A Beginner’s Guide To The Alastair Method

productivity tips - the alastair method

Future planning, organizing your workload, setting a to-do list. Whatever you want to call it, scheduling and managing your assignments in a concise, convenient, and calculated manner is one of the most important steps to achieving maximum productivity in business or personal endeavors. The Alastair Method is a strategy that can revolutionize your approach forever!

Heard about The Alastair Method bullet journal but feel a little confused on what it can do for your life or how to implement it? This guide for beginners will reveal all.

What is the Alastair Method?

The Alastair Method is the brainchild of Alastair Johnson. It is a form of future planning that works on the principles of bullet journaling but focuses heavily on presentation to deliver excellent results in business and more. It is designed to support anyone who wants an uncomplicated but equally unambiguous solution.

While it is primarily used for monthly future planning, the model can be adapted to suit yearly or weekly spreads. The basic concept is to create a list of events that are attributed to each week/month/year. There is no chronology to what order each task should be completed. Instead, they simply have to be finished within the designated time frame.

It is essentially a modernization of traditional bullet journaling. And it has become a mainstay for thousands of organized individuals through both traditional paper future planning and computerized reporting.

Why the Alastair Method works well

The Alastair Method is a simple yet sophisticated productivity tool that is loved by its users for many reasons. Some of the most compelling benefits include;

  • It is incredibly easy and can keep a whole week/month/year’s event list on one page,

  • You can quickly see what has been done and still needs to be done.

  • The simple presentation can be understood by team/family members for collaboration.

  • The process is virtually free – you just need a pen and bullet journal.

  • It is a highly versatile model that can be easily adapted to your requirements.

Ultimately, then, the Alastair Method is a productivity tool that will help you manage future planning in the fastest fashion while it also removes the threat of overlooking tasks or unnecessarily delaying them. Finally, if you do miss a task, you simply move the corresponding dot over.

In short: it helps you get things done.



How to do the Alastair Method

The Alastair Method of task planning will vary slightly given the time frames you are working with, as well as whether it’s for business or home-based assignments. Nonetheless, the basic principles remain the same.

Step one is to list the columns across the top of the page. If doing a weekly tracker, this means writing each day of the week for seven columns. For a yearly tracker, you’d do each month for 12 columns. 

Then you simply list the tasks that need to be completed, otherwise known as the to-do list, down the right-hand side. The list does not have to be in order, and not each task is needed for each column. 

In turn, you will be left with a grid of spaces and dots. On a week’s future planner with five tasks, you’d have 35 spaces (7 days x 5 tasks) that may have a total of 12 dots. Of course, this number can vary greatly depending on the purpose of the bullet journal and time frames.

the alastair method

A dot signals that a project or task is due to be completed on that day. Some bigger tasks may be spread out over several days. For example, cleaning the attic may need three dots over the course of the week.

Following the progress of the task is easy. While there are variants, the Alastair Method tends to use the following;

  • Dot ( . ) signals that the task is due to be done on that day.

  • A Single stroke ( / ) signals the work is in progress. A dot will be seen later on.

  • A Crossed dot ( X ) signals that the task is done.

  • A Less Than sign ( < ) signals the assignment is rescheduled.

  • A More Than sign ( > ) signals the assignment has migrated to the next week/month.

For the best results, it’s advised to start with a simple to-do list. After you’ve completed 2-3 future planners, using the Alastair Method dot journal will become easy.



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