Planning for efficient productivity has always intrigued me. After reading many great books and articles on the subject, I’ve tried numerous methods personally. I’ve used software, apps, pre-printed planners, download-to-print pages and various methods of list making. Sigh, I love them all. Well, at least parts of most of them. A few were overly tedious (who wants that?) and some lacked enough structure. After all, just the right amount of structure helps me to stay focused, but don’t fence me in too much!
Bullet Journaling – a creative path to productivity
Earlier this year, an artist friend mentioned Bullet Journaling or BuJo. I researched it and fell in love with the idea of this method of planning. First, and foremost, it’s customizable. It’s very, very orderly and organized. And lastly, it can be a creative outlet for a multi-passionate person like me! I decided to give it a try.
My personal concoction
I continue to use the Calendar program on my Mac, iPhone and iPad – it accommodates recurring events like birthdays, and we have a family calendar for joint appointments and reminders. I store my massive list of things to do, project steps and recurring chores on an app called Things. My phone is always with me, and I do mean always, so it fits that it’s the tool I turn to most often for productivity boosters.
I use a version of a Bullet Journal for planning my daily focus, appointments and tasks, and I have shifted my BuJo style about 3 times (so far). I am really enjoying the current iteration and I think it’s good enough to share. Now, keep in mind, I can shift again any time, because it’s a woman’s prerogative, make constant improvements, etc. (All those pithy things “they” say!)
Productivity and planning – my way
Here is the page where I plan what my monthly focus will be, using colors for different areas. The first time I created a monthly focus calendar, I was able to see instantly that I had not made enough time for my friends, family & Foster, our dog. A “do over” was required to make it match up with my most important values – keep in mind that there is very little copy/paste functionality in a hand drawn/colored planner! Haha!
I will nail down my monthly focus, then move on to the weekly plan. I pull up the Calendar on my MacBook Pro and with my monthly focus page next to it, I create a visual map for how the week should go. Next to that, I’ll create a To Do list for the week in categories that match my focus and use the same colors. I generally plan the week on Sunday afternoon, while watching tv with my hubby. I find the creative process of drawing out the headings and lists provides relaxation in the moment and laser focus for the upcoming week.
What’s on tap for TODAY?
Next, I’ll draw the daily plan, with a time bar where I can plan with the same focus colors from before, and as the day progresses, I’ll color the bottom part of the bar with what I actually did during the time. Now I can track planned vs. actual! Score!
At the end of every week, I have a review page that I fill out with my achievements and challenges. At the end of the month, I have a 2-page spread to recap the month and make suggestions for the new month. I’m not including those pics because I’m worried you might be overloaded already!
Anyway, that’s how I try to be organized and creative. What works for you? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments below.
Interested in learning more about Bullet Journaling? I recommend these sources:
- BulletJournal.com – Ryder Carroll created the BuJo, and this site will show you the ropes. This is THE place to start – at the feet of the productivity master! This is all the info you’ll ever need.
- Bohoberry.com/bullet-journal-101 – Ready to get a little more creative and adventurous? Kara Benz’ site will follow most of Ryder’s format with a bit more flair. It’s not necessary to add colors and doodles; however, it’s fun if you want to give it a try. I think of it as creative productivity!