Tag Archives: lists

Productivity, Here I Come: Starting a Bullet Journal!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I posted about my to-do list conundrum. I’m a lot busier these days, and I’ve been desperate to find a single journal/planner/to-do list method that would work for everything. Something I could use for work, for personal things, for my writing WIPs – for my LIFE, basically.

I couldn’t find a single productivity app or method that seemed capable of doing what I needed it to do. When I wrote the post, I’d decided to just go back to the DIY planner I’d made last year, as it was in a nice Moleskine and was still partially blank. And I would just date stamp the pages and put my to-do lists on there.

I had lovely comments on that post, some of them with great suggestions. I really liked Bernadette’s description of how she uses Remember the Milk (RTM), so I set up an account there, and downloaded the app. (I love the way you can have repeat tasks on RTM that are based on a time period "after" you last performed the task – their example was, "clean out fridge three months after cleaning out the fridge", which I thought would be pretty awesome for a lot of household chores.)

But RTM didn’t work as well for me because of all my lists. Not to-do lists, but just lists of things, whatever things happened to be on my mind. I do that list thing a lot, you see. And you definitely can use RTM to make lists, but on the iPhone app, if there’s no set due date for an item (which I wouldn’t have on a "books to read" list, for example), you have to choose "never" and I didn’t really like the sound of "never".

So I searched around for some list apps for the iPhone, figuring I’d just use that in conjunction with RTM and Google Calendar (with which RTM syncs really nicely) and ended up downloading an app called Quick Drafts, which has the ability to turn any list you make on it into a to-do list.

And there I was, all set to be super productive. And guess what? It didn’t work. There were too many pieces to my system and the only thing I really used was Google Calendar because I’ve got so many deadlines and I find some days I’m having to scare myself into working by pulling up a monthly view of my calendar and staring at it.

Then, this past weekend, I came across this: the Bullet Journal. I actually discovered it when I was searching (yet again) for a productivity app on my iPhone. One of the apps I was looking at included a line from someone’s review in the description, and the review said something like, "If you use the Bullet Journal method, this might be an app you could use in conjunction with it."

That had my head spinning. Bullet journal method? What the heck was that? So then of course I had to Google it, and I found the site, and I watched this video:

And I was hooked. I was so hooked I spent another couple of hours searching Google to see how others had implemented the system, because it’s such a flexible system and I was in the mood for more tips and ideas. Unfortunately, not too many people seem to have written about their own personal implementation of the method.

I did come across some cons of the system, like not being able to plan ahead, but honestly, I plan to do forward planning in my bullet journal and it seems easy enough. I figure when I have something that comes up in the next month, I’ll just add that month’s page right then and there, even if it might be a few weeks away. Since the index is the fabulous thing that holds the bullet journal system together (and you can imagine how much I love that, being a professional freelance indexer and all), all I’d have to do is add that month to the index and away I go. If I got at all concerned about being able to find the various monthly calendar pages (I probably won’t, but anyway …) I’d just highlight them in the index.

Anyway, I was so thrilled and excited by the Bullet Journal method, I immediately rooted through my stash of notebooks to see if I had just the right thing. Only to discover I didn’t have a blank Moleskine of the type that I wanted – the hardcover squared, in large (which is about 5" X 7"). So I ordered it then and there.

And it just arrived today!

I will be happily occupied getting my life completely organized over the next few days. (Well, I’d settle for nearly completely organized. Actually, who am I kidding? Even partially organized will do.) I even plan to do bullet-point journaling in it. I’m really hoping the Bullet Journal method is exactly what I’m looking for. One place for all those notes, lists, scribbles, ideas, thoughts, to-dos and events. Plus Google Calendar, of course.

A List

I’ve finally been having some sustained success in journaling! And all it took was (1) making my son write in a journal every night as part of his homeschool curriculum (2) which he absolutely refused to do unless I journaled right along beside him (3) so I sat down reluctantly that very first night and that’s when I discovered it’s really easy if I just list in point form things and thoughts from my day.

Ahhhh. What a relief! So I thought I’d try the same thing with a blog post!

1.  I love smaller handbags these days. We walk everywhere now and guess what? That huge handbag filled with half my life for those just-in-case moments is, well, really really heavy. I never realized how heavy it was before because back in the suburbs, whenever I went out armed with everything but the kitchen sink, I was usually in a car, the handbag at my feet. A few months back I swapped it out for a much smaller handbag. I feel kind of naked not carting around all the things I might need in an emergency (flashlight, Chinese fortune cookies from our latest foray at a buffet restaurant, colouring books for the little one, headset in case I get bored at the doctor’s office, doodle pad, lined notebook, index cards, gum, pens in very colour of the rainbow, nail file, mints – you know, that kind of stuff) but I sure do walk a whole lot quicker.

2. Bad copyediting. There’s a lot of talk about bad editing these days, most of which is aimed at self-published books, but I’m sad to say I recently read a book by a much loved author – The Vault, by Ruth Rendell, the latest Wexford instalment – and I don’t think this book, published by a traditional publisher, was copyedited at all. Many of the mistakes were minor, but there were a few that took me right out of the story, mainly because I just had to look back at previous chapters to check previously stated facts. I even thought one of the mistakes was a plot point that I’d caught! A character was described as having parents in their seventies who were clueless about his life, so when we “met” these parents chapters later and they were middle aged and knew everything that was going on, I was sure they were imposters, and a part of a plot. But no, it was just a mistake that hadn’t been caught.

3. Another love: snail mail. I’m just loving my mail these days. Back in February, inspired by Carrie, I sent out a bunch of letters and notecards, and the end result is, I’m still sending and receiving snail mail now! And to top things off, I decided to sign up for Letters in the Mail at The Rumpus and it’s been so much fun getting mail from various authors as well.

4. Reading, reviews and sketchnotes. I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading lately, and I’ve been finding myself doing sketchnote reviews. (If you’re not familiar with sketchnoting, check out Sketchnote Army. To see a previous sketchnote review of mine – well, okay, the only sketchnote review I’ve posted so far – check out my review of Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator, by Jennifer Allison) Luckily, we finally bought a new printer, the really fabulous Epson Artisan 837 (and all I can say about this printer is, omg, I can now print from anywhere in the house and even from outside of my house via email), and it has a scanner, too! So if I can get my butt in gear, hopefully I’ll be posting sketchnote reviews of what I’m reading.

5. Navel gazing. Cause I always need to do some. I had a bit of an ergo-mishap about three weeks ago (some gremlin messed with the height of my typing chair and what chaos ensued!). Arm pain has finally subsided and I am starting to feel back in form. Three weeks of drooping around the house listlessly does not make for a very happy Belle, but hopefully I’ll be able to re-activate my recessive “doing” gene now.

I love lists! So, what have you all been up to lately?