If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know about my obsession with lists and goals. I’ve used many different planners over the years: everything from a blank notebook that I stamped the date in for each day, to the planners I designed myself, to attempting to go completely digital, using Evernote on my phone and more traditional store-bought planners. Every system had benefits that I loved and things I didn’t like at all.
I think I’ve finally found the perfect system for me. The Bullet Journal. I’ve seen this everywhere lately, and after debating about trying it for months, I finally gave it a shot. Friends, let me tell you, this is amazing. I love how simple and effective the system is. You can implement as much or as little as you want. There are some amazingly beautiful bullet journals out there. And while I love, love, love to look at the intricate and detailed pages people make, I like to keep mine much more simple. I don’t have a lot of time to devote to making it gorgeous and I’d rather spend time crossing items off my list than decorating the list. 🙂
Here are some of the pages I adore so far:
Year-At-A-Glance. I glued in small calendars for each of the months this year, so I can have quick reference for dates. I also added family birthdays and important upcoming dates to this list. Even though I don’t keep my calendar in my bullet journal (I use google calendar on my phone and a physical family calendar on the fridge for appointments, etc.) this is really helpful to have.
Monthly Tracker. Rather than rewriting exercise, scripture study, and other tasks I want to do every single day, I’ve used a monthly tracker page for those tasks. I love being able to see the boxes all checked off. It’s such an inspiring way to keep the chain going. (The black line in the photo above is a private goal that I didn’t want to make public).
Weekly To-Do Spread.
I use a GTD type list on one side with the following categories: Home, Computer, Phone, Errands, Service/Relationships and Dinners. As I’m planning my week each Sunday, I add tasks into their respective categories. My brain does well with this type of categorization and I feel less likely to forget tasks when I break them down this way. As I think of things during the week I add them in.
Each night before I go to bed I write a list of the things I want to accomplish the next day. Often these tasks come from my weekly planning page or another list (monthly cleaning, project ideas, long-term to-dos) in the journal somewhere. Having them all in one place makes it easier for me to see what needs to be done and to judge whether I’ve listed a realistic amount of work for one day.
I also add in the work/blog/etsy shop tasks I want to accomplish into my weekly work spread (above).
I have pretty consistent hours that I am able to devote to working, but often when I sit down to work I am so overwhelmed by everything I need to do that I have a hard time choosing what to work on. This spread has helped me to overcome that issue. I plan out my tasks for just Monday- Friday. I draw a grid for each day, with three work slots labeled Morning, Afternoon and Evening. I plug in the projects I want to work on during the specific times ahead of time and know just what to jump into when I have the time. I often work a few hours on Saturday as well, but I like to keep that open so I can finish up projects that were not completed during the week. I usually plan just for the next day, the evening before, rather than doing the whole week at once. I am very “Time Optimistic” and think I can accomplish much more in a given amount of time than I actually can. So planning one day’s work at a time, in the scope of what I want to accomplish that week, helps me to be more realistic.
Monthly Meal Plan.
I use just one page for the meal plan for our whole month. We generally have the same kinds of foods each week during a particular season. So, in winter, we’ll have soup, pasta, and Mexican food once a week each. We have our traditional pizza night every Friday and a pretty traditional Sunday dinner. This simple method allows me to plug in lists of recipes we love into our busy weeknight schedule.
One the facing page, I write down the reference for the recipe in case I need to look it up later.
Some other pages I love and use often:
Project Life page: I got a little behind with our memory keeping last year and I’m working on catching up over the next few weeks. I like to have this checklist to remind me what pages still need to be done (I do one spread for each of my kids each month and usually 2 spreads for our family book).
A monthly list of cleaning that needs to be done. This month I’m working on my Clear the Clutter challenge (follow along on Instagram), and it’s been amazing so far.
The majority of my pages are devoted to daily task lists, but I do have a lot of ideas pages for keeping track of the insane amount of ideas that spew out of my brain each day.
Blogging Editorial Calendar
Behind the scenes to-do
Plans for Art Classes I’m teaching
Quotes to letter for my Year of Hand Lettering Challenge
Kids Say the Darndest Things: A place to keep track of the hilarious things our kids say so we don’t loose them forever.