This blog post has been a long time coming and has not been easy to write. When you are using a system every day that is just automatic. It’s hard to stop and think about what you are doing, in order to explain it to others. Believe me, I have tried and so has Jono.
As you might guess from the title I am going to be explaining how and why I use the digital world to supplement my analogue desires. I am going to try and explain each section as best as I can. But if you have any questions then do drop me an email.
The other thing that I should mention is that this had taken us years to get to this point and it was by no means an overnight thing. We have tweaked and changed and we have used other services.
This has taken a lot of time to get in place and it works for us and our life. I would really recommend taking the time to figure out what you need. Then, iterate! Nothing will work if you expect it to be a magic bullet.
So, with that all said and I hope that I haven’t scared you off let’s get into the different tools I use to keep everything in order.
Jono is all digital. There is no way he is going to use an analogue calendar. To be honest, having a joint calendar on Google makes so much more sense. We can both see where we are and what we are doing.
This however still needs some tweaking here and there and sometimes things are forgotten and not put in the calendar. But when we do it is all in there.
Our calendar is our sky-high view of what the hell is going on throughout the month. Mainly travel, appointments and cat sitting. Also included is nights out with friends and date nights.
This monthly view gives us the chance for people to say “are you free?” and we know that a glance at this calendar will tell us if we can make it or not. I know that a lot of people swear by a monthly view in their planner, but for me is it just not needed.
I have in the past tried to force myself to use one but now I just use Google Calendar. It’s on my PC or my phone. It’s up to date and has all the latest info I need about any trips and it’s one constant source of the truth.
I have a smart device in my kitchen. This is used mainly for playing music, setting timers, adding things to the Tesco basket and adding cards to Trello.
Usually, we won’t have our phones when we are cooking so having the Mini in the kitchen makes life easy. It also means that I can add things straight to the shopping basket.
Before I would have to stop what I was doing go to the fridge and write it on a list. Ok Google, add milk to the Tesco basket. Done! I just need to review the basket before checking out.
Right this is a big one for us.
As you may know, I am a huge advocate for Trello*. I have used it for a few years now and have used it to plan moving house, decorating and getting married.
It is a great tool once you get it to work for you. I now use it to manage my house and this blog. I know that when I have introduced people to it they have found it to be complicated. But it really isn’t you just need to have a play and you will soon get it.
If you have ever read David Allen’s Getting Things Done that you will know what I mean by Inbox. Trello is the place were all fleeting thoughts go. When we are out and about and someone asks us something and we can’t immediately answer them we will put on Trello to find out the answer and get back to them.
Someone recommends a book, it goes on Trello. Need to check a delivery, on Trello. There is a holiday that needs looking into, Trello. You get my point, any passing thought goes on Trello it is reliable and constant!
We have one board to rule them all! With 7 lists that have multiple cards on them. I am going to break down how we use these to get shit done!
This list gets the most use on a weekend. We do use it through the week but just not to the extent that we do on a weekend. The cards on this list are the tasks that we have committed to doing “today”.
These are usually things that have popped into our head to get done that day or they are the next actionable step from another card. They either get done that day or they get a due date added to them, or added back into either mine or Jono’s list.
Power Hour – now called Staging
These are bigger tasks which need consideration or planning before we commit to moving them to immediate tasks. If there are people that we need to contact or emails that we need to follow up. A project will stay in power hour until there is a task to move it forward.
These two lists are a non-urgent person-specific task. So if I need to remember to take some photos or return and item but it’s not ready for the immediate tasks list then it will go on our own list.
This is a fairly new addition to our board. It is a chronological list of events that are happening. But Sam aren’t these in your Google Calendar!? Yes but these have checklists/tickets/flight details in them.
Any PDF that is in relation to that trip gets added to the trip card. Rather then sat in our inbox. So when one us are not sure if the other has booked something we can look on the card.
These are longer-term home improvements that need planning. You know the big projects that have a lot of moving parts and need to have colour schemes and furniture picked out.
This is basically anything that needs to or I want to have done to the garden. I love my garden! If I could have she shed like Geredine then I would! I would spend most of my time in there, well I suppose my conservatory is my she shed really.
Anyway, this has all the list of plants and ideas as well as links to my Pinterest boards for the garden as well.
Reference / Life Stuff
ALL OF THE LISTS!
No seriously, this has all the list. Lists of clothes, music, tv shows, movies, gift ideas, books to read, handbags, games. This is an ever-changing collection of references.
Time to write it down
So if you are a planner person you will be wondering where my planner comes into all of this well. Where Trello is Jon’s and mine’s collective brain. My planner is my brain.
It is my timekeeper, my weekly workout partner and journal friend, as well as all-round, get shit done helper. Because as much as my life is in the digital space when it comes to the day to day week to week stuff that all happens in my planner.
I have my phone as my GTD inbox and my planner as my over the aching system and though this may be in a notebook or a hobonichi or a happy planner. The system is flexible enough that it changes with my mad whims and silly life.
It meets me where I need to be and help me move at the pace of life, because at the end of the day if it causes me friction then it needs to go. Your system as a whole should be able to handle whatever life throws at you and be able to help you catch that curveball that life swings your way.
I hope that you have been able to get something out of this and that it has helped you understand my system a bit more. You don’t have to be hardcore digital or only analogue. There is a beautiful middle ground where you can hybridize the digital and analogue to work for you and not against you.