Todo lists are a great way to keep track of your to-dos. But if you're like me, you can get lost in the details. I was using a classic GTD format and trying to organize tasks into projects and sub-projects, but my brain just couldn't handle it anymore! That's when I started using a Circular Planner instead. Now, I'm able to see all of my tasks in one visual map with no confusion about where things belong or how they relate to each other. It's an amazing feeling!
The Problem with To-Do Lists
To-do lists are a popular method for productivity. They can be very helpful in making sure you stay on top of your tasks, but they also have their limitations.
The problem with to-do lists is that they can become overwhelming. It's easy to get lost in a list of tasks when you consider how many things you need to accomplish and when each thing needs to be done by. This makes it difficult to know what task should be focused on first and second, let alone third and fourth!
A circular planner offers an alternative way of organizing your daily tasks that avoids these problems altogether: instead of having one long list after another, each day has its own section complete with short-term tasks or goals listed out around the perimeter.
So I tried something else. Enter the circle.
Circular planners are a better way to visualize your yearly goals and break them down into daily tasks that help you stay on track and motivated. The circular shape of these planners helps you see the bigger picture while helping you break down bigger goals into actionable tasks, which means it’s much easier for me to get started with my day since I know exactly what needs to be done without having to worry about forgetting anything important later on.
These planners have other advantages too: they show how long certain projects will take, they can be used as calendars or project management tools (in addition to being great planners), they allow you to add notes along with each task so nothing gets left out when compiling all of your work together at once (and trust me—you'll want all those details!).
How this circular calendar works
This circular calendar is a great tool for every writer, student and freelancer. You can start by adding your overall goal in the middle, feel free to use colors and huge writing. You can even add pictures.
Then there's plenty of space to break your goals into smaller subgoals and define a clear target when you want to have reached that goals. E.g., when you want to write a master thesis, start by adding the goal and a due date; then plan backwards until you reach today!
The dark side of Todo Lists
Todo Lists are a great tool, but they can also be the source of stress and overwhelm. Todo Lists have many features that make them easy to use, but when you don't know how to use them properly, they can be counterproductive. Here are some of the most common issues I've seen with Todo Lists:
They cause procrastination because we tend to start without a clear focus and often add things that feel overwhelming instead of starting small and working up from there.
They are not sustainable because if something is not on your To Do List, then it will never get done (and therefore remains undone).
The tasks on our list often vary in urgency level and importance relative to each other (or lack thereof). This makes prioritization difficult when we're forced into creating a linear list where everything has equal priority levels regardless of its importance or urgency level.
The Benefits of the Circular Planner
A circular planner is a good way to set and achieve goals.
You can use the circular planner to keep track of your progress on any goal, big or small.
A circular planner allows you to stay focused on your priorities—and not get distracted by all the other things in your life that are vying for your attention.
It helps you plan your day more effectively so that you can take care of tasks more efficiently and finish them sooner than if you didn’t use this system at all.
How to use this planner most effectively
Here are some ways to use this planner most effectively:
Track your top 3 goals. A dedicated area for each month provides an easy way to visualize what you want to accomplish in the coming weeks. Mark down your top three goals for the quarter, then fill in every day with tasks related to those goals. At the end of each quarter, evaluate how well you did on those goals and adjust accordingly for next time!
Track daily tasks and weekly tasks. Use the space of the weeks as a checklist by adding any continuous tasks that require daily work alongside weekly activities like planning meals and scheduling appointments or dates with friends or family members. You can also use this area if you're working toward multiple long-term plans (for example, studying for exams), organizing a group project for work/school or creating other habits that need practice every day until they become second nature. Track monthly and quarterly projects too! Just like daily/weekly ones but even more exciting because they're bigger picture items which means greater potential payout but also greater risk if something goes wrong along way. Review at regular intervals will keep us motivated.
I hope that I've convinced you to try this circular calendar. It's been a big help in my life, and I think it can be for you too!
Photo by Louis Maniquet on Unsplash