I mentioned yesterday that I started a bullet journal and I thought I’d share some of it today since I actually followed through and used it. What’s a Bullet Journal? The short answer, without popping out to http://bulletjournal.com/ is that it’s a handwritten planner system that you can use in any notebook. Most people use small(ish) notebooks that they can carry with them, but I have a thing for Clairefontaine french-ruled paper and used the last of a 5 pack of cloth-bound 96 page A4 notebooks for my bullet journal. (I used the others for journals & to track workouts.)
There are 3 (or 4) views of time in a bullet journal: annual and beyond in the Future Log, monthly in the month spread, (optional) weekly spread, and daily pages. The idea is that you record everything for future months in the future log, which is organized by month. Then at the end of each month, you create a new month spread, organized by date and day, and record everything from the future log for the following month. Every morning, you’re supposed to check the month log for activities and goals/tasks for that day and record them in the daily pages entry along with anything that wasn’t done (but was on the list for) the day before. I also used daily pages to record other accomplishments of note.
I had other spreads for tracking things, like a daily habit tracker (basically an adult sticker chart) to keep me accountable for things like drinking enough water, exercise, reading books, etc. I also created an elaborate system for tracking household chores and cleaning that quickly fell by the wayside (along with the actual cleaning).
Also, there’s a whole symbol system for listing items in the journal no matter what the time view/spread is: an open square for tasks, an open triangle for appointments, and a few others that I haven’t been using. When I finish something, I color in the square or triangle. When I partially finish something, I color in half. When I blow something off, I cross it out in one day and write it again in the next day’s entry.
The problem is that I started to write the same things over and over and instead of this motivating me to stop procrastinating, I just made myself feel worse for not doing the things. By mid-May I’d stopped using even the daily pages. Keeping up with the journal became too overwhelming; I was putting too much pressure on myself to get a large number of things done each day and beating myself up for procrastinating. I’m an overachiever with some things – all in or all out, go big or go home – and am working on being more steady with my efforts.
So in that vein, getting the bullet journal to work for me in a positive way again, I’m trying weekly spreads instead of daily pages. I like being able to look at a whole week all at once and that’s the time frame that I like to look at for setting and accomplishing goals – daily is too often and monthly is a little too broad.