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).
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.