I get a small thrill every time I check off an item on my to-do list. In fact, I used to start my list with the task, write a to-do list, just so I could check it off right away. Everybody has their way of managing (or attempting to manage) their lives.
We are sooooo busy
For those of us who are responsible for so many other people, their schedules, their meds, the condition of their underwear… it’s a bit overwhelming. Add to that pesky day jobs, pets, finances and a social life and I honestly don’t know how we are able to juggle as many roles as we do. Some of us are better at it than others and I believe that this is true for one of two reasons. Group 1. They have a high tolerance for chaos, are very lucky and have low standards. Group 2. They have figured out a system that works for them.
Group 1. I have been in the first camp and it never ended well. Group 2. I have finally figured out the best method for me to manage my life and I will share it with you here. I discovered this technique quite by accident, I didn’t set out to find it.
BuJo for life
At first, I was certain that it was too complicated and that I could never figure it out, or that it would take too much time and frustrate me. I was wrong on all counts, except that it was a method that was exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It’s called The Bullet Journal Method or BuJo for the cool kids. It’s been around for many years and it’s free. You don’t need to purchase a fancy program or a special journal. The creator, Ryder Carroll has produced loads of videos to explain his concept and he has written an extraordinary book called, wait for it, The Bullet Journal Method. The book is fascinating as it combines philosophy and instruction in a highly engaging manner.
Nuts and bolts
So what is the Bullet Journal Method and why do I love it so? Well, it offers me the chance to work off of daily to-do lists that are all in one place, a section to keep track of details and ideas for current and future projects, a place to write down goals and aspirations, and most importantly, it allows me to find all this information quickly and easily. Some people use it as a shorthand type of journal, others get very fancy with calligraphy and artistic flourishes, some use loads of stickers and graphic designs. Mine is very straight forward and plain. I use the basic system with an index, a future log, and each month I have a numbered list of the days of that month and I write in important events or deadlines. Then each day I create my to-do list. The thrilling bit comes when I get to check them off. If I don’t complete the task or project I simply put an arrow next to it and move it to the next day. I have moved some tasks for a full month until I actually did it, but that just provides me with more incentive and a bigger smile when I actually get to check it off.
What’s so special?
The magic is in the “collection” at the back of the journal. These are pages dedicated to projects, dreams, budgets, pets, travels, expenses, medical situations, whatever is on your mind. Each page is numbered (by you) so that you can find these important notes and records. When I have an idea for something new I start a page in the back of the journal and jot down resources and helpful thoughts whenever I come across them. I have eliminated lost slips of paper and scribbles on the back of envelopes (that are often discarded by mistake).
I have been using the Bullet Journal Method for two years and while it is not perfect, it has worked for me. Because it is very low tech I needn’t worry about battery life or access to the information. It’s highly portable and is now as precious to me as my phone. Also, the act of physically writing things on paper helps me to process and remember them. There are many systems that people use to manage their life and this is just one. It works for me and if you are looking for something to help you, it might just work for you. Check out the Youtube videos to help understand it. It seems complicated at first but it is really quite elegant in its simplicity. Also, don’t be put off by the fancy-schmancy calligraphy and designs that many people use. A nice pen and notebook that you like are all you need. If you’d like a deeper dive I highly recommend the book, The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. https://bulletjournal.com/pages/book
Not to brag, but writing this post was in my to-do list for today in my Bullet Journal and now I can go check it off. I love cheap thrills. The bottom line is to find a system that works for you. It will de-stress your life and open up opportunities you may never have considered.