My Current Daily Journal Setup

Following up on my posts on how I set up my monthly and weekly journal spreads, here’s the layout I use for my daily journal setup. There are some things that are pretty standard for popular bullet journal spreads, but I tend to go my own way with a lot of things. It is definitely not neat and tidy.

The first daily page goes directly after the weekly spread. I only add one day at a time, so that I can take as much or as little space as needed. It’s always a minimum of one page, for ease of reference, but if I end up taking 10 pages of notes for the day, then that’s how it goes. The next day will start on the first fresh page afterward.

I write the day and date at the top of the page. Because I’m in Europe I’ve gotten used to that format, so it’s 15 March 2018 Thursday, and not Thursday, March 15 2018. And holy crap, it still smacks me in the head sometimes to realize that I live in Europe. Anyway…

There was a time when I listed the hours, or at least blocks of time, down the side of the page. I have so few appointments these days that it’s a waste of space. Instead I draw three blocks, about 4 lines each, and label them morning, afternoon, and evening. If I do have any appointments, events, or deadlines, I copy them from the weekly page into the appropriate block. As the day goes on I will fill in these blocks with shorthand on what I have done, rather than what I need to do. If I spend the morning working on a project, I write the name of the project.

Below the boxes, I write breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a line each. Since I do all of the cooking in our house, I write in what I plan to make. Now I can focus on other things. I plan ahead, so I don’t have to waste time in the morning thinking “gee, what should I make for lunch?”. I also know how much prep time I’ll need for dinner. Because I have health issues, tracking what I eat also means that I can go back and correlate meals to how I feel.

Underneath the meal log I write down the projects and trackers that I need to touch. These are color coded. If I need to update a tracker at the back of the book, I’ll put the name and maybe the page number. If I have a separate journal for a project, I’ll write the name of the book and maybe the page in it that I need to pick up from. This usually creates a column on the left-hand side of the page, although it will take up the whole line across if I have notes.

Either on a right-hand column across from projects and trackers, or under them, or possibly on the next page depending on how much I’ve got going on, will be what I call unstructured tasks. They’re not part of a project or tracker, and are usually a one-off or an irregularly-occurring task. For instance, I notice that the trash is full and need to take it out at some point during the day, or I received an email from a friend and need to answer them when I get a free moment.

If I’m feeling overwhelmed because there are a lot of tasks that I need to accomplish that day, I will turn the second page for the day into an Eisenhower Matrix. Drawing two lines to divide the page in half horizontally and vertically, creating four boxes, I will sort tasks by urgency and importance. I will include things from the trackers, project pages, and other journals so I have a one page, at-at-glance visual representation of my priorities.

After that, I just take notes. I color code them by project and category. Sometimes I write down things I need to follow up on later. A lot of the notes will get put into future pages, or project journals. The important thing is that the data gets captured. At the end of the day I review my notes, assign any open tasks to a date, and sort the bits and bobs of information where they need to go. This means that the last thing I do at the end of the day is usually turning the page and writing out the next daily spread.

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