Last semester, when things were getting stressful with schoolwork and freelance work, my girlfriend Trisha took my computer and made a note for planning out my tasks for the upcoming week.
It was just seven headings, one for each day of the week, and 2-3 things that I was going to get done on each day. Just the big things.
Doing that was kinda transformative — I felt less stress, and found guilt-free time for long-term programming projects that weren’t urgent but were important.
A couple thoughts:
- Laying things out like this gave me space to block out “work on Kiwi,” a project that I had months to work on — but was important. Previously, something like that would get lost on the day-of.
- Having a way of seeing just the big things, instead of my to-do list that includes a lot of little things, gave me a way of declaring myself done with work for the day. This resulted in (shockingly) feelings of having free time after finishing the list for the day.
- I could be intentional about moving tasks around based on how long they would take and how much time I thought I’d have that day.
Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking that it’s an obvious idea. You are right — it is embarrassingly obvious. I knew vaguely that this was a good idea, but for some reason I’d never earnestly tried it.
Seeing the tasks laid out in front of me quieted the part of my brain that worries about whether there would be enough time to get each thing done.
I did this type of weekly planning for the rest of the semester — sometimes in Notion, sometimes in Nota, sometimes in Kinopio, but always the same format. It’s stupid simple, but it did seem to work on me. The best of both worlds.