With all the information technology available these days the possibilities for how to organize your life has become endless. In that little screen called your phone there is an infinite canvas that can be organized into an infinite number of dimensions.
However, with infinite possibilities comes infinitely increased difficulty of choice.
You only have so much mental energy each day, and with each decision you deplete it little by little.
Therefor if your time is always spent in a space of infinite choice, it’s nearly impossible to focus and narrow down what’s truly important.
This is where the value of journaling comes in.
Striking That Balance
The fundamental issue is this: In Technology you have infinite canvas with the ability to do an infinite number of things, but your time and energy is not infinite. Given this, you need something to balance this, something that is finite in nature that can only hold so much.
This is the value of a journal.
Your journal represents what you’re focused on, what you’re doing at this time. Accomplishment comes when a task is focused on until completion, not when your focus is scattered among infinite tasks.
So where to strike that balance? What is the best approach?
To start, here is a summary of technology driven and journal driven task management and what their benefits are.
- Infinite Canvas Size
- Infinite ways to organize data
- Great for long term planning and development
- The infinite possibility can get overwhelming
- Directly writing in your journal builds a direct connection in your mind
- Limited page space creates focus
- Great for day to day work
- Long term planning can be difficult to handle well on paper
So the big question, which method is best? Why a combination of the two of course!
We live in an age where we have tools that our ancestors never even dreamed of, so it’s foolish to eliminate either when we can get them both working together.
I made the primary benefits of each in bold, so we can use both together in this way:
Do all your long term planning and task management in a technology system, then use your journal for the short term stuff so you can focus.
Think of it this way, you have a bookshelf full of your favorite books. Can you read all of your books at once?
You can read one, then another, and bounce around, but it’s impossible to read all of your books at the same time. It’s also a terrible way to read your books since you will get in a lot of reading but you’re unlikely to finish any of them.
At most, you will take a few books down and keep them on a stand next to your reading chair. When you sit down and read you then focus on whichever catches your fancy.
In this way, think of your technology system as your “library” of tasks that you want to get done. Your journal then represents your stand next to your chair with the books you’re currently reading.
As an example I’ll explain the system I’m using at the time of writing this article.
Using an app called Todoist, I’m able to log tasks as they come to mind, all I do is tap the Todoist widget on my home screen.
I’m then able to log the task into Todoist, where it will sit until I’m ready to address it.
At the beginning of each week, I look over everything I did the previous week and move over anything that fell through the cracks using my Weekly Modules. Once I move all these tasks over I typically find that there is plenty of room to add more things that I can try to do that week.
So, I go to Todoist, and I look over my tasks which are organized into projects ( or not ) and I decide what I’m going to focus on that week by copying them over to my journal.
I then don’t look at my tasks in Todoist again until the following week, and focus on completing what I have written in my journal.
Rinse and repeat.
In this way I am systematically getting things done. Being overwhelmed doesn’t exist, because I know that having a lot only means that it will take more time for me to get to some things.
What works for you?
Now, that works for me. However you are a unique and special person, and will need a system as unique as you are. What I’ve explained is the basics however, and you can use it to compile a system that fits you.
That about does it! If you haven’t already signed up go do so to get your GoJournaling Companion and learn how to get the most out of the Modules on this site.