A few months ago I did a guest post on “2B or not 2B – Creative Writing Tips and Tricks” blog. In that post I wrote about my journal organization and my extensive notation systems in “My Writing and Journaling Process”. Since then, Offbeat Onpoint has grown a lot which has demanded that my writing process grow in tandem (if only the U.S. minimum wage and inflation grew in the same parallel process, wouldn’t that be something huh?(1)). Growth usually manifests in growth and change and in response I began a new task writing format that I have been using which helps me keep regular productivity and allows for flexibility.
I like to have one full page for my week, kind of a “week at a glance” idea. I am a fan of formatting so I like to underline and use colons and check boxes but the important parts are:
Part 1: Weekly Goals
-the written date at top
-my reading goal for that week
-the number of journal entries I’d like to do that week (~1600wc total), ergo 3 check boxes
-each blog day gets a a line and I like to keep a week ahead so I have two columns
-BOM or Band of Misprints is the novel I’m currently working, I aim for ~1600 words a week minimum or 3 pages in my notebook
Part 2: Daily Goals
-here I have a row for each day of the week where I fill in the stuff I want to get done each day of the week, usually kinda fill it in as I go. Like I write “post” on m, w, t, f, at the beginning of the week and fill out “M:” and “T:” rows Sunday or Monday then go from there through the week
Part 3: Monthly Goals
-this is a small space where I like to keep vague goals that I want to get done that month or a place for things I only do once or twice a month, sort of a catch-all
Part 4: The 4 Priority Squares
THIS IS IMPORTANT my creative writing teacher introduced me to this system. It went something like this, “What you don’t know ‘The 4 Priority Squares’?!”, in the midst of a class discussion about a procrastination pandemic. “Okay forget creative writing, THIS will be the most important thing I teach you this year, that’s not to say creative writing isn’t important…” The way this thing is constructed is basically how it works:
-each square is numbered 1 – 4 from upper left to bottom right
-square 1 is titled “important/urgent”
-square 2 is titled “not important/urgent”
-square 3 is titled “important/not urgent”
-square 4 is titled “CBARN”(2)
The idea here is that things in the square 1 are highest priority, like “people are going to break your legs” important and square 4’s title “Can’t Be Asked Right Now” implies the lowest priority. Where the real brilliance of the system comes from square 2 “not important/urgent” and square 3 “important/not urgent.
A clear distinction between square 2 and 3 is hard to make for me to make consistently, as in when making a list I can usually, with some thought, distinguish “2 level” tasks from “3 level” tasks but I have trouble applying firmer rules like squares 1 and 4 lend themselves to. To me, I believe this is the beauty of spectral versus binary thought. Granted it’s easy to sort out the blue from red crayons, but it’s a bit harder to separate shades of purple being “very clearly” more red or blue. This spectrum of choice challenges me to consider urgency versus importance in the task being considered.
By the end of an average week my page will look like this
I hope this helps with cultivating your daily writing habit or inspires some other methods or formats. If you have a format you use or a method you like and want to share, send me a guest article piece and I’ll post it on here.
- 1975 minimum wage was $2.10 an hour which is the 2017 equivalent of $9.77 whilst 2017 minimum wages are a pathetic $7.25 or for those of you who were working in 1975, today’s $7.25 is the same as $1.56 in 1975.
- Okay so when he originally introduced it, it was all very logical and pleasing but after using this system for a while now, I’ve decided to rename the boring “not important/not urgent” to what it really is “Can’t Be Asked Right Now”