I’ve used a rotary phone and when I really need to remember things, I have to write them down. I tell you these things so you know that behind this technology-using, social-media loving person beats an analog heart.
The Bullet Journal has been given a lot of media coverage lately from The Wall Street Journal and Real Simple to Lifehacker.com. The creator, Ryder Carroll, has a website with videos and instructions on how to set up your bullet journal. The articles intrigued me, so after watching the videos and reading the instructions, I was excited to give it a try.
For me, there were way too many pictures of bullet journal pages that were elegant and artistic. Since I am neither of those things, my bullet journal is strictly a functional tool and pretty representative of my constantly-changing schedule (more on that later). I did try to make a concession by getting a cute notebook. Meh.
If you decide you want to do the bullet journal, please understand that you do not have to be artsy. However, if that makes happy, then go for it! You also do not have to buy a fancy notebook, but I did find that notebooks with hard covers worked best for me.
Then you open the notebook and …
Yeah. It’s a mess of different ink colors, lots of changes, lines crossed out, and a mix of work and personal entries.
But I LOVE the bullet journal. I used it for the things recommended in the videos and instructions and then added a bunch of my own ideas. Here’s a quick run-down, but if you want to give this try, I suggest you check out the video.
The first four pages of the book where you label what the following pages contain and their page numbers. (see above)
The next two pages of the book that lists future months beyond what you are currently scheduling. (I split each page in half and noted the four months after the month I was working on)
The next two pages where you map out the general things you want to accomplish, but not necessarily on a specific date, AS WELL AS events that occur on specific days.
The next two pages that give a week at a glance (I did not use this)
Split each page into half (or I did thirds like the picture below) and mark your specific items with one or more of these notations
- Tasks – Information * Priority
o Events ! Inspiration > Migrated task X Completed
In my opinion, the daily log is where it’s at. Note all the things you want to accomplish on that day, like this. Mark your tasks, events, and information. Anything not completed on that day is migrated to the next day. And the next day. And the next day. That’s the point. If you migrate a task so many times, you eventually ask yourself if it’s all that important in the first place. Sometimes migrating a task incites a bit of guilt, and that’s why you complete it. Whatever works, right?
For me, just the act of writing things down helped me focus and gave me some perspective on how I was spending my time. I noted down everything from small tasks like returning something to the store to big things like a conference I attended.
Here are the things I added:
I keep a monthly budget of bills and income, so I just started tracking it in the journal.
A snapshot of the projects I have going, the people I need to follow up with, and topics/businesses I need to explore further.
Future topics to write about on the blog.
I’m writing a book, and this is where I keep all the random things I think about to add.
I also keep notes I’ve taken from the books I read. See the Index above where I took several pages of notes on the book The Art of Social Media.
A new notation I added was Hold with a squiggly line. To me, it was for things that had been on a long term hold, but not put off indefinitely.
Basically, focus is what I got from this exercise. I’ve seen where there are instructions for doing a bullet journal in an electronic format, but I disagree with this approach. I use Trello as a project management tool for overall projects, but this is for the minutiae, the details, and the accountability. If you have to write something over and over again, you will either get it done or recognize it as unnecessary to your success. Things are less abstract to me when I write them down, while I can sometimes feel that technology is abstract (in the way that I understand and retain the information.)
Check out the links or give me a call, but I highly suggest trying this method and seeing if it works for you. I’ve already bought my next notebook, and the cover reads “Trust Your Crazy Ideas.” Indeed.