Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bullet Journaling & General Productivity

So sometime late last year, maybe November 2014, I stumbled upon a video on Bullet Journaling. I really don't remember much about how I found it, but I remembered the system. I tried it out in a binder, and it was pretty cool. Now, I'm doing it in an official notebook. So far, I've been using it for logging: diet, purchases, screen time, what I watched, what I did, sometimes, even, what I wore. So now I have an informal journal again. Now that I've decreased my backlog of digital clutter, I feel lighter. In terms of the other clutter backlog, I had paper EVERYWHERE, and now it's contained in one binder.

It is unbelievably satisfying to be using up a random notebook leftover from high school chemistry. HIGH. SCHOOL. I'm not necessarily a hoarder (ok, maybe somewhat...), but I have a weird thing for keeping paper... it's not necessarily being eco-conscious (but I'd like to think it is). I just don't want to throw out unused paper. Plus, I have a penchant for notebooks and pens. I'd like to think that I kept that notebook because I don't really see grid-lined paper all over the place.

I've been addicted to watching Bullet Journal videos. From that I'm getting tips on how to go about journaling. For example, two great tips I've stumbled upon are spacing between weeks in the monthly spread and putting stickers in the corner of pages that are completed/no longer need to be looked at. I kind of think I've seen everything I need to, so I'll just watch more videos if anything looks interesting in my feed.

It's nice and surprising that I'm not anal about numbering pages. But I am anal about all the information that goes in it. It's a little neurotic, but I'm being accountable of everything I'm doing. By using the Bullet Journal, I'm actually keeping track of my time and what I do. It's also pretty satisfying to see what I've accomplished. I feel like this will help me minimize my life at the end of the year when I review it.

A SUPER-PLUS of the system is that I get the satisfaction of writing instead on brain dumping into a a digital medium. And I've heard that you learn better when you write versus typing.

Another thing for productivity is The Secret Weapon.

It's a little involved, but has been helpful in the past for digital To Do's. It is VERY helpful if you need to prioritize many things. If a lot of other people are involved with your tasks, you can also use your tags to categorize the tasks you need to do, sort by location, or to delegate them.

I find that I don't like The Secret Weapon as much due to the fact that I feel as if my tasks get lost when I type them into Evernote... Evernote is more of a brain dump. I'm pretty much in love with my Bullet Journal. I like the Bullet Journal because what I need to get done for the day doesn't become lost with other tasks. I've gotten to the point where I have some projects to complete, but they're not urgent or that important, so I can just look them up for a rainy day.

I've also employed the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. (see also: The Art of Manliness's version)

Now that the backlog is pretty much organized and caught up, it's amazing to prioritize your tasks. This is good if you have a lot to do. Obviously, you can do whatever you want first, but the quadrants pretty much spell it out for you. I would suggest tackling those big rocks, but also have some easy, "fun" tasks to do to take a break, and get that hit of dopamine when you cross something off.

Quick Productivity Tip: For things you don't want to do, set an alarm for 25 minutes and work straight through. Give yourself a 5 minute break, and go again! (I think this is called the Pomodoro Method.)

A little more about me and journals...

I've been journaling since 1998. As the years progress, the way I would write evolved. More recently, my journaling has been about goals I have for my life. The evolution to the Bullet Journal is the next step. I can keep track of anything and everything for not only productivity, but personal reasons. I'm in love with the system.

I've been keeping track of what I eat, what I watch, and my daily amount of screen time. A little more recently, I started making to-do lists in there and I find that they actually get done! More recently, actually a few days ago, I started putting quotes in there. Once I start using a nicer book (I got a Moleskine for my birthday!), I may even paste in ticket stubs and fortune cookie fortunes that I like. A little while ago, I brain dumped the idea of using a productivity "to-do" notebook chronologically (if that makes sense), and the Bullet Journal was basically the answer to that idea.

I'm in love with this system, and you should try it too!

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