Organisation

As a very naturally unorganised and forgetful person, I need a method to keep a track of my time, and tasks, else it is guaranteed I will forget. My personal method of staying organised is a bullet journal, an all-in-one diary and list journal that can be tailored to your own personal needs. More information about the bullet journal can be found at bulletjournal.com, but in this post I’m going to talk about the way I set up my own bullet journal. 

The first page I use as a key, for symbols and colours. I have different symbols for tasks and events, and ways to mark important things, or favourites. These things I’m pretty unlikely to forget at this point, having used pretty much the same ones for the last three years, but the colour coding is switched up pretty often as I get different pens, or move from college to university, and change modules in university, as I have a different colour for each subject/module I’m taking.

The next double page I use as a contents page. I draw a vertical line about a third of the way down each page so I can have the page numbers on the right hand side, and I keep a third of the page for those so if something goes over multiple pages, or has interruptions because, for example, a list of books I want to read got extended over the months I was using the journal and needed to go onto a new page could still be listed with the rest of the list rather than having a new entry on the contents page for it.

On the next page I draw up a mini 6 month calendar. I have a dotted moleskine that I use as a bullet journal so I use one of the little squares for each day of the month, and organise the days so they look like an actual little calendar, with a column for each day of the week. This means I can look to see what day of the week a random future day is, and I also write the names of people over their birth dates to remind me of important birthdays.

Next to this I keep my ‘future log’, where I write long term tasks, or events taking place in the more distant future, for example concerts, or exam dates.

After this I keep a lot of lists: lists of books I want to read, films I want to watch, music to listen to, and with the former two I also keep a reading/watch log where I can rate each book/film, and I have a similar page for TV shows. At the minute I also have a reading goal of books that I track my progress on with a terrible illustration of a book where I keep filling in a bit more each time I read another book. I also have a kind of chart where I’ve written out the names of the TV shows I want to watch on the left, leaving a line for each series, and then have the episode numbers on the right, so I can fill it in as I progress through series.

After all of this, I move on to my monthly spreads. I like to split a double page spread into 4 columns, one for morning, afternoon, evening and general goals for the month. I then have a line for each day of the month, and label these with the date and initial the day of the week on the left. Then I write in any events I have in the morning, afternoon, evening column, and add in any birthdays I have to remember next to the respective dates. The space at the bottom of the page is designated for ‘notes’, which is where I write in things coming up for the next month, but this rarely gets used if I’m honest. I then have a habit tracker, with one column for each habit I want to get into (reading, writing, revising, practising languages etc) and use again one row for each day of the month, so I can colour in the corresponding squares if I am successful in completing the activity. I also try to track how much water I’m drinking in this by writing in the number of glasses instead of colouring in the square. The page opposite this is my ‘Memories’ page, where I write down nice things that happened during the month.

I used to have another monthly calendar over a double spread comprised of boxes organised into columns for each day of the week where I would write in when TV shows would be airing or when films would be released, but since going to university I’ve only been using Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch TV shows as I don’t have a TV license, so weekly release dates are rarely relevant to me any longer unless Netflix is releasing an episode a week, so I tend not to bother with this spread anymore.

What I have implemented since going to university is a finances page, where I track my monthly budget, by writing in how much I have to spend at the start of the month and then writing down how much I’ve spent in each shop and subtracting the amount from my initial budget so I’m always conscious of how much money I have left for the month.

The final part of my bullet journal are my daily pages. Most people just write these up as a list, but as someone who likes to plan in advance, this strategy doesn’t really work for me as listing means I can’t plan days in advance as I won’t know how many lines I need to leave. Instead, I split a double spread into four columns and 2 rows, giving me 8 boxes. The bottom right box is for weekly goals – things that I haven’t got a specific day to complete it on, but things I want to get done at some point over the week, for example, writing an essay or meeting up with someone for coffee. The other 7 boxes are dedicated to a day of the week, and I’ll copy over events from my monthly calendar, and add in any other tasks that crop up.

I’ll also add in random lists as they become important, for example, lists of items to pack for holidays, but other than that I tend to just stick to my monthly/daily pages and extensions of any earlier lists as they naturally grow and expand as I find more things I want to read/watch.

I would include photos, but all of my bullet journal is a mess, and much more aesthetically pleasing pictures are out there.

Almost none of the spread ideas are mine, I found them either on the bullet journal website or got the idea from posts on tumblr. The layout however, is mostly mine, as I’ve adjusted it, especially the monthly spread, over the last couple of years so it best fits my purposes. My advice for anyone wanting to start a bullet journal is not to get too set on the first layouts you use because chances are you’ll find things that don’t work for you and you’ll change them up as you go to adapt them to your personal needs. If you’re thinking of starting a bullet journal then go for it, they’re a pretty small investment (my moleskine costs around £10 but you can use any notebook you want, and any pens you want too – colour coding isn’t a necessity, just a nice addition to brighten up your pages.

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve found this somewhat useful or interesting at the very least.

 

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