One of my favorite bloggers, Leo Babauta at ZenHabits, often writes about TMIs: The Most Important Stuff. This is the stuff that you know you need to do and whether you write it down or not, you are probably going to get it done.
So why write TMIs in your planner?
Because you want to stop thinking about them. Once you are organized, you learn to trust that if you write something in your planner, it will either get done today or you’ll move it to another day. But it will get done. Trust that. Because you are organized 🙂
Something I love about TMIs is that most mornings my brain wakes me up to tell me what my TMIs are for the day. I am a morning planner and quite often at about 4:00 AM I wake up thinking about not only what needs to be done but how I am going to get it done. I keep a pad of paper, a pen, and a flashlight by the bed just for this purpose. I jot things down. I go back to sleep. And in the morning, I transfer the TMIs to my planner.
A lot of people I know are struck with TMIs in the evening. And that works too! Whatever your best time is to organize, acknowledge that, and take advantage of your brain’s ability to remind you what your TMIs are.
Here’s a quick organizational exercise to explore your TMIs.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Make sure you are grounded (feet on the floor) and feel the chair you are sitting on. Take another long breath and picture a horizon out in front of your closed eyes. Look out at the depth of that horizon and take one more deep breath.
- Open your eyes, and without looking at your calendar, planner, notes, or stacks of paper on your desk, write what your TMIs for today. This is a brainstorm so just write, don’t edit.
- When you stop writing, close your eyes again and look at the horizon. Wait to see if any fresh TMIs occur to you, and if they do, jot them down. My mom finds it helps to think in “groups”. What do I need to get done for work? What do I need to get done at home? Or as a volunteer, or whatever your “big” categories of work are.
- Rinse and repeat until you have a list.
Now go back to your calendar and planner and add in the TMIs. Were there any surprises? I usually have one or two each morning. Planners are awesome for making sure you are doing the work you want to do. Tapping into your TMIs is an awesome way to make sure your planner list stays fresh.
And now a bit of frivolous fun from a recent Cape Elizabeth Maine Garden Tour: Things to do with a dead tree in your yard.