Unlock Your Bullet Journal Potential
By Nick P.
If you’ve been following this series, you know by now we have been talking about how to bullet journal, but I like to get into the nuts and bolts of what makes something work.
For me, the index is the heart of the bullet journal, because you can find what you’re looking for at a quick glance.
However, I feel that the key is the brain because it helps you to categorize your item may be in the journal itself.
The above image is the key Wendy and I use for our business bullet journal. We each have our own bullet journal, but we also share one for business.
The key above was something agreed to, and use this key for our own bullet journals as well. Going from our personal bullet journals to our business bullet journal is seamless.
I will go through and explain each line to help you understand our key, and how it can help you too.
So as you see, we have five items on our task line.
We decided on boxes because what you cannot see in the image is we are using paper with a 4×4 grid, and the square/box outlines the grid nicely.
Also, we decided on this because it felt easy to get started. It gave Wendy some decorative touches, and it gave me a simple mark to use when I start a task.
Task – General task, something to be done.
Call – Making a phone call/Skype call
Text – Texting someone or messaging someone
Email – Email someone about a subject
Research – Researching about a particular subject for future projects
Since we have an empty box, it seemed the easiest way to mark that the task was started was to put a diagonal slash through the box. This lets us know that the task is being worked on.
Once a task is complete, we put another diagonal slash to create an “X”. This helps us move right through our tasks in the bullet journal, and keeps us on point on what we want to accomplish.
No Longer Relevant
Sometimes, a task becomes irrelevant. Rather than erase it right out of the journal, a slash lets us know that the task wound up not being needed. It still helps us move through our task list.
Moved to Next Day
Sometimes, things happen and you have to move tasks around, or you run out of daylight and find that there are tasks you need to move to the next day.
A perfect example of this is when we are designing a new product, and finding that it is going to take more time than we thought, so we simply move it to the next day.
This allows the task to get rescheduled, with the same key image for the task on the next day keeping us focused and on what we need to accomplished.
Moved to Future Log
Sometimes, you’ll find a task that just doesn’t have a sense of urgency in it, or should wait until you’ve accomplished other tasks at hand.
For that task, we move it to the future log and decide on which month it belongs in.
This way, we don’t lose track of the task. Instead, we make sure our focus remains on what is necessary to make progress.
Non-Task Related (But Still Important!)
So after we move away from all the task related stuff, we move into other items that we include in our bullet journals that are not directly related to tasks, but are still important to keep track of.
As you see, we use an open circle to mark an event. Something like a blogpost being posted up, or a video we would be working on that needs to be posted, that’s an event to us. It’s related to a task, but not directly related.
The triangle notes an appointment, such as a meeting with someone. While that could be an event, or even a task, we chose to mark this as an appointment so we can note the date, time, and place to make sure we schedule accordingly.
There are times when we need to travel, whether for business, or personal reasons. For example, this weekend we are traveling out of town, so we each have that marked as travel in our journals.
Notice how we used a shopping cart for this? That’s to help remind us we need to make a purchase for something. It could be Christmas gifts in our own personal bullet journals, or it could be materials for the business in our business journal.
You could also set this up in your future log to remind you of materials you’ll need to purchase on a regular basis.
See that dollar sign? Yep, it helps us remember we have certain payments to make. Whether it’s bills for your personal bullet journal, or web related costs for us here at Endless Inspirations, we all have payments to make. This helps us keep track of what expenses we have going out, so we aren’t hit with something that should be scheduled.
What if you have something you want to jot down for the day? This dot is our way of making notes to help us remember something.
I usually assign this to a task in my future log. I make sure I know and remember when it needs to be done. It doesn’t have to just be a task, however, as I also use it to remember bills and when they are due.
Wendy likes using this to make sure that she knows which notes are important and need to be re-read or have some type of action associated with them. While I don’t use it, she finds it very useful.
Pretty self-explanatory here, we use this to write down a question we need to get an answer for.
After all, how many times have you had a question you really wanted to ask someone, but when you saw them or had the chance to ask, you could not remember it?
This helps us remember those questions, and keep on track. It could be a vital question related to a task, or it could just be something that you thought of, such as what to make for dinner.
Sometimes you have those fantastic ideas and need to write them down before they disappear.
Personally, I wish I had some type of recorder in the shower because that’s where I get most of the ideas that help propel the business.
However, it doesn’t just need to be about business.
Ever have an idea about something around the house, and then forget what it is because you didn’t write it down?
So that’s why these key items are important to us.
What other items would use in your own key?
Do you find this key to be a bit overkill for your needs?
That’s the beauty of bullet journaling. You can use just what you need, without adding any embellishment just because you think you might need it.
For example, I know some bullet journals that only have four symbols for their key, and that was only because they added something after they started.
A key can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. In the end, what helps you stay productive and on task is what is important.
We’d love to hear what you think about this key, or what you would add, or even take away, by submitting something to the comments below!
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