Productivity: Bullet Journal Update
Bullet Journal, May 2016

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.

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May 4, 2016

Bullet Journal, May 2016

A couple of months ago I talked about how I use a bullet journal to keep my life organized.

Amazingly, I’m sticking with it. This is literally a first for me with any sort of planner.

Consistency is key

The one thing that’s helped me stick with it is being extremely consistent: updating is first thing I do when I get to work every single day. It’s the first thing I do on weekends. Each Monday morning, I have been sitting down and making a space for important things I need to keep track of during the week and I make sure to have a place where I can put anything for the future, too.  I check in periodically through the day and then into the evening–you can see such exciting things like “Wawa – gas for car” and “Home: laundry” on last Monday’s list. And a reminder to write this post, too. But it really is working–if I write something down, I’m much more likely to actually do it. Except for that one work task that I’ve been steadily not-doing for the last week and a half. I should rectify that.

What’s working and what isn’t

I’ve discovered that the single page future log isn’t that helpful for me in the short term: I’ve had “rollover 401ks” on it since the beginning of the year and I still have three 401k accounts that need to be combined.

I’ve also discovered that I don’t use a calendar grid, so I’ve stopped printing them out and pasting them in. I am still using the habit and work day task printables and I’ve also created one that helps me keep track of the hours I work at the day job.

And I’m also using this notebook to plan out things I am going to write about here–brainstorming post ideas, planning out post series (like my recently completely Poetry Project), and just general blog maintenance. It also helps me remember that I need to write the newsletter every weekend.

It’s also been invaluable as I navigate through and around my current health issues–writing out a narrative of what happened at various doctors’ appointments, researching new primary care physicians, keeping track of things that have to happen at certain times.

I’m also still using Habitica–not as extensively as I’d like, but it is a lot easier for me to write something down on a piece of paper than it is for me to put it into my phone or the web application and then try to get everything to sync. I have enough problems with my Fitbit syncing, to be honest.

I’m pretty much only using one color ink at a time and while I am still using stickers, most days I can’t be bothered. I also stopped using the stencil to draw the check boxes because it’s just a lot easier to make a dot and and cross it out.

What’s next

Next, I’m going to pull my ancient copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done off the shelf and give it a reread. It’s been a while since I’ve even skimmed it and I need a refresher. I also just picked up Tara Rodden Robinson’s Sexy + Soul-full: A Woman’s Guide to Productivity to balance out the go-go-go-go-go that is GTD. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading and research into the concepts of authority and authenticity with regards to internet marketing as an idea for a future post, and these two books seem like a good contrast on that axis.

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  1. AB

    I love your green ink. I have to say that I haven’t been able to keep up with my bullet journal. I even bought a Techo thinking I would if it were more portable. But maybe I just need to give myself 5 minutes in the morning to force myself to do it.

  2. Ros

    Since your last post, I have more or less worked out a pattern that I have stuck with too, yay! I use Habitica for, well, habits. These are mostly home/personal things and they are in the Dailies and Habits lists. Occasionally, I’ll also add a to-do list there, but often not because I take care of that elsewhere. I use my Leuchterm journal for general things and I use the index feature a LOT. That has really been revolutionary for me. I have some pages that are specific kinds of list (e.g. craft projects), some that are brainstorming, some that are writing, some that are to-do lists, and all kinds of other stuff. Previously, I would always have tried to separate things out and categorise, but now I don’t bother, I just add to the index.

    And finally I use my Passion Planner. I’ve started blocking out work/non-work times with washi tape. I put my to-do lists in there, personal and work. I work out the big task for the week and put that in, and sometimes the daily ones too.

    I ordered some PERFECT (for me) stickers from here: I particularly like the Day Off ones, because my day off is a bit of a moveable feast, so this helps me to keep track of it. And I love the yarn ones, because yarn.

    I have never been so in control of my life! So, thank you. 😉

  3. Lee

    lovely green ink!
    and the lists and all are elegant

    I’ve been reading Kelly Diels on some intersection of marketing and feminism and finding it interesting – have you run across her writing? the blog posts also come as emailed love letters, which can be …intense.

  4. Natalie Luhrs

    @AB: The green ink is Diamine Meadow and it is basically the green ink I’ve always wanted. I love it.

    @Ros: Those stickers are GREAT–I’ll have to look and see if there’s anything there that will work for me. I really love Japanese stickers, but that can get expensive. I have lots of brainstorming pages in my journal and having a framework to put everything in one place has been really helpful.

    @Lee: I’ll have to check out Diels’s writing–I’m not that far into the Robinson book and I’ve already wanted to toss it across the room a few times (it’s very, very binary when it comes to gender performance and it doesn’t seem to acknowledge that it IS a performance but I also think there are some good ideas buried in the woo–and I’m not gonna lie: I like me some woo sometimes).

  5. Ruthg

    As an FYI, both book links take you to getting things done.

    • Natalie Luhrs

      @Ruthg: Thanks for letting me know! I’ve updated the link.


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