Recently Peter emailed me to ask for tips on bullet journaling in the Journal 21 day per page planner he won in last month’s giveaway. I was very happy to tell him I already had a post in the works on that very topic, and here it is!
Bullet Journaling is an excellent method for organizing your notes as you take them so they are convenient to find later. It’s easy to adapt the bullet journaling method to a planner. Some bullet journalers need to plan further ahead and end up drawing their own days or weeks ahead of time in a notebook, which is time consuming. Using a planner for bullet journaling has the added convenience of not having to draw your own days or weeks, allowing you to start bullet journaling right away with no setup.
The Journal 21 is a great planner for bullet journaling because it has a full page for every day, even Saturdays and Sundays. Days are timed from 8 am to 9pm, so you can write in your appointments ahead of time if you want.
There are also monthly pages, which I like to use as a monthly index of events as I talked about in Wednesday’s post.
I use the monthly calendars to record things like when I paid bills, doctor and dentist appointments, when I sent things in the mail (online order returns for example) and anything else I might need to keep track of, for quick reference. I also write the main things that happened that day, as shown above, just because I like to have an overview of how I spent my days.
There are several ways you can bullet journal in the Journal 21 planner:
Timed: You can use the times on the daily pages to create a time ladder to help you keep track of how you spend your time each day. You can schedule things in ahead of time, or write in how you spent your time after the fact, or both. Write notes next to scheduled items to record details, remind yourself of things to bring to meetings, etc.
In the example above I used the time ladder for scheduled events, blocking out the time. The arrow is my “need to follow up” signifier, so for those items I can easily see what I need to do to follow up.
At the right of the time ladder I wrote my task list. Fully colored in boxes mean the task is completed; partially colored in boxes mean the task is partially completed and still in progress.
Untimed: You can also use your pages in a freeform fashion where you just write things down as they come to you. Use whichever bullet symbols and signifiers are useful to you. These are the ones I like to use.
In this example I recorded lots of different things and used the following signifiers:
I used a * for the morning workout, with notes on how the workout went.
To record meals and snacks I used a dot with the name of the meal underlined and then details of what I ate.
Boxes are used for tasks, with filled in boxes showing tasks completed and partially filled in boxes showing tasks in progress.
Arrows under an item are notes related specifically to that item. For example, the gift I ordered for Mom’s birthday will be delivered by Friday, and I am picking up Sarah so she can come with me to pick up Josh at the airport.
I used a circle to indicate an event.
Circled times indicate scheduled events.
You can use this method to plan ahead, record after the fact, or both.
You can see how this method allows you to record a lot of information of all types very quickly and easily.
I recommend starting with as few symbols as you can get away with, and adding new ones only as you discover you need them. Starting off with lots of symbols is confusing.
Collections: You can write collections directly onto the page.
In this example I’m planning a birthday party. Some tasks are completed, some are still in progress, and the empty box shows a task I haven’t started yet.
You can also write the name of the collection into the date on the monthly pages for an easy index of which pages your collections are on.
If you need more space for collections, you can add a note booklet to the back of your book. This note booklet is smaller than the Journal 21’s page size and will fit in the back just fine, or for more pages you can use a Clairefontaine stapled pocket notebook.
Migration: If you need to migrate a task to a new day, just make a note of which date the task is migrated to. That way when you flip through your book and find uncompleted tasks, you know where to look to see if they were completed.
Threading: If you need to continue a collection on a new page, just indicate the date where the collection continues.
These are just some of the ways you can bullet journal in a Journal 21 planner. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you like.
Having the days pre-dated makes the book easy to use with no setup time. Having a designated page for each day makes it easy to find things later. And having your year encapsulated in one book makes archiving and future referencing easy.