The 34 Day Journal can be a standalone or an add-on to your calendar or planner system. This is the tool to kick-start your day and feel accomplished at the end of it. We spend a lot of time marking our calendar with appointments, events, and scheduled activities, but we don't seem to spend as much effort managing the time around those items and the tasks that fill that time up.
Determining which “to dos” make it onto your daily plan requires a quick system. It is not time-consuming, but you need to do it daily. You must build your week and then curate your day. By looking at your week as a whole (say on Sunday or Monday morning) you are using bigger events (soccer practice, an important meeting, your travel schedule) as the framework you build around. It is the foundation. When it comes to planning the day you need to become a curator. You need to take your large number of possible targets and decide on a daily basis what earns its way onto your day. There is a rule: you can only build out a day either the night before or the morning of.
There is constantly a list of all the "things" you need to take care of running through your brain. It is taking up "brain space." You need to get those out of your head and living somewhere else. This is the place, the "Running To Do List." Every day you can sit down and reference this "to do" list as you build out your day. This is particularly helpful with those items that don't have to happen now but need to be addressed very soon. Eg. the car needs an oil change. You aren't going to jump in your car the moment you think about that to go take care of it. But by placing it on your "Running To Do List" that task can live somewhere else until you are ready for it.
The 34 Day Journal includes to pages dedicated to a monthly layout. First off, I should be clear, these pages aren't for everyone. Lots of people have calendars with other weekly planners, on their wall, or on their phone. This is just an option for those that might want to jot big things down. Personally, I recommend a digital calendar to go with your 34 Day Journal, read about that setup here. Why two months? Well clearly 34 days is more then 2 months. This allows you to jot down this month's items and spill over into next month if you need to.
Spend time at the beginning of each week (Sunday/Monday) reviewing your calendar to see what is on your plate over the next 7 days. Review your paper monthly calendar and digital calender to filter everything down to these next seven days. Be sure to include any recurring events. By looking at your week as a whole (Sunday or Monday morning) you are using bigger events (soccer practice, an important meeting, your travel schedule) as the framework you build around. It is the foundation.
Part of getting a jump start on your week is taking the “time sucks” off your list. As you look at the week ahead plan your meals in advance. Be sure to plan according to events that may impact prep or cook time. The meal plan chart also acts as your grocery list. Planning meals in advance will allow you to curate your day around them and save you time mulling over the most dreaded question, “what’s for dinner”?
Here is where the rubber meets the road. This is the place you make progress, by being intentional about each day. Lofty goals can be intimidating. The give us an endpoint, but don’t tackle the journey to get there. That is the hard part. It is spending each day intentionally that makes the difference. It is the 1% improvements that build the long-term success. The daily page helps you focus on what is right in front of you. In months you will look back and see that it’s the string daily tasks that time after time that makes the big difference.
At times your tasks are more like projects. When you plan each day you need to have a holding place for more long term work. The project planner allows you to take a project, break it down, and break it down some more. Transfer those items to your daily page and knock them out one by one.