A failure of a day

That’s how it can feel. The end of the day has arrived but a chunk of tasks that needed to get done got missed. I needed to go to the bank, but now it’s closed. I needed to respond to my supervisor with dates for that meeting by 4pm. I needed to get supplies for a recipe from the grocery store by dusk and it’s 8 PM!

Some days are meant for laziness and a complete lack of productivity, but when we have a list with “!!!!” next to every task, a plan helps. My plan typically looks like this:

bullet journal productivity eliminate clutter
Picture this x 10! It was chaos.

Sticky Notes with lists for various aspects of my life are stuck to random surfaces. To make it worse, since I didn’t accomplish everything today, I need to keep these pesky sticky notes around until I can cross items off and throw the notes out.

This journal will save the day

I think the Bullet Journal method could be for anyone. Before I tell you why I was drawn to it, you should know that its winning features are adaptability and flexibility. You use what works and ignore what gets in the way. However, for full disclosure, be warned that:

  • You will need to stick with this method for more than a few days to really see its potential.
  • You probably can’t hate the idea of making a list.
  • You have to accept imperfection (in your journal and your life). This could work for a pure perfectionist, but it would add to the challenge.

It was love at first sight

I could sense the budding love affair with the bullet journal from the moment my coworker, Stephanie, told me about it. She told me about a table of contents in the beginning, and I was quite intrigued because I actually index my personal journals to make content easy to find later! Then she pulled up this video that inspired and ultimately, seduced me into the Bullet Journaling cult.

Kara from Boho Berry makes the Bullet Journal look so easy, fun, and productive.

I wanted to start one right away. Here’s why:
  • I have lots of lists in lots of journals. Not to mention the Sticky Note problem. I like that the BuJo has flexibility for all my ideas, my lists and my plans.
  • BuJo is a simple framework that you can use in ANY journal. That means it’s easy to just start!
  • This system changes with you and works for you. There are endless adaptations and ways to make it more efficient or complex.
  • It’s intentionally not digital or electronic. The creator, Ryder Carroll explains that by writing it all on paper, we focus on what’s really important and what might be excess.

For a great, simple explanation of what sets apart a bullet journal from any other planning system, visit the bullet journal website.

For what sets apart my bullet journal from any other, keep reading!

My Bullet Journal, in it’s imperfect glory

BuJo Mar Habits

This is my favorite part of the bullet journal, although it’s not even part of the original Bullet Journal format. I have a whole post dedicated to why I love the monthly habit tracker so much coming soon!

bullet journal productivity tool
March Monthly Spread

The Monthly Spread is supposed to be at-a-glance peek into the month ahead. It’s not a good place to put all of your scheduled events, but it’s great for keeping track of birthday, holidays and other special days. In previous months I used it to log when I posted on the blog, but now I use separate planning sheets for that. At the bottom I have check boxes for things I’d like to get done that aren’t time sensitive.

Left Side: Daily Blogging Checklist Right Side: A Daily Spread, fancy name for the day’s to-do list!

The checklist on the left is a great example of how the Bullet Journal can be anything you want. I have this checklist here just as a reference so I remember all the different ways I’m aiming to interact with the blogging community.

The right side is the meat of the BuJo. For many, this is an important part of this system. It’s just a to-do list that uses symbols for different notes. Monday’s list was pretty long; I likely had the day off from work. A box is a task. A circle is an event. A dash is a note. I fill in completed items. You can see with the newsletter, I half filled it in. I started, but didn’t finish. You can also see the first few entries have little arrows drawn in the boxes. This mark shows that I didn’t complete the task.

This is where the magic of the BuJo comes in. If I have incomplete tasks at the end of the day, I reevaluate how important they are and the likelihood they’ll actually get done the next day. If I draw a forward arrow, it means I’ve schedule it for tomorrow. If I draw a backwards arrow, it means I’ve made in note in my monthly calendar to do it at some other date.

After re-writing something for several days on end, you can ask yourself why you keep writing it, yet don’t do it. You can decide it’s not important anymore and forget it. Or you can keep writing it.

bullet journal book list productivity tool
Sometimes after a month, I forgot which books I’ve already finished! I like keeping track.

This is a glimpse into my journal. I really love using it and love watching it evolve to meet my needs. It also showcases over time my increase in productivity and how I’m meeting my goals.

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