This week I heard Donald Miller talk on the Beyond the Todo list podcast. Beyond the todo list is a great podcast that doesn’t just focus on stratifies to do more things but also reminds people why they want to do things and focuses on the purpose of doing things and Getting Important Things Done (GITD as I like to think of it, even though GTD does have this idea baked in)
During the podcast Don Miller shared about his productivity planner that uses several tricks to help people focus and get their core tasks done and how it had helped him to write his last book in record time.
The key behind are two parts
- Thinking about the rewards you can do once you get the work you have to do out of the way
- Imagining you are living this day for the second time and how you are going to do it differently.
If you really want to look at the psychology behind it I suggest you go to the Storyline site and sign up to the mailing list and download the schedule.
Why Digitise it?
During the podcast Don Miller talked about how he liked having an element of paper left in his ever digital life and that’s why they focused on making a pdf version which you can print out and then use.
I too like paper and it’s one of the reasons I still keep paper notebooks around with me even though I could just use electronic tools to replace them. I like the feel of paper and the process of writing on something which I can throw away. Plus there is something amazing about starting a new notebook which is blank. You get to completely start a new. There is something about the permanence of using electronic ones that can stifle thinking.
I do use digital tools for a few process in my life like journaling, keeping a prayer diary and reading the bible. The reason is that it’s great to have these tools with me all the time no matter where I go. With traveling between countries and visiting new places you never know what you can take with you.
Plus I have a terrible memory. remember to take an extra tool is a pain. Using electronic tools with their reminders really helps me to keep doing these habits. As such I decided to digitise it.
The Digital Storyline Productivity Schedule.
My basic idea was to use the tools I already use for my current journaling system to quickly create a journal entry to fill in but with this new system. As such I’m using text expander (which allows you to type a small snippet and then it expands into longer formatted text), a set text written in Markdown (a system for writing online with minimal formatting) and the Day One journaling app (which works on a range of Apple products).
These are the tools that I am using but there is no need to use the same systems. You could use another text expander (some are free for windows and mac) or just copy and paste. And then a tool like Evernote to save all your notes which you can look back on (or even just Microsoft word if you really want). The main reason I use these tools is so I can quickly and easily create my notes on my Smartphone or on my Mac.
Below is the text file you can download which contains the schedule formatted in Markdown. With this you can simply copy it into your text expander and write an abbreviation to expand (I have ;storylinepd to expand mine but you could have anything, just make sure you won’t write it by accident!)
One More Thing!
The schedule uses a Macro to automatically set the date. This is in American format but you can change it to British and European format by changing round the %D and %M (that’s what I’ve done). It also asks you what your Life theme is, I suggest you fill in your Life Theme here rather than write it each day (of course, you may find that writing it out everyday is good for you so it’s up to you.)
I’m still working to improve the format and this is my first draft that I’m dogfooding so I’ll probably update this post with changes as I make them.
Finally, this system will make a lot more sense and provide you a lot more value if you use it after reading through the free guide you can get on the storyline blog.
Let me know if you try it out, use it, how you use it, suggestions etc