The Alastair Method

What is the Alastair Method?

The Alastair Method was created by Alastair Johnston and is a popular form of bullet journaling. When time is short, the method can show you how to spread your workload across a given period.

The Alastair Method is mostly used for monthly workload planning, but it can also be used for weekly and yearly planning. The core concept is to create a list of tasks or events that you can attribute to every week, month or year. You can put the tasks in any order that you like. There is no defined chronology. Your aim should be to complete the tasks in the given timeframe.

You can think of the Alastair Method as a modern take on bullet journaling. For thousands of organized individuals across the world, it has now become a mainstay through conventional paper planning and computer reporting.

Do you like to keep to-do lists or a bullet journal?

We all go through days when we have a million things to do. Sadly, the human mind is not the most efficient memory tool. It is quite easy to get overwhelmed or even lose track of some of the important things you must do. That is where a to-do list comes in super handy. When you have a written list, it helps you remember when things have to be done so that you don’t miss out on anything.

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How to do the Alastair Method…

The Alastair Method will vary slightly depending on the time frame that you are working with. So, if you are doing weekly planning, it will vary from your monthly or yearly planning. However, the basic principle remains the same, regardless of the timeframe you are working with.

Here’s how your Alastair Method layout would look:

Create columns

If you are planning for the week, you will have to start by making a seven-square column on your layout. For monthly planning, you will have to make the layout accordingly, depending on the number of days in that particular month.

In this article, we will discuss the weekly layout. So, each of the seven squares on your layout corresponds to the days of the week. You could write M T W T F S S, that is, the initials of the day in each square. Some people also like to put in numbers, such as 1 for Monday, 2 for Tuesday, and so on.

Add a header

At the top of your layout, you may want to add what week you are on. You could also include the month if you want. Although it is not a mandatory step, it can help you stay a little more organized. Plus, it makes your layout look a bit fancy.

Write your to-do list

Next to the column that you have already made, write down your to-do list. It is quite straightforward. All you must do is write down everything that you need to do in the week.

Do you have tasks that you do multiple times a week? If you do, ensure that you only write them down once.

Do you have appointments or places to go in the week? Write them down too.

If you need to keep track of any habits, you can include that as well in your to-do list.

What if you are unable to complete a task this week? In such cases, you can migrate the task to the next week.

Plan your schedule

Now that you have written down your to-do list for the week, you need to schedule the days that you want to complete them. Pick a symbol you like for tasks that have been completed and one for tasks that are incomplete. For instance, you could use a cross for tasks that you have completed and a dot or a small circle for the ones you have not started yet.

For habits, pick out another symbol, say a star. If you are working on getting fitter, you could add a star to each day that you work out.

In case you are working on a task several times a week, you could put a dot next to multiple days on your layout. If you have a task that you could complete any day of the week, you need not put a symbol next to it.

The layout of the Alastair Method is such that it allows you to see at a glance the tasks that you have completed for the week. Are you working on a large task? You may not be able to accomplish a large task in a single day. However, if you have worked on the task, you could still go ahead and mark a cross on that day. It denotes that you are making progress and will keep you motivated to complete the task.

Do you want to see more clearly what you have to complete each day? Use some colors. You can always color code the columns and individual tasks that you only do on specific days of the week.

What are the benefits of the Alastair Method?

The Alastair Method is loved by many because it is a simple tool to enhance your productivity.

A few of the benefits of using this method include:

  • It is very simple and easy. You can organize your entire week, month, or year on a single page.
  • The Alastair Method helps you see your entire schedule on a single page at a glance. Therefore, you can easily figure out what tasks have been completed and the tasks that you still need to work on.
  • Thanks to its simplicity, it can easily be understood by anyone. Your team members of your family members can easily follow the schedule, helping you collaborate better.
  • It is free. You do not need to buy special items or download any app to follow this method. If you have a journal and a pen, you are set.
  • The Alastair Method is highly versatile and can be adapted according to your unique requirements.

The Alastair Method can help you plan your schedule better without the risk of overlooking important tasks. Even with the best planning, there are days when you are unable to complete tasks that you had planned for. Don’t worry. With the Alastair method, all you must do is move the corresponding dot over and complete it the next day.