When I started using my Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal, I said that I wasn’t going to be one of those people that turns it into an arts-and-crafts project with a small side of productivity. I haven’t. If you look at my Instagram feed, though, you will see a rainbow assortment of highlighters, gel pens, washi tape, and even stickers. When I take photos of some of my spreads, you can see that they aren’t entirely devoid of asthetic considerations. So what gives? Am I a hypocrite? Have I given in and jointed the cult. It’s simpler than that. I’m embracing the idea of my bullet journal as a vice, in addition to a tool. My Bullet Journal as a Vice There are[…]

In trying to set proper priorities for my personal and professional life, I first had to establish some criteria. I looked over a few different methods, including some that I’d used before. Eventually I hit upon a priority matrix of my own devising, which smashes together the Eisenhower Matrix and the MoSCoW Method. There’s also a touch of David Allen’s Getting Things Done in the mix. You can use this matrix for making better decisions by filtering things that don’t matter out of your schedule. The Eisenhower Matrix This is allegedly the tool the U.S President Dwight D. Eisenhower came up with to prioritize tasks during his administration. He had a board divided with an x/y axis, with two columns[…]

At the start of any project, whether it’s a creative work, a major household reorganization, or setting up a new bullet journal, I create a magna carta. This is an idea adapted from No Plot? No Problem, the “bible” of National Novel Writing Month. You sit down with a piece of paper and make two lists. The first is all of the things you feel a good novel needs — what you enjoy reading, basically. The second is a list of the things that you don’t like and want to avoid in your own work. It’s really a brainstorming exercise, but it becomes a touchstone that you can refer back to as you’re writing your novel. It’s similar to some[…]

Keeping a journal is something that I’ve done for years. It started when I was in art school and always had a sketchbook with me. Inevitably, I started writing other notes in it because it was handy. That practice expanded into a commonplace book, where I wrote down ideas for stories that I wanted to write. When I entered the corporate world, I graduated to a Franklin Covey planner, which my employer cheerfully paid for. Upon leaving that life, and unwilling to pay big bucks for a “system”, I started playing around with my own formats. That’s what ultimately led me to join the cult of the bullet journal. Now I write it down, get it done, and better manage[…]

Over the past several weeks I’ve been playing around with various journaling styles. My goal has been to manage my professional productivity, while making sure I don’t overlook my self-care needs. One best practice that has been effective on both counts has been to keep a daily list of accomplishments. My daily log page is split into two columns. The left-hand column is then split into three blocks of time: morning, afternoon, and evening. I don’t have many appointments, so there’s no need for an hourly breakdown. If I do have, say, a meeting at 11am, I write it in the morning block, highlighting it or just using a color gel pen so it stands out. The right-hand column is[…]