Staying organised when I don’t want to
In no way did I want to ‘level up my productivity’ or whatever capitalist nonsense has filtered into my brain through hustle culture twitter. My aim was to find a way to stay organised but in a way that is calm, adaptable and lightweight.
I started experimenting with a technique called interstitial journalling on a computer app called Obsidian. This system has so far turned out very well, it allows me to breath and focus, which I feel goes against 99% of mainstream productivity advice. A lot of productivity/organisational methods are very high maintenance. What I mean by high maintenance is - You shouldn’t have to be organised to be organised.
To me it just doesn’t sit right, I want it to be completely effortless - a brain dump then move on to the work itself.
Interstitial journalling is taking notes with a timestamp every time you have a break or pause during your day. You write your thoughts, feelings, any notes and tasks in the same place.
09:34 Feeling better than yesterday but still a bit foggy. Should drink more water today.
10.58 Thought about my friend Mark who I haven’t seen in a while.
 - #task Phone Mark today.
12.30 Started working on my new app project. Research is going well but lots to do!
 - #task Finish wireframes
 - #task Set up domain name - by tomorrow
 - #task Write copy for about page - by 4/02/23
It combines thoughts, feelings, tasks together in one form but in a coherent way. To me this is closer to how my mind actually operates on a day to day basis rather than artificially separating out my thoughts into sections on a page.
Up until this point I’ve tried using a physical diary or using Google Reminders on my phone, using an online calendar, using a calendar I drew myself on my living room wall. All have failed to work for me. The main reason being I frequently jump into different moods, paces of work and headspaces and none of the above methods can adapt to that. Because being in a heads-down deep work mood working on a technical project is very different to being relaxed and planning out a trip to Lisbon - they shouldn’t require different organisational systems because who has time for that?
Currently my system is:
I bring up my daily note which has a template that looks like the following - Intentions Notes/Tasks/Thoughts Upcoming Tasks.
I write down one or two intentions for the day.
Everything else - ideas, feelings, tasks - goes in notes with a time stamp when I have a chance. No pressure to write much at all.
Any to do’s I write down with #task and a deadline next to it which turns into a checkbox and adds it to an overall ‘Task List in due date order’. This is utilising an Obsidian plugin called Tasks which helped set up the automated bits.
Important dates like birthdays, trips, events goes into a calendar tab on Obsidian.
That’s it. Daily note and calendar. If I’m in deep focus and I have lots of tasks to keep track of then it works, if I have a chill day and want to write out some vague plans for a trip then it works.