How I use my Bullet Journal for Productivity

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August Monthly Overview

Thank you for coming by to visit my blog! This is meant to be a companion to my Instagram, as lots of people have asked me "How do you use your journal?" I am hoping this helps you with articles, tips and tricks, videos, and other things. Lets see how I go, and I hope you find it helpful.

I'm going to introduce you a bit to my bullet journal. I am a relatively new user, finding out about it via some Pinterest pins, and Youtube auto-play videos. I was at first a bit taken aback with all of the drawings and creativity - I thought it was a DIY planner. And then, I stumbled across the original video, and realised I could adapt it to my needs. I started my Bujo for two reasons: To get myself organised, and to draw again. I'm an Architect and designer in my day job, but you'd be surprised - as most of the time the things I draw, aren't fun, they're just... work. I wanted something I could have as a creative outlet, and also help manage my tasks, from my hundreds of Google Keep lists, and calendar apps.

I can very easily say that I am guilty of decorating my journal – I am in fact, quite proud of it.

I still think that regardless of the art that I create in my journal, at it’s core, it is a bullet journal, and it is what I use to manage my time and organization. I think I just want to explain a bit how I use an “Artsy” bullet journal to get organized. The doodles really are secondary for what I use it for, but also provide me with a lot of joy. I have had multitudes of planners and notebooks, but this is the first system I can say really works for what I need it to do, and I have imported a few habits that I have had previously into this new system.

I work as an Architect, and manage my own design studio. I look after a number of staff, projects, etc that I am legally responsible for, and I am not embarrassed to bring out my journal with my little doodles all over it to a meeting for a multi-million dollar client. I started bullet journaling in July, after watching Ryder’s video, as well as seeing some others and really enjoying the creativity of it. One of the major factors was that after I started working, I stopped drawing for fun, which my bullet journal allows me to do a lot – or even forcing me to do, by sitting down and drawing my weekly. I feel like a lot of professionals don't post their journals, because of the amount of confidential information. I get around this by having a lot of photoshop pixelation squares when I post!

The structure of my bullet journal goes like this > Monthly Overview (I am finding the list style that Ryder first championed being the most useful for me), with a mood tracker, and a running list of project items that need to be done over the month.

After that, I have an expenses tracker, which I log taxable items (I then stuff the receipt in the back pocket of my LT, and then transfer them into a binder at the end of the month), and a ideas page – whether that be for work, etc. I find that I run out of this page pretty quickly, and then just start a new one wherever I am in my notebook at the time.

I go into weeklies then – I know that weeklies are not a normal staple of the bullet journal – but I actually came across the idea in the original Bullet Journal Instagram. It gives me a quick overview of what tasks need to be completed that week, and by when (and normally this is too detailed to fit into my monthly list).

 Some days, I require a daily as I work on specific projects. Those days I just list what tasks need to be done to complete that element of the project, or what elements need to go into a presentation and mark them off as I finish.

My preference with the weeklies most of the time is the vertical column-layout, which gives me a really good overview. Sometimes I go horizontal, when I don’t have any major project deadlines in.

Every single phone call, project item, reminder is put in my journal either as a note or to-do, and I use the original Ryder method of bullets. This has been absolutely wonderful for timesheets, recalling an important phone call and what was discussed, as well as making me not forget anything. My previous organization style with a fixed planner + a secondary notebook had me miss things every now and again, and as I get older, my brain has become like a sieve. On average, I log 100-150 bullets per week. My journal sits on my desk all day. A weekly takes me 15-20 minutes to set up, the monthly spreads about 1.5 hours. I can get rid of what I don’t need, and then keep changing it up to suit as I learn. My “Everyday carry” includes my LT journal, one 0.1 pigma micron black fineliner, a clutch pencil, and whatever colour tombow is my feature colour that week/month, and an eraser.

I hope this helps a bit for people to see how they can use their bullet journal. You can of course, get rid of the art completely, and it works just as well! Whatever gets you motivated to be organized, is worth it. My husband uses his bullet journal much the same way as me, sans the doodles. I have now converted my whole office to a bullet-journal style of organization, where every week we set out tasks and sub-tasks on a giant whiteboard.

For fun, here is my July flipthrough.