Several people have written or called with questions about the bullet journal I posted about here. Well, the real test of such a system is when life is in turmoil--and my life has been in turmoil this last two months!
Now, this isn't a bad thing. I went to Knitting Camp, John & I went to Portland, and then GIngko got a job in Bellevue, Washington (next to Seattle)--I'm driving her up there as soon as I post this! All excellent events, but each requiring that many different elements be tracked and that time be spent away from my desk. Plus, I confess to having a tich of travel anxiety that is triggered by travel planning.
The bullet journal has been a big help throughout. I'm a pretty organized person, and I've developed systems over the years that have worked pretty well, all told. But these systems relied upon a physical calendar (I have used the Seattle Children's Hospital calendar for 35 years, so long that I'm totally thrown by a calendar that starts the week on a Monday), a multitude of manilla folders to track the details of each event, and a steno pad to list each day's to-do list. When I became a knitter I added minijournals to the mix to organize information about each project I was working on.
That's an excellent system for a desk-bound person. But not so great if I am on the road. So having everything in one place has been a real help to me.
If you search "bullet journal" on the web you will see lovely examples of journals that use a bunch of different colors and symbols to track things. But of course I've simplified things to suit me (if you've taken my Design Your Own Fair Isle class you will recognize Rule #1: You Get to Do What You Want). Here are the things that make it work for me:
1. The index is key. At the back of the journal is the index page. The day-to-day activities are posted logically, but every so often they are interrupted by pages focused on specific events--you can see that I've got pages for "Color Workshop 8/15" and "Portland Trip," for example. These are where I list things that need to be done for the event and record information related to it (flight numbers or student names, as called for).
In the original post Caroline had asked about large and long-term projects (sorry for such a delay in response!). I give each one a page now. Some of these are specific, like those I noted above, and some are broad. I have a page for "Design Likes and Dislikes"; one called "Badassity," (inspired by Mr Money Mustache, a fantastic blog Rachael Herron told me about, focused on sane financial and ecological life choices) in which I'm pondering ways I can cut spending on, say, cell phone or warehouse costs. This is pretty broad, so I've listed things that need to be addressed and I've chosen one at a time to focus on--listing steps needed to make a change and then moving each step to the daily to-do until the big project is done.
The point being, for me, that the bullet journal has three main components: daily & weekly planning; specific event planning; and daydreaming, design plotting, or large projects. The latter two can be placed anywhere in the journal and are located by the index.
2. I don't bother with fancy symbols for different types of actions--a square works for everything. And no colored pens--black does just fine for everything. I don't want to be held back by searching for the right writing implement or trying to remember what the symbols mean. The photo shows that I put 3 exclamation marks beside "Portland hotel"--this event had been carried forward too often to be ignored! You will notice that I have listed information for Deb Robson's Shetland workshop in November--the kind of thing that involves coordinating flights and rental car with the arrival of my two friends. So much easier to do when I have their information in one place!
3. I don't do a month page any more--I still have my paper calendar (I'm so visual that I remember things by how they look on the calendar, and I found that a list didn't do it for me). At the start of every week I list things that are coming up that week or larger goals that I have that I'd like to work on that week. Every day I look at that list to decide what goes on the daily to-do list.
My bullet journal has turned into an invaluable tool.
PS Yes, there was an earthquake! We are so jaded that we woke, turned to each other and said, "O, it's an earthquake," and went back to sleep. In Berkeley we just felt a long smooth shaking, not like the sudden jolts that are scary! Thanks to all who wrote to ask how I was doing.