How to Use a Bullet Journal to Manage Your Time

Use a Bullet Journal to Manage Your Time.

So, you’re looking for a system to help you manage your time better?  Well, you’ve come to the right place! Back in early November, losing track of time was a daily occurrence for me. I’ve never been one to keep up with calendars and date books. I would buy the prettiest calendar, chalked full of all sort of things to organize (birthdays, addresses, appointments, notes, etc) only to find that within a few months I would put it somewhere and never find it again. Or, I would find it as the year was nearing its end. After hours of searching online for a system that would work for ME, I finally stumbled upon The Bullet Journal.

Since my discovery of the bullet journal system, my life has been less chaotic, more organized and full of more free time than I’ve ever imagined possible. Are you the type of person that has a load of post-it notes all over your desk? Do you find yourself constantly writing notes and to-do lists on scraps of paper? Do you have a thousand and one notebooks around your office just in case you need to jot something down?  Then, when you need the information you waste hours of time looking for the right notebook? If you’ve answered YES! to any of these questions, a Bullet Journal just may be your answer too!

What is a Bullet Journal?

Ryder Carroll created the official Bullet Journal as a way for users to manage their time more efficiently.  It is a notebook that you use for planning, time management, to-do lists, doodling and anything else you want to jot done. The bullet journal was created with a process called “rapid-logging” in mind. The concept behind this system is for users of the system to write small, bulleted items to help keep track of everything they need to accomplish. To understand more of Ryder Carroll’s original Bullet Journal concept, please check out his video here.

Although there is an official bullet journal, many of us newbies use other types of notebooks to start a Bullet Journal (BuJo for short). In fact the only two items you need to start are things you most likely have lying around the house – a pen/pencil and a notebook. It doesn’t matter what you start with. Just keep in mind if you are the artistic type and choose to use heavier inked markers or pens, you may want something with thicker pages to avoid ghosting or bleed-thru.

Basically a bullet journal has between six and seven main parts (depending on who you ask):

  • Index
  • Key
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Log
  • Weekly Log
  • Daily Log
  • Collections or Lists.

Some people prefer to use either weekly or daily logs, not both. Myself, I like to see my week at a glance. Sometimes when I have a very busy week I may need more space for everything that comes up. In that case, I will use both weeklies and dailies. Other times I use one or the other. That’s the best thing about a Bullet Journal. You can change it up day-to-day or week-to-week, however you’d like.

The Index

The Index, in my opinion, is one of the most important pieces of a BuJo. The reason – because this is where you will write down the page numbers of everything in your journal so that you can easily reference it when needed. Inside the original BuJo, you will find about 3-4 pages already labelled for the Index. In addition, all pages in the journal are numbered. But, if you don’t have the bullet journal you can simply start with your first page and number your own pages.

Every time you log something into your Bullet Journal, you will then go to your Index and write down the page number(s) and a description of what is there. You can make this as simple or as complex as you would like. The most important thing here is that you need to do what works for you so that you can manage your time and find what you are looking for quickly. The first entry in your index then, should be “(pages XX – XX)  INDEX.” However, some will omit this. After all, if you put your index on the first few pages, wouldn’t you already know where it is?

The Key

The key is another important piece of the BuJo. The key is basically a “legend” to tell you what each type of bullet point is.  For example, in the original bullet journal system, a task is marked by a simply dot (bullet). When that task is completed, you would then put an “X” through it. Remember, the concept of the bullet journal is to “rapid-log.” This means that you will be using small sentences or even just a word or two to remind you of that task. This is a quick way to manage your time and your tasks.

Here are some of the most common “keys” found in a BuJo.

  • A bullet (dot) represents a task
  • A hyphen (-) represents a note
  • An “X” represents a completed task
  • A slash “/” represents a partially completed task
  • A “>” means that you have “migrated” the task to a future time period.
  • A “<” means that you “scheduled” this item into your future log.
  • A circle (o) represents an Event (usually tied to a specific time and date).

Now some will use additional or alternative symbols to represent these items. But for the most part these are the items you will want to track by whatever symbol your heart desires. Just be consistent so that you always know what is for what. This is why the key is so important. It allows you to look back on it to make sure you are putting the correct symbols (that you created) in the journal.

The Future Log

The next piece most of us incorporate into a Bullet Journal is the future log. Search Pinterest, Facebook, Google and everywhere else and you will find half a million different ways to create and use your future log. In a nut shell though, you want something that has the next several months at a glance so that you can insert appointments, events and tasks that will need to be taken care of during that time.

Some people will  create an actual year at a glance calendar like I have here. Others will simply split a page or two into three sections and label each section with a different month. The point here is that you want to list out any Holidays, birthdays, appointments events, to-dos, etc. in the appropriate month as soon as you know about it.

The Monthly Log

The monthly log can be a fully drawn out calendar like the one hanging on your wall – with little squares for each day, or a simple numbered list representing the day of the month. I choose to use the list format so that I can make it a two-day spread with my monthly tasks on the right side as shown here. In the photo on the left you can see what I mean about rapid-logging. I simply shorten up my information so that it fits on one line, yet I can understand what needs to be done.

These next two areas are where opinions may vary. As I said before, some people only do a Weekly Log or a Daily Log. Others, like me, do both.  Let me give you a brief overview of each.

The Weekly Log

The weekly log is very similar to the Future and Monthly log, only broken down into just that week.  To draw out a weekly, I usually just divide my page into areas for each day of the week. Some will put the “weekend” together if they don’t have a lot going on. I then split my one page in half by drawing a line down the center. On the left side is where I put my events, holidays, birthdays, and things that have a time or due date. On the right I have various other items to track or get done that week, which doesn’t have a specific deadline.

My weeklies change from time to time to adjust what I actually need. But, here is a picture of a more recent weekly and how I broke it up into sections.During this week, I actually made my weekly into a two-page spread. However, I’ve found that a one-page spread works for me. Again, it just depends on the person and the week itself. If you have more things you need to track, a two-page weekly might be your best bet.

The Daily Log

Here is one of my spreads for my daily logs. This is another area that you will find many differences among the population of BuJo’ers.  Some people are very crafty and artistic and really make their bullet journals more of a scrapbook. I try to get creative, but I don’t feel that I’m that artsy enough. So, I like to add in colors when possible and time allows.

How a daily generally works is that you set it up the day or night before and input anything from your future log and monthly log that you know is happening that day.  Then you make your plan for how you will spend that day by adding tasks, events, notes, appointments, etc.  As each task is completed, you simply “X” it as done.  If you get through the entire week and notice something not completed, you “migrate” that forward for the next week. Or, you schedule it for a future time period by placing it on your Future log.

Collections & Lists

In my opinion, this is the FUN part of BuJo’ing. Collections and lists are basically anything you want them to be. Some people do not incorporate these items into their BuJos. Others, can’t live without them (like me!). Still others, prefer to keep their collections and lists in a separate notebook for easy reference. A collection can take the form of anything you can imagine. Here are some of the more common collections and/or lists I’ve found out there on the web:

  • Books to Read
  • Movies to See
  • Weight loss Goals
  • New Years Resolutions
  • Blog Post Ideas
  • BuJo Planning
  • Bucket List
  • Cleaning List
  • Grocery List
  • Trackers . . .

Trackers are used for anything you’d like to track.  Some of the more popular things that people like to track are:

  • Exercise
  • Water intake
  • Sleep patterns
  • Credit Card and other debt pay-offs
  • Savings
  • Meals
  • Moods
  • Self-Care
  • Sales
  • Social Media traffic & followers
  • plus many more things.

So, as you can see, whatever you want to track, you can do it all in one journal. One thing I like to track is people who owe me money or whom I owe money. Being an Avon Representative, sometimes I will deliver a customer’s order and they won’t have the exact change. Having a place where I can refer to before I deliver their next order makes me feel more professional because I am remembering that they either short paid or over paid me last campaign.

Although it took me a bit to get used to this system, using the BuJo has made a huge impact on how I manage my time these days. By writing things down more than once (in the future log, monthly, daily and weekly) I have found that I am remembering all my tasks for the day. As Andrew Brown once said ” The price you have to pay to be great at something – is repetition.” So, today will you choose to be GREAT at managing your time?

How do you manage your time? Is a Bullet Journal something that could help you? Please share with me in the comments below what you think about this concept.

Home Office Declutter Mission

Mission #1 Home Office Declutter

My Office: Time to Declutter and Reorganize

In Late in December, I sat down and starting planning for my New Years Resolutions and 2017 Goals. One of those top goals for this year was to declutter and reorganize my entire home.  Now, let me first start by saying, I’ve never been like my Mother, who has been a “clean-freak” her entire life.  I normally let things pile up until I can’t take it anymore. This results in a week-long cleaning process on my end. The good news is that my Mother lives with me and she helps to keep the house tidy daily so I can work on all my other responsibilities and projects. However, she’s visiting family in Michigan and I’m not sure when she’ll be back.

I created a regular cleaning list as well as a plan to  declutter my whole house while she was gone. You see, although Mom is talented enough to keep all our belongings tidy and neat, she doesn’t realize that we have TOO MUCH STUFF! She spends her days here doing laundry, making beds, vacuuming and dusting when needed, and other “piddling” (as she calls it) duties around the house. When something is out-of-place, she would rather find a new home for it instead of thinking about the amount of “clutter” we have. Luckily for me that Mom has a good memory and can recall where everything is at.

Mission #1

So, decluttering the entire house before she comes back is my mission. We don’t need all this stuff and it’ll give her less to do when she returns. She is pushing 70 years old. I don’t want her to have to feel like all she is here for is cleaning the house. I want her to enjoy the rest of her years on this Earth, however long that may be.

I’ve already completed my office. Unfortunately, I  forgot to take before pictures. However, I can give you some after pictures of the room shortly. Before I do that, I’d like to give you an idea of the differences between how things look when Mom is here, versus what they look like now. To show you what I mean, take a look at these two pictures below:

     

The left picture is how my Mom keeps my bedroom on a regular basis.  The right picture is me without my mother’s help. So, can you understand the dilemma I’ve been faced with? A mission to make a total home makeover/declutter/reorganize before she returns!

The Office:

This is my creative space – the place where most of my ideas are realized. So, it would seem that I would like to make this room tidy at all times.  One thing I know, is although I hate to clean, I definitely cannot be productive in a place that isn’t clean. I don’t know how many hours I’ve wasted just sitting at the computer wondering where to start on my tasks when I can’t find anything I need to complete them. So, the office seemed like the best place to start for me.

Now, without any before pictures I need you to close your eyes and envision this “before” space with me. This room, which is a good 10 x 15 ft. space if not more, houses everything I need to do my four jobs (Avon, Treasurer for our American Legion Auxiliary Unit, Blogger, and On-line Instructor).  Picture with me if you will,  2 – 4 drawer filing cabinets, 2 – 8 cubes Ikea shelves – filled with the bins ( to the max I might add), a six-foot table, a full-sized desk, a couple miscellaneous pieces (an ottoman and a small table) and ELEVEN plastic drawer organizer stand thingamabobs! I could barely breathe let alone find my chair on some days.

The Steps Taken

Well, to complete this task, I first took every last thing out of the room besides the two filing cabinets, the table, the desk and the actual Ikea shelves. I removed everything – all the plastic drawer things, all the cubes in the Ikea shelves, every piece of loose paper, pens, books, EVERYTHING.

Then, I went through each item – one by one – to determine if it was actually needed in this office. I can’t tell you how much stuff I got rid of, but I can tell you a full truckload went to the garbage, most of the plastic drawer things went to the garage for the garage sale and I have a ton of stuff in a spare room waiting for the garage sale as well.

I only brought back into this room the items I needed for productivity.

The Result

Here is the final result:

When we have to leave, we lock the docks in this room.  So it’s only fitting that I keep their bed and toys in here. There were three sets of stacking organizer drawers where the dogs bed and toys are now.  These organizers stacked all the way up to the white board. I can now walk up to the white board and use the thing now!  I now also have a work space at the table that I can use in addition to my desk.

On the other side of the room I have my Ikea stands with their cubes. The labels on these bins identify the contents within.  As you can see there are some empty bins there. I may remove them to add more pictures or something eventually. But I’m waiting until I get through the entire house to see if I need them for storage also.

 

Finally, this is my work space – my home away from home so to speak. I spend countless hours at this desk every day and need to have my supplies within easy reach. These two stacking plastic drawer thingamabobs are all that remain. Labels are on these drawers as well.

 

 

There you have it, the finished project.  I also reduced a LOT of clutter from my bathroom and I am so in love with the results.

What room in your home do you need to declutter and reorganize the most? I’d love to hear your comments.

What is Clutter Anyways? – A Deeper Look into our Clutter

Top three forms of clutter most of us have to deal with.

What is Clutter Anyways?

Hi there, I’m Wendy and clutter fills my life! I don’t just mean the clutter that takes up space in your house for no reason either. What is clutter anyways? There are many forms of clutter that most of us have faced at one point or another in our lives. Let’s look at the definition of clutter to get an idea of what this word actually means in our lives.

Dictionary.com (2017) defines clutter as: “verb: to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner; noun: a disorderly heap or assemblage; litter; a state or condition of confusion; confused noise; an echo or echoes on a radar screen that do not come from the target and can be caused by such factors as atmospheric conditions, objects other than the target, chaff, and jamming of the radar signal.”

So let’s this about that for a moment shall we as we discuss a few forms of clutter we face on a regular basis.

In the Home

First of all, how many of you can say that you live with clutter in your home? Do you often find yourself gasping at the amount of objects in your home that serve no purpose other than to take up residence? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a room stressed out because I cannot find what I’m looking for. I look at sites like Pinterest and Instagram and see all these beautiful people with immaculately kept homes. Then I look at mine and want to throw everything out the window and start all over again.

To me, home clutter is basically anything inside the home that is not serving a purpose, creating joy in our lives, and helping us to live our lives to the fullest. Home clutter is something to get rid of before it overcomes us. Have you watched the TV series “Hoarders”?  Although I can honestly say, that I’m not as cluttered as some of those on that show, if I don’t do something soon, I might be the next victim of hoarding myself.

In The Brain

Next, mind clutter is similar to home clutter, it just resides within your brain. Do you find yourself not being able to sleep at night because there are so many various thoughts running through your head? Here are just some of the things that go through my mind regularly:

 

  • What did I forget to do today?
  • What do I have planned tomorrow?
  • Where has my life gone?
  • What can I do to change my current situation?
  • How am I going to get all these bills paid?
  • Am I being the best parent I can be to my children?
  • How could I have better handled that situation?
  • Did I lock the doors?
  • Did I give the pets their medicine?

These are just some of the questions and thoughts that might run through our heads at night. Like home clutter, mind clutter can be just as serious a detriment to our health and our lifestyle. We need to get it under control so that we can live out the rest of our lives in happiness and contentment.

In the Body

Finally,  our body hold a lot of clutter. We may not pay much attention to this, but it’s really one of the most important pieces of clutter we need to deal with to remain healthy. Body clutter takes many forms, from eating junk food and not getting enough exercise, to filling out heads with negative thoughts about ourselves. This type of clutter can leave us in a bad shape. Having too much body clutter can lead to obesity, depression, diabetes and other horrible diseases, self-doubt, and a low self-esteem, not to mention many other even more serious side effects.

These are just a few types of clutter than affect many people. I’m certain there are more types of clutter we can think of if we put our mind to it. But these, to me, are some of the most important ones. If we can combat these types we can continue to work on the other forms as well.

What to do about Clutter

Now that you have a good understanding of “What is Clutter Anyways,” together we can work to rid ourselves of all forms of clutter in our lives. This is why I have created this blog – to help us all rid our lives of the unwanted clutter. I hope you will continue on this journey to freedom of clutter with me.

What types of clutter do you face regularly? I’d love to hear from you.