Journaling is Boss Mode Thinking

Those of you who are familiar with the work we do at Think Productive will be familiar with the concept of Boss Mode thinking. This is the time when you sit back, you review your current projects and commitments as well as make decisions on where your priorities should be. This frees up the time for your Worker Mode self to crack on with the work at hand, safe in the knowledge that you are doing what you should be doing, when you should be doing it. 

On a personal note, I’ve expanded this concept a little and viewers of my Learn OmniFocus live session with Tim Stringer will already be familiar with this. I allocate time-blocks during the day where I solely concentrate on Boss Mode thinking. 

So what do I do in this time? 

  • I empty my OmniFocus Inbox, processing any new tasks or ideas I’ve captured since my last Boss Mode session
  • I check my Unclutter notes to see if I’ve jotted anything important, or need to get back to somebody about a certain issue. Unclutter is a great app on macOS. You swipe down on the trackpad and it reveals a notepad, where you quickly type and release. This is great for interruptions when you are focusing on a certain task and don’t want your attention to waver too much. 
  • I check my OmniFocus Dashboard to confirm I’m still on task for the day. If it looks like I’m ahead of the game, I’ll flag some more tasks to complete, or perhaps see if I can schedule some Me time as a thank you! Quite often I may need to reschedule some tasks for the next day - I”m human after all, not a super-hero
  • I journal. 

Yes, the last one is new. That is, I’ve journaled for a while now, however I used to find it hard for the habit to stick. I’ve found that there is a real benefit to journaling, in both long form and short form. 

Short-form journaling is where I will simply write down a few lines about something I’ve done, for tracking, or perhaps something funny my kids have done during the day (happens more often than you’d believe!). I like to journal about the food I’ve eaten at restaurants, films I’ve seen, books I’ve read, things I’ve learned - even quotes I’ve picked up from people as I read. Using an online journal, such as Day One makes these searchable when needed. 

Long-form journaling is where the crux of my Boss Mode thinking comes. I review the day so far and write down any pain points I’ve had. Not just that, I write about things that have gone well and how I can build upon them for the future. I find the practice of long-form journaling helps my brain to organise itself and tell me how it really feels! I know that sounds strange and abstract, however I can be as guilty as anyone of finding myself rushing around from one project to the next, trying to please everyone and do the best job possible. All the time, my brain is saying to me “Look Lee, calm down - are you sure this is the right thing to do?”. My journal is where I get the chance to sit down with my brain and let it talk to me, to write/type whatever I”m feeling at the time. 

Now that I journal as part of my Boss Mode thinking sessions, it’s a habit that has stuck and I definitely feel the benefit from it. I strongly recommend it to any of you.