Keeping Track of Repetitive Tasks with BuJo

Keeping Track of Repetitive Tasks with BuJo

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Fellow Guild member, @pineapple asked a question about handling tasks that must be done every week. I imagined that she might have a task that need to be repeated every week. She needed to ensure that she spent enough time each week on a certain activity to achieve an eventual goal.

I talked about possibly using a habit app such as the [Productive] app or the [Streaks] app. I love digital apps but I wouldn’t check my habit app often enough to start work on a streak or habit. My backlog was hidden in an iPhone app that I didn’t open often enough. These habits weren’t staring at me in the face every day. I was never inspired to look at my habit app. But I do keep my Bullet Journal open on my desk and refer to it as my daily driver.

I have a series of habits that I’d like to repeat:

  • Declutter my office (15 minutes, three times a week)
  • Go through my Instapaper backlog (15 minutes, three times a week)
  • Rewrite some copywrite for my shop (20 minutes, three times a week)
  • Email Inbox Zero (30 minutes, three times a week)

I saved all of my Big Rock projects and repeating tasks in my task manager. When I do my weekly review and create my BuJo Weekly Page Spread for the next week, I review my projects and checklists. I pull out a bunch of tasks that I wanted to work on. Many single tasks can be broken down into a repeating task. Inbox Zero for my email is something that will need more than one sitting a week. I dedicated myself to Inbox Zero for at least 30 minutes, three times a week. I wrote this in my BuJo.

:white_medium_square: :white_medium_square: :white_medium_square: Email Inbox Zero

Every day, I look at my BuJo Weekly Page Spread and I can see that I haven’t started on my Email Inbox Zero task (all the checkboxes are blank). Right now, I have 30 minutes of free time before my next appointment. I’ll set a timer for 30 minutes and start an Inbox Zero work session. I churn through my emails. At the end of the work session, I can check off one box and see progress being made.

:ballot_box_with_check: :white_medium_square: :white_medium_square: Email Inbox Zero

By the end of the week, I hope to see that I have checked off all three boxes for Email Inbox Zero because I finished my three weekly sessions.

:ballot_box_with_check: :ballot_box_with_check: :ballot_box_with_check: Email Inbox Zero

As much as I wanted my habits app to work, I just couldn’t get any of my backlogs done as much as I promised I would do.
Having a BuJo Weekly Page Spread with my checkboxes has gotten me back on track to getting through my insane backlogs or making sure I set up a minimum number of work sessions every week.

Here’s a photo scan of my BuJo Weekly Page Spread.

I’ve finished my one off-tasks (right page, top section). I did one Declutter work session and one paperless receipts scan so far this week. Tomorrow, I’ll continue working on checking off enough checkboxes.

Yeah, I know I’m trying to be optimistically ambitious. I have way too many checkboxes than I can handle this week. As the weeks go by, I’ll have a better sense of how many checkboxes I can complete in a week. I’m thinking of deferring some of the checkbox tasks to the future or put a few into Someday/On Hold status.

That’s the fun part of the experiment. I’ll find that sweet middle point and I can plan more realistically in a few week’s time.

I’m tracking how many times I’ve worked on a task every week. Knowing where I am is an essential ingredient to determine where I’m going. Does anyone have their own tricks on how to handle work that needs to be broken into chunks? I’d love to hear from you.

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After some thought, I’ve decided to put some of my backlog tasks on hold. These are mostly maintenance repeating tasks that will never end. Clearing my Instapaper backlog, my email inbox, and DevonThink inboxes were the biggest challenges. Then I will have a smaller set of chunk tasks to work on every week. It’s more manageable to focus on a small set of tasks instead of spreading myself thin.

I created a BuJo Collection (checklist) called “Weekly Chunk Tasks” and listed all of my tasks that need a dedicated work session every week. When I create my new BuJo Weekly Page Spread, I can choose 3 to 4 chunk tasks and have it included for this week’s page spread. I went from 11 weekly chunk tasks down to 5. I think it looks more manageable. Otherwise, it’s just overwhelming and disheartening to see such as huge backlog to attempt to complete.

During the Weekly Review, I revisit the collection and see if I need to work on other chunk tasks.