Thursday, February 06, 2014

How I Use My Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal

I've been using my Bullet Journal for almost 2 months now. Since everyone is going to use one of these a little differently, I thought I'd share what's working for me.

No Monthly Calendar
Yes, the little video says to create a list version of a calendar. But I just cannot do it. I like that my digital calendars stack events, show overlap, are automatically color coded, and send reminders.. And that they talk to each other. (I have a no longer supported program that syncs Google calendar with Microsoft Outlook.) That part of my system was already working, so I'm not changing it. However...

Yearly Calendar
...I do love my yearly calendar page. (Shown up top, at the beginning of the year, it has many more things on it now.) This is where I write events that are a few months out. Yes, I can check my digital calendar, but that doesn't help me for events that don't have a set date yet. So this is where I log upcoming but still nebulous events. I also log recurring things that I need to remember to do (like taxes or termite inspections(, and any big events (even if they have a date). This helps me know how much is going on in any given month so that I don't accidentally over schedule.

My yearly calendar has a heading for each month and under it I bullet the upcoming events. Under that I have a single list for 2015. There are far fewer of those events, so they need less space.

Comprehensive To Do Lists
I dedicate one page to home and one to work. My home list has subheadings like "Being a Responsible Adult" or "Things to Make" or whatever else makes sense for that grouping. I usually have one for each club/group I'm associated with, one for fun stuff, etc. At work, I organize by projects and usually have a category for general administrative stuff too.

I don't worry about adding tiny things to this list. You know stuff that comes up and you do immediately and it's done? I don't bother. But anything I need to track or do not *rightthisinstant* goes on the list. This is the place that all those "oh! I need to do X" thoughts go. This is where my action items from meetings go. This where the "you know I'd like to do x" items go.

Then I have a daily to do list. This is grouped by day and is created by referencing the home/work lists and picking which items need to be done /I would like to do that day. I add smaller items that come up through the day as well. So "pick up library books on the way home"? If I think of it at work and will do it that evening? Daily List. If I think of it over the weekend and know I will need to do it later that week? Home List.

I check things off as I do them. Once the page is full and/or I am having a hard time seeing what is unchecked because of all the checked off stuff...I start a new page. I have some post it flags that I used to mark work, home, and daily lists. When I start a new page, I move the flag to the new spot.

Meeting Notes
This has been brilliant. I am a note taker to the core, but I've never had a good spot for non-work related notes. If I took them on paper, I never knew what to do with them after. So I generally took them on my phone. But I'm a slow thumb typist and then everyone thinks you are being rude and antisocial. So! This is much better. I can easily reference them later. Because many of my meetings are monthly, if I don't use the whole page, I just take next month's notes in the same spot.

This is another thing that I used to do on scrap paper and then never know what to do with. Now, not only do I not lose it, but the index means it will be easy to find even months/years from now.

I keep a running list of restaurants I want to try (much better than my previous draft email method), but I could also use the method for books, websites, etc. In fact, I'm thinking of starting a general "recommendation" list for random recommendations from friends. The categories are all over the place, so unless they are restaurants, I think they will all go here.

Have you tried a bullet journal? Or a similar method? Does it work for you?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal

I first heard of the Bullet Journal on Miss Zoot's blog. She started talking it up this fall and had begun out and out evangelizing for the concept. And it intrigued me. After all, my work life was tracked with endless post its. Each neatly filled with categorized checkboxes. And, of late, I had been grabbing more post its for daily lists. And then there were the post its for voicemails, quick discussions with my supervisor, notes from talking with the team...all littered across my desk, getting increasingly unsticky, the corners stabbing me in the fore-arms.

And that was my "organized" approach. My not-work to-dos were tracked in email drafts, on scraps of paper, and, more often than not, my head. Which is fine if you don't mind nearly falling asleep and then waking up with a start realizing "I DIDN'T DO X!".

I used to be a daily planner sort of lady. In college everything went into the planner--first paper, then digital. When I got to grad school became unnecessary. My once busy calendar slowed to a steady rhythm of regular classes, my digital planner died and I never really replaced it. We moved and our social life had to start over from scratch. In the last couple of years though, it has vigorously taken root. I needed something better.

So late last year, I started a bullet journal. It took me awhile to fully commit--December was just So Very Busy--but once I did, I fell in love.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

My 10 Most Influential Books


There was a meme floating around facebook amoung my book loving your 10 most influential books/series. So of course I had to chime in. : )

1. The BabySitters Club Series
I read these started in second grade. They were my first chapter books and I was hooked. I outgrew them long before I reached middle school and eventually donated my entire collection to the local library to share the love.

2. Dragon Song/Dragon Singer/Dragon Drums
I poached a lot of books of my parent's bookshelves as a kid so I was fairly well versed in Sci-Fi (a favorite of my dad's), but finding Ann McCaffery's books introduced me to fantasy and dragons.

3. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
My cousin gave this to me for Christmas. At the time I pretty much read fantasy and only fantasy, so I was sure I would hate it. I started flipping through it because I was bored and inhaled it. My paperback copy is well worn. I haven't read it through in years, I don't know how it would strike me now, but I loved it then.

4. The Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn
My mom bought me this one based solely on the fact that it had "Dragon" in the title. A six book series of high fantasy it was politics! and intrigue! A strong female main character! I loved them in high school. I haven't dared re-read them as an adult though, because if they don't hold up, I'm going to be crushed.

5. Pride and Prejudice
I almost didn't think of this one, because it was the A&E movie that I was first introduced to. My mom and I would co-opt the TV and watch the mini-series each time it was aired. I was in my senior year of high school before I bought a copy of the book. I can reread this endlessly. I branched out to more of Austen's writing due to the brilliant adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that aired last year, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

6. Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office
I ended up with a copy of this sometime in college. I don't remember exactly when, how, or why, but that book was very helpful in getting me launched in the workforce. I've re-read it countless times. On my last re-read it struck me as rather tired and overly strict, which is a good sign that I've outgrown it and no longer need the advice, but I would still recommend it for anyone looking to get the lay of the land in a professional job.

7. Think
A friend recommended this a couple of years ago and her arguments got me back to the local library and reading again. Absolutely pivotal for me.

8. Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards and Unconditional Parenting
Both books discuss how toxic our reward obsessed culture is to fostering initiative and creativity. I found Unconditional Parenting first, but Punished by Rewards is broader, also covering schools and workplaces. These are books that I feel like I need to read over and over, and that I will pull something different out of each time.

9. The Story of Jane
A story of the "underground railroad" connecting women to abortion providers in Chicago pre- Roe vs Wade. A fascinating study on the sexism inherent in the medical establishment, the lengths women will go to to protect/help each other, and the varied and complex events that lead women to seek abortions.

10. Baby Catcher
The story of a midwife operating in San Francisco tells about the varied births she attended. Gave me an amazing confidence in the capabilities of the human body and a better appreciation for the breadth of personal experiences.
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