It’s now been three months since I’ve started using a modified version of the Bullet Journal to keep track of tasks both in my professional and my personal life. I’ve been very pleased with the way it has worked for me over the last three months and I have been improving on how the system works. As you remember from my October 5th post ARC Bullets for the Office I was using a full circle as a way to track the time I spend on any given task. The circle was 12 hours around with a second circle of 12 hours inside the first.
This image shows the final 2016 version of my custom day-at-a-glance. As the day progresses I colour in the marks around the outer circle using a pre-assigned colour coding system. The lower part of the page allows for general notes in the large blank square as well a to-do list on the lower right quarter of the page. The date are written in the upper half of the inner circle while the lower half is used to make note of the weather. I’ve been using this page since December 1 and I’ve had some minor problems with it. First is the wasted paper below the boxes. It allows for additional notes, but it can end up looking like a disorganized mess. When writing details about the time spent around the circle, the size available to write it is based on how long I worked on the task. If I spent 1 hour and 45 minutes on a task that gives me a lot of space to write the details of the task. However if it’s only a 15 minute task that is too small for any real detail. Overall the final page has a very cluttered look to it making it difficult to track down information when I’m going back looking for it.
For 2017 I decided to sit down and design a completely new calendar. I reviewed the Bullet Journal system and devised a system that was based on it, but one that would fulfil my need of time/task tracking. I started with designing a month-at-a-glance page for each of the twelve months. Rather than using a traditional block calendar I used a chart. Not every day will have a task, so much of a traditional block calendar would remain blank. This system allows for each event to be listed along with it’s date and code. The code will be used to determine if the task is a birthday, an anniversary, an appointment, a work requirement or a general to-do item. Currently I am considering using small, coloured stickers for the coding system on this page rather than wasting ink to fill the box. The next field is the numerical date followed by the details of the task. As things come up they are added to this at a glance calendar to ensure they are not forgotten until the day of. I plan on starting each Sunday going over the different notes for the up coming week. On the back side of this page is an expense page in order to keep track of money spent throughout the year. On the back side of this pages are a blank grid that allows additional information to be captured, such as the details of a doctor’s appointment, if required.
The biggest part of my new Office Journal is the Daily Pages. These are one day to a page, with a day on the front and back. Each page is uniquely dated at the top to ensure it is not forgotten. The new page is intended to work much like my 2016 pages, but should have a cleaner appearance at the end of the day. This time the full circle has been divided into two half circles. The outer circle is intended to track the time during the day, when I’m my busiest, while the inner circle is to track the night, when I’m most often not as busy. The difference here is that rather than writing the details around the circle in whatever space is available, I’ve added timed lines for details. The lines are in 30 minute allotments, but you can adjust those as needed by writing either :15 or :45 over the :30. I may need to review this after giving the page a through testing. The lower part of the page is for notes, diagrams or doodles. Comparing this with the 2016 version there is a lot less wasted space on the page as the margins are cleaner looking. The colour coding with be laid out in a legend which is custom printed in colour and is punched so it also acts as the TODAY bookmark.
The most important part of the Bullet Journal system is the Task To-Do pages. Rather than writing various task items on a given day and then have to rewrite them if they are migrated forward, I use these ARC Task Pages. Using the same system as defined under the Bullet Journal I list every task that I must ensure gets done in two different colours, one for office and one for personal. As one day ends and I move to the next day, I move this page forward through the calendar (which is the greatest advantage of the ARC system) so I never lose track of to do items. As new items come up, they are added to the list and when I reach the bottom of the page (2-sided) I gather up the tasks that are not complete and transfer them to a new page and toss the old page. I’ve used this system for the last three months and I am surprised by how well it works for me.
I’m planning on shooting a video of how my Office Journal works as it would be so much easier to show rather than tell. There are other pages to my system which I’ll discuss in future posts.
Have a good week,