I’ve made it a personal interest to find better ways to do things, and I’m constantly experimenting with various tools and methods to help me organize my time and to stay on top of my projects and my life and such.

I’m pretty much a whore for productivity, okay. Fight me.

One of the tools that really stood out to me (and managed to worm its way into my daily life) is Ryder Carroll’s bullet journaling system.

I fell in love with its simplicity and its emphasis on rapid logging (which allows its users to quickly capture and parse data)–perfect for the average person who has a lot on their plate and needs a quick and efficient way to remember things.

Why I Can’t Do Mainstream Studyblr

Most of the journals I’ve seen in the studyblr community are kawaii as hell, complete with a rainbow of Sharpie/Staedtler/Stabilo/Muji/Pilot fineliners, washi tapes, pastel-colored highlighters, and sticky notes of various shapes and sizes.

Inspired by this creativity, I tested it out myself, foolishly thinking that the ‘kawaii pages’ will be enough to motivate me. Long story short, the experiment ended a failure. Why? I realized that I put more time making my planner cute than getting actual productive work done. (I like art, okay? If I treat something as art, you can bet your entire hoo-ha that I’ll put time and effort into it.) 

It completely defeated the purpose for me, so I quit it with the kawaii schtick and moved on.

Note: I am not admonishing people who use this system, especially if it’s something that works for them. If you’re like me and aforementioned system doesn’t do it for you, maybe you can pick up some inspiration from this post.

I cannot completely forego aesthetics, though. Perhaps it’s my shameless vanity as an artist, but I am dead set on making sure my journal is simultaneously visually hella whilst being completely practical.

Hence, I went for the minimalist route, because there’s a certain thing about neatness and simplicity that makes stuff something special. I’ve talked about my brand of minimalism in this post if you’re interested. Essentially, I’ve pared down all of my tools and accessories to the meaningful things I actually need and use on a daily basis.

Here’s how I go about it.

One Notebook to Rule them All

Just one, so that every single note or task list or idea I should never for get is in one damn place–one that I check often–so ‘forgetting where I put it’ or ‘losing it in the void’ is no longer a valid excuse. No tedious/fancy organizational thing going on here, soldier.

To be honest, any notebook will do the job, but I’m as picky with notebooks as I am with sketchbooks and nothing quite fit my needs and tastes better than a hardcover pocket Moleskine with squared pages. (My local bookstore didn’t carry a LEUCHTTURM1917 with the same specs. Boo. D:)

I got this specific notebook for the following reasons:

  • Simple hardcovers are super sexy and sleek. 
  • Squared pages give me a really strong ‘engineering vibe’ because they’re often used for field notes. They make it unbelievably easy to keep your straight lines relatively straight (which is super helpful when I’m drawing out ideas that involve diagrams). I just love squared pages, okay. Nothing else can compare.
  • Since it’s pocket-sized, it’s super portable and the pages are very easy to fill up; and in my opinion, a full page instantly looks pretty. Its small size makes it a little harder to fish out of your purse, though.

Moleskines are definitely one of those items that scream rich and upperclass, but hear me out–the last time I bought a cheap squared notebook (from my previous bullet journal posts here and here–and at this point, you guys should have an idea about how much I love squared notebooks), the shitty binding and cover stressed me out on so many levels. The damn thing was literally falling apart two months into the semester. 

After which, I saved a pretty penny for this dumb notebook (which I affectionately named Fuzzy), and the rest is history. 

(I’ll talk about the nature of things I write in a minute.)

Marking Implements

These are essentially all the writing tools in my pencil pouch. It’s not practical for me to carry rainbows of fineliners and sticky notes because the large amount of color options overwhelm me. (Plus, my pages usually become a convoluted mess of colors, and those irk me to no end.)

 I use the following:

  • 5mm Joy Environmental Protection Correction Tape for obvious purposes.
  • 0.5mm Muji Gel Pen (Orange) for extra notes and a nice pop of color.
  • 0.4mm Pilot G-Tec (Blue) for regular notes.
  • 0.2mm Mitsubishi Uni Pin (Black) for headings.

As you can see, I adhere to a very strict color scheme. I use a pair of complementary colors for visual interest and one neutral color to balance things out.

This ensures that my journal pages look relatively dapper without additional embellishments.

If I were to go by the absolute essential though (because I’m attempting to be a minimalist here), I’d only bring the blue pen–but the lack of color and styling options will make me absolutely miserable, so I’d rather not.

Devious Journal Entries

I use a very simple system to identify between data–checkboxes for tasks and bullets for notes–and that’s it. Otherwise, I’ve found that the simple work becomes too complex and tedious and it completely defeats the purpose of rapid logging.

I don’t have an index so far, and I didn’t put a strict legend for my identifiers. Here’s what I do, though:

  • If I complete a task, I (diagonally) hatch the checkbox completely. 
  • If there’s progress but it’s not quite done yet, I hatch half of the checkbox. 
  • Migrated items have orange arrows protruding from them. 
  • I strike out irrelevant tasks.

Apart from daily to-do lists, I also pen in reflections and ideas. Since it’s very small and lightweight, I carry this notebook everywhere and it’s become my compact ‘inbox-and-sort-and-tackle’ tool.

In above picture, you can see my little sketch of my idea of a general layout for my blog posts. I also have an idea on how I want my tumblr theme to look like–and I actually managed to achieve it, hehe. 

As you can see, I curse a lot. I also doodle sometimes.

I keep fancy letterings and doodles to a minimum, though. I always remind myself that my bullet journal is not my sketchbook, and my pages don’t have to look like a masterpiece of typographic awesome. I end up slipping up sometimes because drawing makes me feel awesome, but I try not to make it a habit.

I keep a simple monthly calendar (the exact same thing Ryder Carroll does) because it gives me a good enough overview of the things I need to keep on top of.

That’s it! 

I hope you picked up something useful from this post. Drop me a line if you’ve got any questions/ideas/comments for me. Also, feel free to show me how you do your bullet journal by mentioning/tagging me in your post–I’d love to see! 

(人^ ∀ ^) ✿

Things You Should Do At The Start Of Every Work Day

The first few hours of the work day can have a significant effect on your level of productivity —so it’s important you have a morning routine that sets you up for success:

1) Arrive on time.

2) Eat a proper breakfast.

3) Organize your day.

4) Check in with your colleagues.

5) Remind yourself of your core purpose at work.

6) Place important calls and send urgent e-mails.

7) Take advantage of your cleared mind.

8) Mix things up from time to time.

9) Plan a mid-morning break.

Read more.

First printable!
Heyyyyy!  Since this semester is coming to an end, and the new semester is going to start up in a while I wanted to  share my ‘Semester Prep’ checklist with you guys!  Doing all this stuff gets me super motivated and organized for the upcoming semester and sets me up for success *muscle emoji*.   
I didn’t outline absolutely everything (ex. what pens I get, or the binders or notebooks I use), but this is the jist of it!  
Check out my dropbox for the printable pdf! 

FOCUSNOW 

This app is similar to Forest: Stay focused since both of them use the Pomodoro technique, but instead of create a forest you create your own farm and you have the option to set up your goals or the things you have to do at a certain hour. It is so cute and easy to use. And when you grab your phone it says funny things to you and you just can’t get out of the app. 

THE BEST OF ALL: it has a whitelist so if you use an app that is in the whitelist it won’t kill whatever you are planting. I have Spotify, 8tracks, Whatsapp, my calendar and camera. You can choose which apps you want to be in your whitelist. I totally recommend it.

I’m just standing still, and then suddenly
I think I am waiting for something.
Once I’ve decided I’m waiting it’s like
I’m not standing still anymore.

Hurry Up and Wait, Daniel Handler’s collaboration with artist Maira Kalman and the Museum of Modern Art, is the best thing to come by in a long time – a magnificent children’s book for grownups exploring motion, stillness, and how to live with presence in the age of productivity. Peek in here

Why Morning Isn’t the Best Time to Drink Coffee

Much like multitasking, drinking coffee while already alert only produces the antithesis of productivity.

What happens, instead, is the over-stimulation of the brain, leading to dramatic decline in efficiency.

Upon waking up, people often feel the need to drink their favorite cup of coffee. Apparently, doing so is a mistake, and should generally be avoided (1).

Cortisol, a hormone commonly linked with alertness (2), is more concentrated in the blood from 8 to 9 in the morning. Increased secretion of this substance is all the more triggered when a person consumes caffeine (3).

When this happens, the brain becomes too excited; focusing becomes difficult (this being largely grounded on personal experience.)

What should be done when schedules don’t allow for drinking caffeine after 9 in the morning? This infographic, inspired from Ryoko Iwata’s work, demonstrates the best hour(s) to have your daily dose of caffeine:

Now that you know, it’s time step up your caffeine game! Maximize your coffee intake in a way that it works for you, not against you.

Timers/Productivity Apps

So there are two major ones I use:

Pomodoro - based on the pomodoro technique of 20 mins work 5 mins break then after 3 sessions 30 break. You can change, set a goal etc… Thought maybe only in the paid version? I’m not sure! It GREATLY a increases doing productive work - because there is no point in working if you are not really focusing!
The difference between the free and paid version is that in the paid version you can chart your work (the second picture) and it changes to a graph when portrait. This is my FAVOURITE feature that you can track yourself i.e. Make progress and also set goals easily. Amazing. I think you can also change colours of the pomodoro, break, long break but I like the default! It’s not too expensive for the amount I use it yet there are other options if you want to be even more frugal (though it is the same as a chocolate bar…)

30/30 - this was my first love. No kidding. What more could a girl want than a FREE app with GORGEOUS graphics and that WORKS? (I’m looking at you StudyBlue and Gojimo). Anyho this is brilliant. You can set tasks with different icons, colours and LENGTH of time. It’s fabulous. And you can even have different lists so I have one set up as a studying then I usually do one if I have homework and have to fit everything in. It even works out how long all your tasks are. Sign. Perfect. (And no it doesn’t track your progress but it has a lot more potential!)
It does offer in app purchases to get more icons and donate to the people behind. It is not essential not annoying but I am so goddamn impressed with this app that I did buy them anyway!


Others Productivity recommend
Wunderlist - GREAT at making to do lists organising and setting dates for stuff. I love it. Access on laptop, iPad, phone. I think android version. Just great great great.
Timeful - takes your calendar and organises your time for your to dos. I’m still testing and trying out this, doesn’t support iPad (which is infuriating)

(Note not sure if on android or not!)