Day Planner Organization – Bullet Journaling

A few weeks ago, I discussed how I was attempting to make my day planner system more efficient and customized to my life/workflow.  The biggest problem was that I simply wasn’t using it for anything beyond jotting down my task list for the day at work.  I left it at the office overnight and on the weekends.  I didn’t really use the note page at all, and instead would toss notes to myself via email or text message on my phone.  Sure, I used the monthly calendar pages in my planner to jot down appointments and such… but I just wasn’t using the planner efficiently at all.  I felt frustrated and really wondered why I bothered with a day planner at all, when all I really would need is a simple notebook for how I was actually using the thing.

Since becoming a mom, I’ve found that I definitely need a planning system for mental organization and sanity.  I need the dumping ground to put notes and memos so I don’t have to keep them swirling in my head.  I may be good at multi-tasking thanks to the needs of my job, but there is a limit to how much I (or anyone) can retain at one time and still be functional.

The first thing I came up with to make my planner work for me was incorporating stuff from home to force me to use it at home.  So I created a template for my cross stitch rotations and added said pages into my planner (examples of those pages are on my August 28th entry linked above).

I also included some blog planning free printables I found via Pinterest at  MamaJennBlogs and Confessions of a Homeschooler to start experimenting with to see what works for me.  Both systems are great, but not quite a perfect fit for me since my blog isn’t a professional one.  They also both are built for standard sized paper, where my planner pages are 5.5 x 8.5 inches… so the space is a little too tight for writing.  But both layouts are giving me ideas of how to build my own for 2013 for exactly what I need.

I’m still working on a cleaning plan.  I’m experimenting with a few different routines, working through customizing them, and paying more attention to our home “flow” so I can make something that works well for us.

That left me with one really big issue – using the notes page on my two-per-day planner in a way that makes sense and keeps me organized.  And then I stumbled across Bullet Journal, and I think I may have solved that little issue.

The  Bullet Journal note taking system boils everything down – different bullet styles represent specific things such as actionable tasks, events, and general notes.  There are also “signifiers” to add when something is more important, needs research, etc.  For the past couple weeks, I’ve been trying it to see if it helps, and oh yes, it definitely does.  I’m adapting the Bullet Journal system to my own planner, rather than starting over, because for now at least, I don’t want to change things that actually work well for me (i.e. my task list on the left).  I want to adjust how I use the planner in pieces, working through the parts that really need a bit more usefulness before I break apart anything that’s already working well.

Bullet NotesSince I work with confidential things all day at work, I can’t upload a photograph of my workday note pages.  The photo to the left was the happenings on Saturday.  I was aware that the bulk of the day was going to be spent at our friend Tony’s house for tabletop gaming, so the to-do list was kept purposely short.

The Bullet System recommends using a circle for events.  I used a star here because I wanted to make sure I had something very visually different to delineate tasks from events.   I think I may change it instead to a triangle so I can use stars for a signifier.

What I really like about this, though, is how adaptable this system is to what I have.  It’s just a matter of creating meanings for different bullet symbols, and then using them as I jot down notes.  Everything’s in one place.  I can review and move forward items that need to be addressed later.  I can have “heads up… this is/might be/won’t be happening!” notes and not have to remember everything all of the time.

It may make my current two-per-day system functional after all… and I can keep the pretty planner pages that help make the day a bit more cheery.  🙂



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  1. Linda Hampton says:

    It looks like a good easy system My problem with planners is some of them are so complicated that they make planning harder rather then easier.

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