In my recent posts, I’ve talked a lot of about productivity apps and various online resources. I love technology, specifically mobile technology. Having the ability to access my personal calendar, to-dos, photos, and documents on several devices is probably what the Jetsons considered “old school.” I think it’s awesome.

However, in my recent searches for a better teacher planner for lesson and rehearsal plans, I stumbled upon the Bullet Journal method, and was immediately intrigued. It seemed so simple, yet extremely customizable to each user. And even better, I could buy whatever notebook my heart desired and it would still work.

I started using my bullet journal for the month of April, experimenting with monthly layouts, weekly tasks, and figuring out what other aspects of my life could take up valuable real estate in those pages. After one month, I am definitely hooked on it, and it has not only provided space for ideas and tasks, but valuable insight to how I live.

Here are my 4 favorite components of my bullet journal:

  • Monthly Tracker: I set up 2 pages, one dedicated to the actual “check-mark” tracker, and the other page to document the details of what I’m tracking. For example, in April I tracked how many times we went out to eat (far too many!), how many times I read the Bible (not as much as I could have!), how many times I exercised (exactly 0…), and any income from the month. This is probably my favorite feature, because it gives you insight into how you are living, or how you could be living better!
  • Weekly Task Lists: If you watch the video on the Bullet Journal website, you’ll see that he organizes pages into daily tasks, coupled with events, notes, ideas, and other various icons. Just from the nature of my job, I don’t always have tasks that are specific to one particular day, so I decided to only make weekly task lists. So far, this has proven effective. I don’t add any events, as I still use Fantastical for my calendar on my mobile devices. I like seeing events and appointments visually on a calendar rather than bulleted in a list, especially if I am writing in pen and don’t record them in order.
  • Monthly Goals: While the video suggests making a monthly task list documenting your projects, I didn’t feel that applied to me as my projects are typically concerts. Instead, next to my layout of the month, I put some monthly goals that I am taking from the information on my tracker from April. For example, one of my goals for May is, “Exercise at least once a week.” Seriously, it says that.
  • Brainstorming Writing Ideas: Since the whole system is made of bullets, any time I have a writing idea I put an open square bullet with either a quick topic, title, or a few lines of an idea. Once I write a blog post and schedule it to be published, I check it off. It’s been nice having one central list to work from.

 

I definitely have not given up on my productivity apps, in fact, I use them more effectively in conjunction with my bullet journal. I still input all my future tasks into Fantastical, and at the beginning of each week I go through those tasks and write them down. I’m finding that the apps help me record things at the moment I think of them or when I am on-the-go. The bullet journal helps me focus on one week at a time, and keeps those tasks fresh in my mind rather than out-of-sight. There will always be something about pen and paper, too.

 

Are you using the bullet journal system to organize your personal or professional life? Share some features you use in the comments below, or continue the conversation on twitter @LindsayBrazell.

[Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/archamberlain/]