I’ve always been fond of notebooks and stationery. Also of to-do lists, but mostly because it involved using some sort of post-it note and a pretty pen.
Since early on in college I used an agenda to keep track of everything - first it was all uni-related, deadlines, etc. But then I started tracking down personal stuff. I always found it to be a very smart way to get things off my mind and be able to focus instead of, let’s say, use a small amount of my brain’s RAM to keep track of to-do’s.
Enter here: the world of bullet journaling. To be honest, I only discovered it until 2015, even though I had been sort of doing it since before, I just didn’t know it had a name and I didn’t have a system per se. That’s when I came to realize it was a very cool way to have everything together at the same place and try to make more sense of my everyday without procrastinating. I decided to go ahead and give it a try - after all, all the studyblr community was all about it - what could go wrong?
Phase 1: I kept using my Moleskine weekly planner as my main element, jotting down deadlines, tasks, and to-dos. I still think it is the best planner without the fuss.
I kept a separate passport notebook from MUJI which happen to perfectly fit in the back of the Moleskine, secured with the elastic. In this notebook I would keep post its or full pages with to-do’s, expenses tracking, etc.
Phase 2: Come mid 2015. Once the pages on the MUJI ran out, I decided to go full on board and have a one and only bullet journal, transfering all info left from the moleskine into my notebook. Since I am abit OCD, I used a temp notebook until the month ended, before commiting to using a new notebook. I can’t stand writing on a page of a new notebook without a purpose. Are you like that?
Phase 3: I did some research on tumblr, pinterest and instagram for my ideal setup. You can check my Pinterest board here for inspo.
I decided on including the following sections:
A - For general categories topics: -my blog: ideas, topics, references, etc. -interests -projects -wishlist/to buy -quotes -goals -books to read
I assigned a page for each, planning to use it with post-its so that I didn’t run out of space.
B-organization ·year at a glance ·month-at-a-glance
This allows me to keep track of dates coming ahead and established deadlines.
C-daily stuff/to do ·week at a glance ·to do ·follow ups
Thi is the most flexible part. My week is full all the time, but some days are fuller than others - that’s where the magic of the bullet journal works. No two days are the same! Some of these categories followed the logic of the original Moleskine planner, It just allowed for a higher level of customization.
And now, aesthetics. I did get inspired layout wise on the hundreds of posts I consulted before setting up my layout, but the doodle and a million colors set up was a no-no for me. I wanted to have something creative that also spoke about me, that allowed me to clear my mind and inspire me - and those weren’t up my alley. If a colorful bullet journal works for you - great! go for it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a stationery addict, but when it comes to getting organized and getting my priorities straight, I found out that I was spending more time decorating rather than actually planning or getting things done. I decided to pursue simplicity, which after all is very difficult to achieve on its own, and just keep the basic tools needed - I chose a slim pen (PILOT G-TEC-C4), a highlighter (all time favorite ZEBRA MIDLINER in gray) and a contrasting color (in which I went for the trendy GOLD pen, just because gray in the form of marble and gilded stuff seem to go along harmoniously).
Here is one of my blank pages - just add the category and have the flexibility to write on it or do it through post-its if you need more flexibility.
Just add as much or as little pages as you want for the categories that matter to YOU.
Here I can use it both as a goal tracker and as a month at a glance.
I do a calendar on the left page and keep track of deadlines and appointments. If I need additional info or notes I add them on the right side of the page.
I tried to do an habits and self care track page. It didn’t go as good as planned, but I’ll consider trying again in 2016.
I tried doing an agenda-like setup, with a nice phrase to open up every week. Below each day I added an hour by hour tracker so I could mark times for specific appointments and assign timeframes for work.
Some days I just needed the full page.
Others as you can see were pretty empty.
Sometimes I lost track and didn’t really track down things to do. Things went to hell.
Now I’m ready to set up my 2016 bullet journal, and after what I’ve learnt so far it will be my most usefu tool - like my cover says GET THINGS DONE!
My advice will be: just don’t obssess over it and be more smart about it
it’s a means to an end,
and no matter how much you plan ahead,
the day still has only 24 hours,
so be mindful of your time and where you are spending it.
I will come back soon with my 2016 set up, stay tuned! Let me know if you have any questions.