I am a to-do list fanatic. Have been from a very early age.
But a to-do list can’t do everything. Sometimes, you need a different way to keep track of things.
At work, I often use a project plan and chunk my work into small projects with defined tasks. This works really well for anything that has a start and end date. Sometimes, I even have these plans at home for projects I want to get done around the house.
But project plans don’t work for ongoing things.
And this year, I want to form a bunch of new habits, and those are ongoing.
I needed to figure out a way to track these things. Because when trying to form new habits, you need to be consistently doing them, or they won’t actually build the new habit. To be consistent, you need to track them.
I have struggled with tracking methods over the years. Just adding them to my to-do list doesn’t work. My to-do list is a rolling list, so things that don’t get done roll to the next day. This doesn’t work for habits. They need to be done each day. So, I can’t use the to-do list.
Knowing I am a visual person, I also do better with something I can see. I created all kinds of charts and tracking posters over the years, but nothing has ever really stuck.
But this year, I think I might have finally found a method that will work for me. Thanks go out to Jon Acuff for showing me his excellent tracking mechanism that I have stolen and re-appropriated in a slightly different way for myself. He posted an Instagram story about how he journals each day and has a spot for each of his tasks related to his goals. He then colors in a box when he does the task and he can track his overall goals. (PS. I also read his book, “Finish”, in December and this is one of the things he mentions in it)
I sat down over this past week and wrote down all the things I need to accomplish or want to make new habits (trying to stay more focused). Then, I posted them next to my favorite calendar (Thanks to Jenny Lawson for this one!). I bought a bunch of colored markers and created a color code system for each habit and task that needs to happen regularly. And now, I have a beautiful calendar that I get to color each day with the things that I am working on. (you can see the full picture on my Instagram)
This is what is happening: I really want to color the calendar each day. So, I am really trying to do all the things. I love coloring in all the little boxes. And paying attention to what I am doing each day. It is making me a little more patient for the things that are coming because I am telling myself that each box is one step closer. I feel like I am moving on things, and now I have proof, so I keep moving. Accomplishment feels good.
I have not idea if this tracking method will work long term, but right now, it is working better than any other system I have ever tried. So, I am sticking with it.
I hope you all are doing well with your habits and goals and tasks. I wish you a happy week ahead as we start the second month of this year. 🙂