Over the last several years, I have struggled to maintain consistency with this blog. To try and improve on my posting regularity, I am going to try something a little different. This weekly journal will be a short entry that I can put together once a week or so that documents something interesting I have learned about. In the past I have had trouble getting motivated to work on longer articles, but I am hopeful this will help me establish a more frequent posting schedule. The idea is that if I can establish a regular posting cadence, maybe I can use that to motivate myself to write more longer posts too.
For my first journal post, I am going to write about changes to my personal project and task tracking system. For the past several months I have been using a Bullet Journal for tracking projects, tasks, and my personal journal. It has been working surprisingly well, and I have decided to adopt it over the mix of apps I was using previously for this purpose.
Bullet journaling is a methodology that uses a small notebook and a system of simple templates to quickly capture and organize tasks and notes. The full methodology documented in the book by the system’s creator, Ryder Carroll, but there is a reference and getting started guide available for free on the website.
The basic idea behind bullet journaling is to capture tasks, events, and notes into the notebook during the day, and to then organize and process these items at regular intervals, called reflection in the Bullet Journal lingo. During reflection, you process items by marking them complete, rescheduling them for a later time, or crossing them off if they are not longer relevant. At the beginning of each month, you perform a larger reflection and recopy any open tasks to a new page in the journal. At first glance, it may seem redundant to go through the copying exercise, but it forces you to focus on the highest priority tasks. The review process helps to prevent accumulating a large list of low-priority tasks that will never get done.
What I really like about the system is the flexability it offers. Since it is a paper notebook, it is easy to adjust the templates or create new ones as needed. It is also easy to add bits and pieces from other productivity methodologies if it makes sense for your situation. For example, I like many of the ideas in [Getting Things Done], and I incorporate a few them into my system. My notebook is fairly spartan, but other people create some spectacular layouts in their journals. You can find examples by searching for Bullet Journal using your favorite search engine, or by checking something like Pintrest. I lack the artistic talent necessary to make more elaborate layouts, and I would much rather spend time on my projects and tasks than on my notebook.
Prior to getting hooked on bullet journaling, I used a combination of an app like Todoist or Microsoft Todo to capture my projects and tasks, and OneNote to record my notes. Now I do most everything in my paper notebook instead. I still copy some of my information into OneNote so I can easily reference it on multiple devices and so I can use the search tools. However, everything initially gets created and managed in my notebook.
If you are looking to make changes or improvements to your personal productivity system, I would encourage you to give bullet journaling a try. With that, I am going to close this this entry. Hopefully the first of many to come. Thanks again for reading.
Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, I receive no compensation for this blog post. The links are not affiliate links; I am just a vocal fan of the system.