Increasing Productivity

Increasing Productivity

Via Unsplash, creative commons license

How do I do that?

That is a question I’ve asked for so long, especially this summer. With my day job, writing, a whole slew of other obligations and responsibilities I have, and also trying to have, you know, a life, it’t been hard to get things done.

My word count in July was awful. In August it was marginally better but not anywhere it needed to be.

By September I was determined to do something about it. I was running myself ragged with nothing to show for it.

My planner wasn’t working for me. I had a goal planner and a regular old daily planner kind of things. I was so frustrated.

I’d tried apps and electronic calendars, but they hadn’t worked here.

Enter the bullet journal.

An analog journal system, you say? How could writing things, and taking time every day to use, actually make me productive?

I haven’t a clue, nor do I care, given the results I’ve seen so far.

After two weeks of using the Bullet Journal (or #BuJo, as the hashtag is known on twitter) I’ve seen my word counts increase considerably. I went from 1100 words in a week (gah, that’s terrible!), to now having over 5k words, and it’s only Thursday. I’ve been just as busy as I was before, I just now can see where my time goes and adjust accordingly.

Better yet, I find that I’m actually living an organized life. I’ve been sleeping better knowing what to expect and not running around like a crazy person, flipping through my phone calendar, my old planner, and the post its I have everywhere to track my writing and other things. I know what is coming up, what I need to, and when I need to do it by.

And, what I like best is I can journal all of it any way I want…basically.

See, the basics of the bullet journal are very easy to follow. You create an index, a future log, and then, your daily pages. You can add collections if you want, but you don’t have to. (Collections stumped me at first, but not anymore. More on that later.) Watch the video. It makes sense, when you see how he prioritizes tasks and migrates them forward, if he hasn’t gotten something done.

I still hadn’t thought it would work and would actually be more work, but I decided to give it a try. The first day, I used his system. The second day, I was looking online for how to make it pretty (I love color, and I wanted my journal bursting with it.) That meant I had to visit Pinterest, of course. The third day I was practicing collections, banners and doodles in an old notebook.

Remember, you don’t have to do the banners, color, doodles, etc. You can have the regular system. But since I track so many things (weight, a meal log to see what I’ve eaten that day, exercise, word count, hours spent editing, and goal progress) I thought I’d try some.

Here are some pics of my pages–notice it’s colorful, but messy and not exactly perfect. And it isn’t supposed to be. I think, in fact, the BuJo reflects me, and that’s not a bad thing, imo. 🙂

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And this is another reason why I love my bullet journal. I can write and draw and be bad at it, and it doesn’t matter. I can make lists, track my savings, my meals, my spending, and my word counts, all in one place. Or I don’t have to. It’s my choice. I can also migrate tasks to another day if things didn’t happen during the day the way I thought they would. And somehow, by using this kind of creative journaling, I don’t feel so guilty about that. There is always tomorrow, after all.

You can make your bullet journal into whatever you want it to be and use it for how it best works for you. No pressure, and lots of ways to modify it so you can be your best, organized and productive, you.

BohoBerry has great resources if you want to get some bullet journal inspiration. Tbere is also a great youtube series she does, and a series of blog posts on Bullet Journaling 101. All of her hints and hacks were such a help. It can be so overwhelming when you start out, especially when you see all the pretty pages everyone has. Don’t try to live up to that when you first start out–you could find yourself frustrated and give up. Instead start slow, see what works and what doesn’t. Who knows maybe you’ll be ready to go all in come 2017. I know I will be. (I already bought a new journal for 2017. I’m using an old one I had for the rest of this year.)

Do you bullet journal? Have you tried it and loved it, or maybe you loathed it? Let me know in the comments!

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