3.5 MIN READ
Can an old dog learn a new trick?
Bullet Journaling recently hit my radar. After missing too many deadlines and forgetting groceries, I decided to give the Bullet Journal a try. The first step is to sit down with a pen and paper to organize the journal. It was there that I learned the first important lesson. Placing pen and paper in front of you is a powerful way to calm the mind and prepare to be organized. Old fashioned pen and paper notebook helps our minds stay focused and stay away from digital distractions.
What is special about the Bullet Journal? You ask. First, you can use any diary or notebook of your choice as opposed to pre-made planners. What a freedom! Second, it is entirely your own creation, a combination of your daily planner, diary and written meditation. You use different symbols to distinguish types of goals, tasks and events in your life according to their importance and priority.
The system is designed to help you take control of your daily life and make it more productive and meaningful. Sounds like a good start. So how is it done?
Start from the beginning
The biggest difference between bullet journaling and the traditional planner is the personalized content and format. “The best way to get started is to find out what your challenges are,” explains creator Ryder Carroll. Ask yourself: What should the Bullet Journal do for you?
Are you overwhelmed by the flexible format? Carroll has an excellent one Video how to set up your bullet journal so I suggest that you start there when you are ready to make your own.
The main structure of the bullet journal is in the following order:
- The Index: These are the first few pages of the journal that show where things are and an icon key that you update over time so you can go back and find all the important items when you want to go back.
- The Future Protocol: This four-page double-page spread is an annual calendar with all your future goals, future events and long-term tasks. Add birthdays, travel plans, and major holidays. Creating the future log is the first real step in bullet journaling.
- The Monthly Log: This includes a calendar with a bird’s eye view of the month and a task page with things to do during the month. They usually start with the first month and create new ones over time.
- The Daily Log: It contains most of the information about your days, i.e. your daily to-do list.
You can tell from the structure that the first benefit is the creation of the journal. You start with a big picture of what you want to achieve all year round. Then think about what you need and can do this month to get there, what you need to do this week to get there, until today.
Keep logging in and move on
When creating your lists of goals and events, try to organize them with different icons. Carroll recommends using:
- Task: •
- Event: °
- Remarks: –
- Priority: *
- Migration:> and
“Migration” is the way bullet journaling helps us organize.
At the end of each month, check the daily log for the month for open tasks and cross out all tasks or tasks that have been completed or are no longer relevant to you. Divide the rest of the tasks into two groups: short term and long term. Put a “>” sign in front of short-term tasks and “migrate” them to the log for the next month. Put a “<" sign in front of long-term tasks and "migrate" the task to the Future Log by selecting a month that makes sense for you.
Migration is an effective way to prioritize our task by “sorting out” any distractions and focusing on the most important tasks.
Gather your work by topic with a collection area
For easier future use, you may want to organize certain tasks by type rather than chronologically. For example, you can use a section of the journal to create things like a reading list, your summer vacation plan, your blog pipeline if you’re a blogger, and so on. This is your Collection section. You can create a collection section for this in the middle of the notebook or at the end, or you can simply place your articles anywhere in the magazine and enter the page numbers in the index. This makes finding important diary entries child’s play.
Be productive instead of being busy
As it turns out, this old dog can learn a new trick.
Bullet journaling was helpful in many ways. I can prioritize my daily deadlines, organize all of my to-do lists and plan ahead with the Future Log. By being more organized and forward-looking, I get a better sense of how my plan is going. Instead of letting the tasks control me, I am able to control she. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by a busy life and want to regain control and purpose, give it a try!
About the author
Massimiliano (“Massi”) De Santis is a paid financial planner based in Austin, TX. DESMO Wealth Advisors, LLC provides objective financial planning and investment management to help clients organize, grow, and protect their resources for a lifetime. As a paid, fiduciary and independent financial advisor, Massi De Santis does not receive any commission and is legally obliged to provide unbiased and trustworthy financial advice.
Did you know that XYPN consultants offer virtual services? You can work with clients in any state! View Massis Find a Advisor profile.