The “if there’s time” line

— 3 minute read

I’m really into bullet journalling—especially the rapid logging aspect of it. It helps keep me organised, while not taking up mental energy with administration side of things. I used to do it all in a proper paper bullet journal, but this year, I’ve been doing it digitally.

As much as I use and like tools like Notion and Things—they cause a lot of this low-key mental energy drain. I think it’s less about the quality of their products—which are both excellent I must add—but more that managing tasks and stuff on a Computer Interface™, with a mouse and keyboard is the problem.

Apple Notes permalink

Fairly recently, I had a lightbulb moment: maybe I can use Apple Notes, my iPad and Apple Pencil as a Bullet Journal. I already pretty much live on my iPad doing design work, so it makes sense. The main plus is that I’m handwriting (awfully, I must add) again, which is suprisingly important for me, it seems.

This isn’t really the article to explain how all that setup works—maybe I’ll write about it one day. Just imagine it’s a bog-standard Bullet Journal, but instead of a paper notebook, it’s digital pages. This is why I went digital in the first place: because I developed a low-key phobia of losing my actual paper Bullet Journal.

The line permalink

Anyway, I’m waffling—let’s focus on the important bit: the line. I’m rather overwhelmed right now (hello, pandemic) and to get me through this phase, I’m trying a new thing with lots of success.

It’s called the “if there’s time” line and looks like this:

A dark mode Apple Notes page has 3 items then a full page horizontal line, followed by three other items

The first point is I’m limiting my days to 6 items only because good grief, a full page of stuff to do and stuff that’s happening, staring at you, is not helpful in picking stuff that actually needs to be done.

The top X items are must do items. This could be 1 item or 4 items—the important thing is that they have to be done. It’s all inspired by the methodology of this rather interesting Kickstarter.

Then, the magic line is drawn.

Everything under the line is stuff that should be done, only if there’s time. If not, they’ll get pushed along, just like standard rapid logging.

The proof is in the pudding permalink

It really works. All of last week, I was dragging myself through it (probably burnout creeping in), but I still managed to get all of the important stuff done and launch a freelance community from scratch.

Being extremely focused on a small batch of must do tasks per day is keeping my extremely fragile brain in check right now and that’s all I can ask for at the moment.

It’s always the simple things that are most effective and this simple thing happens to be a humble, horizontal line.

Hi 👋, I’m Andy — an educator and web designer

I produce front-end development tutorials over at Front-End Challenges Club and Piccalilli. You can sign up for updates on Piccalilli to stay up to date with its progress.

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