So… as you may have noticed, I tend to work in bursts rather than try to force myself through a long stretch of time working on multiple articles. I also use my emotive energy to help drive myself to type it out. Once the energy is gone, I leave it for a while, until I have the calm and collected side of me decide “I think I can make this work… kinda.” And so, off I type…
Which got me thinking: what can improve my productivity?
It’s funny how I thought of this while talking to a friend who was making a bullet journal. Explaining the concept to me, she kinda couldn’t put her thoughts to words clearly (mainly because it was some time approaching midnight), so she sent me a link to an article she was referencing at the time: WTF Is A Bullet Journal and Why Should You Start One? – An Explanation.
Curious as a person born in the Year of the Tiger can be, I looked into it, and found that it doesn’t seem like a bad system if you’re all about efficiency and being organised. Using short quick notes – and a bullet point system to organise everything – allows you to be very quick with jotting down things to do, events to plan for, or just to recap on the day that’s gone by. You can also spice it up with artistic patterns, colourful stationery, and inventive and more intuitive designs, if you’re willing to put the effort.
Side note: if you think that making your journal visually attractive is a girl’s things to do, then maybe take a look at this guy. He will show you his layout of his bullet journal in a nice aesthetic way. He states numerous times that the artistic components are all copied off the Internet, so snoop around and use some tracing/baking paper.
Below is a little introduction video on how to set up a bullet journal by the person who created the idea. (Yes, I actually bothered to track down the original site, and NO, this is NOT sponsored. I just thought this was a cool thing to write about and share.) You can find out more for yourself – from the specifics of the journal, to buying a blank notebook created specifically for bullet journalism – with this link: http://bulletjournal.com/
There isn’t really a ONE TRUE LAYOUT for the bullet journal; you can make it as artistic and sophisticated, or as bare-bones simple as you like. But as stated in the article linked here, the main things to put in your journal are an index, a rapid logging key/legend, a daily log, monthly log, and future/yearly log, and collection logs. These are known as modules of the bullet journal. It’s a fair bit to take in, so let’s go through this one by one.
I’m assuming if you’ve read up to here, you’re interested in doing one yourself. Brace yourself for a damn lengthy explanation.
An index is basically a contents page, and it should appear at the front of your journal. Taking up one or two pages, it should direct you to everything in the journal using page numbers, so you can reliably find information you need to track down later on. I suggest filling it in slowly, making sure you create a draft of it before you put a pen to journal paper. Think about the order you want to see your stuff in, as well as the number of pages in your journal.
A good order I’ve seen is start with the yearly log, then a monthly log, then daily logs for the month, then the next monthly log, and then rinse and repeat until you’ve gone through enough months. You can add things like collection logs, gratitude logs per month, and other miscellaneous things towards the end of the journal, or spread out throughout when needed.
Quick side note: you should probably use a journal of appropriate size and quality to your needs.
If you carry around a hefty tome of a journal, it’s highly inefficient for you to flick through it, since the entire point of the journal is to be short and simple. So keep it compact with the number of pages, and always keep a nice fine line pen at hand to help keep your writing legible.
If you carry around a journal with a flimsy cover, then it’s prone to tarnishing through general carrying. So I’d suggest investing in a hard cover journal, or maybe wrapping the cover with that adhesive book cover stuff you’d use on school children books. I feel that it’s well-worth the effort in life-proofing it a bit, if you have the extra few dollars (whatever currency value required) to spare.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a suitable journal, and you just wanna get into the nitty-gritty straight away, the option is there to buy a journal – designed by the creator of the system himself – for your bullet journalism needs. The link is https://store.bulletjournal.com/. THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED BLOG POST!
Your rapid logging key/legend is what all your different bullet (or dot) points represent. Each symbol represents something different, and you can choose whichever points suits your style. Each will represent either tasks, events, migrated, and scheduled, or notes. You can also have signifiers which allow you to prioritise, explore, or be inspired by a certain event or note. A signifier is usually a symbol placed beside bullet points. Personally, just using different colours to border or writing out the important ones makes it much more visually pleasing for me. However, that forces me to use a multi-colour pen every time I need to write something important, like a deadline for a uni assignment, or sending documentation. So keep that in mind if you want follow my strategy.
Next up is the yearly/future log. This is where you plan out all the important events of the year, as well as the deadlines of things you’d like to do in a particular month. No need for dates or anything like that, just the very brief description of the task/event. This is useful for those exam periods that span a few weeks, or maybe an event that spans more than a week… you know, BIG events. This should take up to four pages, evenly spacing out each page into three segments parallel to the short side of the page.
Now we head to the monthly log. This is where all the important events and tasks for the month are arranged, so that you know which day in the month something is due or going to occur. Try to make each day have one or two lines; more if you really need to. For an introvert like me, I don’t really need more than one line.
Now, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind lists, as long as they’re sufficiently spaced or coloured to help me distinguish different days and various ranks of importance. But I’ve seen some people, who use the pre-designed journal (available at the aforementioned online store), utilise the dotted pages to create a colour-coded calendars for each month, with a legend to indicate each colour. Take a look at some YouTube videos for inspiration in layout designs.
We transition to the daily log. This is basically the diary portion of the journal, but brevity is key here. Making super short sentences with only key words, maybe with abbreviations for improved space utility. This is where the key/legend comes into play. Use those different bullet points here to keep track of things to do, events that happened, things that will be scheduled or that have migrated to somewhere else. Also use those signifiers here too – or if you’re gonna follow my path: coloured words or borders. Short and sweet… remember that.
And finally, collection logs. Now, these are specific lists of things to do, events to prepare for during the year… whatever seems important to you, and,or does not neatly slot into a time frame… slot them in. You don’t really need to make these logs until absolutely necessary, in my opinion. Make sure you write out the page number of those collections into the index. I’ve yet to decide for what I’d write a collection log, but I’m sure there will be one for organising my assignments, my x-ray examinations to complete, et cetera.
And…we’re done. That’s all the modules that are recommended in your bullet journal. If you want a quick reference guide, of course, here’s the link to it. english-bullet-journal-reference-guide
Now if that’s enough to tickle your fancy, try out a bullet journal for yourself. I’m gonna be trying to deal with my blog and uni life with this thing, and hopefully I can be a bit more productive with this. I hope you find success using this thing. If not, don’t worry. I’m sure there are other ways of organising your life that are more effective for you than me.
Thanks for read, my dude! *ahem* Thank you for reading, dear reader.
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And as always, DFTBA!