For the past few weeks, I’ve been more creative than ever.
I’ve written more blog posts, more emails and made forward progress on more things in the last 6 weeks than I have in the last 6 months.
Part of that has been due to the lack of legal fiascos I’ve had to deal with (more on that later), as well as some traveling I’ve been doing, but most of it is due to a new habit I’ve picked up for helping me control my thought processes and get stuff done.
It’s called the StrikeThru method and it’s how I’ve been keeping track of my to-do lists over the past month and change.
Here’s a quick 3 minute overview of how StrikeThru works
The Step by Step Process for how this works
- There are 3 sections: the live list, the dump and the vault.
- The live list is the daily task list you work with each day.
- The dump is the free-thought, journaling area of your notebook where you “dump” any of your thoughts before you forget them.
- The vault is where you can keep ongoing structured lists for bigger projects that you can add to your “live list” when it’s time. You can tag each of these larger structure list with the type of list it is (for example: I have immediate items on my impossible list on one of them).
- There’s also a calendar section where you can plan out tasks or have them set for specific days.
- Each item has a tag associated with it, so you can pull it into the live list just by listing the tag # (instead of writing it all out).
- When you review each live list for the day, you can strike it thru: if it’s done, x it out – if it’s no longer a priority, or write a > next to it – if you carry it over to the next day.
- Carry the notebook with you everywhere you go and make sure that you keep up the habit.
Here’s what my StrikeThru Journal looks like:
I decided to do a quick video tour of my StrikeThru journal as I’m using it:
If nothing else – my StrikeThru journal has given me a routine that I constantly review each day. In the back, I keep a reminder of my bigger projects that I consistently bring to the front.
Writing it all down and having it in a physical notebook has really made it work for me.
Tweaks I’ve Made To Make StrikeThru Work For Me
- I use a Moleskine notebook and partition it out myself. They’re supposed to be coming out with an official StrikeThru notebook, but I’m still waiting on it – Let’s go Chris!
- I skip a lot of the referencing and tagging they have in the examples, because I try to get all my tasks in a day done and find it useful to write down each item as a “commitment” to myself.
- I also have an online project management system for our team (we use Flow – which is great for collaboration), but for my personal lists, I copy down into my notebook and reference that throughout the day.
- I also added a section at the bottom of every day to list my fitness items for the day.
Why This Works
There are no apps, no sites, no social networks to distract you. It’s just you and the page. Getting off the computer not only kills most distractions but lets you focus just on what’s there.
It’s All There
The daily list is where you spend the most time, but you also have longer lists, to-dos and notes in the back. That lets you keep everything in one area and when you need to update it, you can do it pretty easily.
There’s only space for 9 things a day. Do your 9 things and be done with it. It forces you to be specific, be clear and be done with it.
…But It’s Freeing
There’s something about not having to worry about what the rest of the world is doing on your computer. You can get lost in your notebook and open up a new level of creativity.
The X Factor
There’s something about just crossing things off a physical list. It’s what’s appealing about the impossible list, but with the added satisfaction of it being a real, physical list.
Final Notes & Credits
All credit to Chris Kyle who created the StrikeThru method and to Ryder Carroll who created the Bullet Journal (a slightly more complicated version of this that it’s based off of). Check out their work and their sites for the “official” take on all this.
Give it a shot. See how it works for you.
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