Hipster Series: Other Categories of Rituals

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“Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will.” – unknown

Just as there is a flow of stuff in our lives, there is a flow of tasks. Many tasks change hands multiple times, and while they do not require our constant attention, they often need to remain within our peripheral awareness while they are in someone else’s hands. Within my rituals lists, I am keeping track of a few additional types of information that I wanted to keep up with on a regular basis but didn’t want to have to go looking for in another separate list.

Pending & Followup Items

In my original paper-based hipster, I had a list category called “Waiting” (one “waiting” list for personal tasks, and one “waiting” list for work tasks). This was a completely separate list from my new and recurring task lists. The waiting list was designated for anything that I was waiting on from someone else that I didn’t have to do right then, but wanted to keep track that it was something unfinished out there.

As much as I loved my original hipster, I found that the number of categories of tasks I had to keep track of was too many for me to keep up with everyday. After thinking about the small amount of “waiting” tasks I have to track on a regular basis, I decided that it would be okay to just have one note in each of my rituals lists dedicated to recording these types of items.

I also renamed the category. Currently the note is called “Pending / Followup”. I am not in love with the name, but I decided on it pretty quickly and haven’t brainstormed a better name yet. The note is actually called “Daily – Pending / Followup” because it is quick enough to just review the items everyday, and some things have a quicker turnaround time than a week, so I figured it would be safer to count on reviewing it once a day.

I created an example note in my rituals list template with a few of the items I have on my personal list currently. I will admit that I am not 100% on top of it enough to review and act on all of the items on these lists every day, but I am working on it. Right now I am just trying to go through the items everyday so I can’t ignore that they are out there, and working on being more proactive and efficient to deal with them as soon as possible. Ideally there would be very few of these items, as they would get processed and cleared off the list fast.

Simple Finances

The other category of information I am now tracking in my rituals list is my expenses. I struggled for a very long time to get a grip on how I would like to manage my personal finances in the most simple way possible. I still have a way to go, but have settled on a very simple yet effective method of tracking my monthly expenses. I have listed the following information per line for my recurring income and expenses: day of the month, name of transaction, expected amount. That’s it! The only exception is for my paychecks I just enter “+’s” to signify it is a positive amount of money but don’t calculate what it will be each time. I don’t even have the information in a table anymore, because I found that it was difficult to manage on my iPhone.

This information is listed in a note in my rituals notebook called “Daily – Expenses & Savings”. I created an example note to show how I do this with some made up numbers in my rituals template. I originally thought this would be a good item to address at a weekly review, however, since I could never get it together enough to do a weekly review, I decided I would rather just keep up with it on a daily basis rather than making it a big thing I had to prepare to face once a week.

I am not going through this list religiously everyday yet, but I like how simple and easy it is to access. If I am stuck in a long line at the post office, this is a quick task that I can get out of the way. I italicize each expense line as it is withdrawn from my bank account, so I can easily tell how much money I still have in the account until my next paycheck.

In addition to recurring expenses (which I, of course, affectionately refer to as “ritual expenses”), I also keep track of new (reminder) expenses that will come out of my account below my list of recurring expenses, such as if I have to write a check or get a bill with an exact amount due on it. If it is a bill that I just have an average amount in the recurring expenses list for, then I will italicize that item and keep track of the new bill listed below until I see it come out of my account. Once the new expense is deducted from my bank account, I just delete it from the note. At the end of the month after all my recurring expenses have come out of my account, I un-italicize all the items and start over.

I thought about keeping track of my personal expenses in a separate notebook, but decided to make it just one note in my rituals list for the sake of minimizing the total number of lists I have to access in a day, increasing the likelihood that I will actually look at it rather than just ignore it for weeks at a time.

Final Thoughts on the Rituals Lists

I don’t want to be misleading and make it look like I am doing all of my rituals items with perfect efficiency. Currently that couldn’t be farther from the truth. This system is definitely a work in progress, but it is helping me to decide what I have time to commit to and what I need to say no to, and how frequently I need to do things that I previously haven’t kept up with.

I don’t think things have to get neglected. Every time I have talked about getting it all together in the past to people, I feel like they don’t really get me. My getting it all together speech is usually met with something to the effect of it can’t be done. I know nothing is perfect. And I am well aware that I cannot control what happens. I am not trying to get organized in an attempt to control everything. It is more about being able to live in a space that doesn’t feel like it is closing in on me, and to clear out the junk so I can truly live and do the things that are meaningful to me, rather than being bogged down by a million little things that don’t really matter. Namaste.

image credit: yay-hannah

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