Pre-Planning Your Bullet Journal
What You Need To Be Productive
By Nick P.
As anyone who knows me well knows already, I am a planner. I like to have all the details sorted out before I dive into anything.
Diving into my bullet journal is no exception. I wanted to be clear on what I wanted to see in my bullet journal, so when I got down to doing it, I could be in and out of it, and on to being productive.
So what I have here is going to be a very basic list, based on what Ryder Carroll designed when he came up with the concept of bullet journaling. I added a couple of things based on what I want to get out of the journal, but for the most part, it’s as minimal as possible.
So here’s my list of what I am putting into my bullet journal. This is what will work for me.
A key is a basic symbol list to show what status each task or item in the bullet journal is.
My wife and I share that key so that it is easier for us to talk the same language when we go over our business bullet journal.
I will write more about what our key is at a later date.
This is just a basic table of contents, listing what content is on what page number.
Now, I will say that I plan to be a bit more detailed than just saying something like “monthly log” or “daily log”.
My Index will have content like “Monthly Log – December” and “Daily Log – Dec 5-11” to help me find that information quickly, and keep me being productive with the tasks I have on those logs.
The Future Log is a quick look at each month, for important tasks and events happening that month.
For example, on the future log of December, we have Christmas, but we also have important events happening at our church that we want to be a part of.
The Future Log for each month has a monthly calendar in small form and a list of events or tasks that for that month.
In order to have a small burst view of things, and to help me make things happen quickly, I will be only filling in a future log for the next 3 months, or 90 days.
This will allow me to make quick of tasks, especially for business things that we want to get done.
I like to keep on track and get things done from a quarterly view, rather than have a yearly look.
This is where I deviate a bit from the basics that Ryder talks about, and added this for my own personal benefit.
I added a gratitude list to help me remember what it is I should focus on. You see, I found that focusing on what I should be grateful for allows me to see the good in life, rather than the things I do not have.
I also feel that gratitude helps us to better appreciate the things we do have and see the real value of what we have in our lives. That gratitude can be towards things we have, but I value people and concepts as well in my life more. I can go on all day about this, because having an attitude of gratitude made a big shift in my life, and it’s why it is important to add this to my bullet journal.
In other words, it’s not something optional to me.
Books To Read
Again, this is another deviation from the minimal list that Ryder talks about, but I it’s something that helps to continue my education.
Reading is education to me, and reading new books, new ideas, or new techniques is important to stay on top of things in my business, and personally. I’m a big believer in being a lifelong learner, and I know no better way to do that than to read.
My list will consist of business books, but also spiritual education books as well. As a Christian, I believe the better I know and understand the Word of God, the better I am able to share with those who would hear it.
Also, I set a goal this year (2015) to read 20 books, and I am very blessed to say that I accomplished that, and then some. I read 23 books so far this year, not including reading the Bible through twice.
So now we get back to the basics with a monthly log. I embellish it a bit, but not too much. Rather than the list type that Ryder demonstrates for his journaling, I actually draw out a calendar with enough space to fill in something for each day.
I also deviate a bit in this by using a different calendar. Because the bullet journal I use is a smallish one, my weeks on the calendar go from Monday to Sunday, so that I can have the weekdays on one page, and the weekends run into the next page.
This also leaves me enough space on the side to fill in important tasks and events that I transpose from the future log, plus whatever comes up during that month.
Now we get down to the day to day stuff. A daily log is about what you are working on for that day. What tasks, events, reminders do you have for this day?
For example, in my bullet journal for today (December 5 , 2015) I have the following:
- Attend UMM Breakfast (United Methodist Men)
- Post Pre-Planning Blog Post
- Edit Video
- Post Office Run (drop off orders)
- Drop off checks at church
Each of these has an important significance, which is why it’s in the journal.
I am part of United Methodist Men, and each Monday morning we have a breakfast and sharing of the Word at the church.
I’m very blessed to be the treasurer for this organization, so I make sure that the collection for breakfast is taken care of, plus any other financial needs, such as reimbursement for groceries purchased for the breakfast.
Posting the blog post for this is also important, as it makes sure I keep on task and getting out content that will help you the reader understand why pre-planning is important, or at least understand why it’s important to me.
I have a video in the works showing the stages of pre-planning, and how it will look in my bullet journal. I will have quick walkthrough going over each of the page types I’ve talked about in this blog post.
Post Office run is something I do just about every day and is part of fulfilling orders that come in through the various platforms where we sell our products.
And since I will be out, dropping off checks at the church will fulfill some of my obligations as Treasurer and making sure that our financial house is in order for UMM.
So hopefully this helps you understand what the daily log is about, and may also help you see the importance of a bullet journal. I like to keep it minimal, or sparse and on point, but that may not be how you like to do it.
You could be like my wife, who wants to decorate it up to help her keep doing it because that’s how she works.
Just Do It!
There really is no wrong way to do this. If you find a bit of decorating is your taste, then go for it. If you want to make it as colorful as an art journal, and that helps you to stay on task, then by all means.
If you are interested in getting started with a Minimalist Bullet Journal, we want to help you with that. We have a list of products below that will get you started. Please keep in mind that this will take you to Amazon, and if you decide to purchase these items, we will be compensated at no additional cost to you.
(Full Disclosure: The prices listed below are incorrect, but the software will not update to the correct price)
Minimalist Bullet Journal
Please let us know what you think about our pre-planning list by filling in a comment below! We’d love to know if you would be adding something to the list, or if you would take something away and why.
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