Bullet Journalling (or at least my version of it!)

When I showed my extended to do task list in my Filofax: Your Perfect Layout post. I got some good comments about my extended to do section. So today is more an in-depth look at that to do section.
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From the above photo you can tell that they are two different pieces of paper. The one of the left is my own creation, the one on the right is just a sheet of filofax graph paper. I began with trialling this system as I started with a week on two pages but they didn’t quite like it – I found that there wasn’t always enough space to do my to do notes and sometimes I was waiting for my appointments to be confirmed before I could stamp in some to do squares and inevitably I probably forgot one or two to dos along the way. The system just wasn’t working for me. I am not someone who has a lot of appointments – maybe one a day. I don’t over schedule myself each day and prefer to spend half a day researching and then doing something else. So I needed a smaller daily section and a longer extended to do list.

So I began experimenting with bullet journalling. For those unfamiliar with bullet journalling…you basically start by having a blank (often moleskin book) and rapid log appointments to dos etc. You can code these with different symbols and eventually you can create collections. For a more detailed explanation watch this video:

Now there was a downside to the original bullet journal with the fact there was no opportunity to future plan events – it was very much a in the moment planner. However the 2015 version, as you can see above now has a future log – which means it better. I really like having my weekly and monthly inserts and I think they work well for me…so I decided to pick and choose the elements of a bullet journal which work for me.
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I developed my own code which I printed and punched and then changed so this photo is now outdated…but I’ll explain the basics.

I follow the standard bullet journal with the following keys:

· Task (centre dot)

O Event

Δ Appointment

> Indicates the event has been migrated to next week (generally used for a task I didn’t complete)

< Indicates the task has been scheduled for a specific week (I normally just use the above one even if I decide to put it on a different week – I should use this one though).

X is used to mark any task, events or appointments that have been completed. I use to colour in the circles and the triangles – but I’m not a big fan on that so I think I will use the X.

My bullet journal is a to do list…so when I cross off an event or an appointment it means I have called, created and scheduled it and put it in my monthly calender. It doesn’t mean I’ve attended the event. It just means I don’t have to do anything else to it.

The next part of my key was originally:

Notes

! Important

* Inspiration

? Explore

F Film

B Book

M Meetup

P (Blog) Post

Quote

W Write (a letter…I do snail mail :))

E Email

S Skype

C Call

H Homework (this is not on the green list!)

I use to put the code in the square where the task assignment is – however I found that when I crossed it out it got a bit messy, and if I was exploring something and decided to they make it an appointment – I couldn’t easily change the question mark into a circle. It just got too messy. So I have since updated it. Now all of the above (with the section of notes) get a task dot. Then have the subject of one of the following, so it will look like:

· E: Mum, questions.

So this would indicate that I need to email my mum about questions for a quiz she is organising. So later, if I want to change this into a plan to meet her – I can change it to a circle. Then when I’ve scheduled it I can cross it off my to do list.

I find this system much easier for rapid logging – sometimes I just find it too much effort to get through my notes section to find my blog ideas and decide which one I am going to write about – I like to pick five for the week (I only post Monday-Friday) and then put them on my to do list and cross them off as I write them. At the moment I tend to write a week in advance so I have the week ahead prepared before I start the week. This only changes if I see a film at the cinema, I will then delay other posts to give the cinema ones a higher priority (so if people read my blog and are swayed to watch it it’s still in cinemas for them to do so).

I am not really using this system to it’s full potential at the moment I’ve been doing it for about seven weeks and I am still working out the kinks and trying to get it to work for me. Another thing that appears on my bullet journal page which is not part of the original bullet journal is the daily task tracker. I think that this is something that is a great addition to the bullet journal.

If there is something I need to do daily that I don’t want to rapid log everyday then I just put it in the top section and set up a MTWTFSS section so I can tick off the days (apart from when I monitor how many glasses of coca-cola I drink…I’m trying to cut down – it’s not working).
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So I am pretty pleased with this system. So much so in fact that I’ve made it permanent and printed my own bullet journal inserts. I have the bullet journal on the left of each week (with the filofax graph paper it would alternate) and the week to view on the right. This is a great setup for a left handed person – as generally my week to view is the least used section. I take it out on the Sunday before the week begins. Write in all my appointments, stamp the weather. Then the only thing I really add is my main meal and colour in my water. So my most written section is on the left to avoid writing on the rings or having to take my page out every time I want to add something.

I am quite pleased with my system. I think it’s a great way to keep myself organised and combined the best elements of the bullet journal with the ability to forward plan with a ringed system that allows you to move pages.
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