Writing Wednesday: Simplified Bullet Journal Part 4: Advanced Techniques

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We’ve come a long way in our Simplified Bullet Journal series:

In Part 1 you learned how to use Rapid Logging and Signifiers to organize your notes and tasks as you write them in your Daily Log.

In Part 2 you learned how to Migrate uncompleted tasks, use Collections and connect them with Threading.

In Part 3 you learned that the Bullet Journal system was not originally intended to be used as a planning system, but there are ways to adapt it for that purpose.

Today we are going to talk about Advanced Techniques to use in your Bullet Journal.

The beauty of the Bullet Journal system is that it can become anything you need at the time. There is no pre-formatting to constrain you. You create what you need in your pages, when you need it.

You can make anything into a Collection by giving it its own page, or two-page spread, and adding it to your Index. For example, you can create a page for tracking your Finances:

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You can create a page to track your exercise:

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You can keep a list of quotes:

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You can track monthly goals, vacation time, baby firsts and development, book lists, anything at all. If you fill up the page, just use threading to continue the collection to the next available page.

Some things are more easily tracked when you write it as part of your Daily Log than on a separate page. For example it’s probably easier to keep your food diary in your Daily Log than as a separate Collection. If you track medical symptoms daily, you might prefer to write them in your Daily Log, especially if you want to see how your symptoms relate to your food intake, exercise, sleep etc.

So to summarize: Some things are more visible and easy to track if they have their own page as a Collection; things you need to track daily are probably best incorporated into your Daily Log with a specific Signifier for those items.

Look around online for ideas of different ways to use your Bullet Journal, but try not to get overwhelmed. Keep in mind: 1) What works for someone else might not be what you need, it might be too simple/ elaborate/ not relevant to your life. 2) Also remember that some of the images you see online are designed to get as many Likes as possible. Some people spend hours creating beautiful drawings, grids, spirals etc. to track their time, their goals, on and on. If you have the time and inclination for such things, that’s great. But don’t feel bad if you don’t. The main purpose of the Bullet Journal is Rapid Logging to get what you need on paper as quickly and easily as possible. Your Bullet Journal is your productivity tool and is meant to make your life simpler and easier.

Your Bullet Journal becomes your catch-all place to capture anything and everything you need to record. Then when the notebook is full, it becomes a permanent record to reference whenever you like.

Which brings us to the next question: When should you start a new notebook?

As I detailed in this post, I prefer to start a new notebook at the beginning of the month because it’s easier for archiving and finding things later. So if I have too few pages left in the book to get me through the next month, I go ahead and start a new notebook. I usually use 3-4 notebooks each year.

Other people prefer to fill their notebook all the way to the last page and start a new notebook the next day. Still other people prefer to start a new notebook at the beginning of an eventful time: going on a trip, the start of a new school year, etc. Or for folks who use just one notebook per year, it makes sense to start a new one at the beginning of the year. Do what works best for you. Again, the joy of the Bullet Journal is that there are no constraints.

Is there anything I didn’t cover that you have questions about? Please post a comment!

You can see the entire Simplified Bullet Journal series here.

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