business takes me away from the computer and puts me at a craft table or sewing machine. I’ve started a bullet journal Pinterest board if you’re looking for more information on how those work.
You’ve just read about the basics of my tracking system. If you need to go back and read about the methods that have inspired it, you can do so in the first part of this series. The final part of this series will cover the “doing” part of how I get things done.
What do you use to track your projects and tasks? Post your thoughts in the comments.