My Bullet Journal and Managing a To-Do List

Business Life

March 22, 2016

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*UPDATE: If video is your thing, scroll to the bottom of this post to catch the all-new in-depth look into my process of bullet journaling all while tapping your feet to the tunes.

I feel like I need to preface this post by saying everyone has their own method to their madness. What works for some will not work for others and it’s possible that my system could very well not be a good fit for anyone reading this. Which inevitably means that I am talking to myself about my to-do list… or typing to myself. Whatever. Even though this is a very real possibility, I will continue on and brave the possible embarrassment. Just promise that you will stay as long as you possibly can in order for me to ease the degree of said embarrassment. Keep reading to get an inside look at my bullet journal and managing a to-do list.

Alright, so I get asked a lot about my method of keeping track of to-do’s. And when people see my notebook they usually have questions so I thought I would give you a peek inside the system that I have developed for myself and, at this point, pretty much can never stop. Just liken me to a crotchety 85-year-old man – totally stuck in my ways and yelling at the kids to get off my lawn.

It was about two years ago I came across the original brilliant idea from Ryder Carroll, creator of the Bullet Journal. Back then it was a creation of his in order to organize and keep track of tasks, ideas, schedules, etc. I believe today there is an actual bullet journal you can purchase so it seems that the idea has really caught on.

While this way of staying organized totally spoke to me being a pen and paper girl and all, I knew I had to customize it to fit my needs and how I wanted it done. I tend to have this issue. It’s why I can never invest in and purchase any type of planner. Because there is always something missing. Or something I want to change.

So there I was. Bitten by the bullet journal bug, but needing to find my system. The method to my madness if you will. And today I am going to share with you my bullet journal and managing a to-do list.

How I bullet journal and manage a to-do list | KaraLayneAndCo.com

For those of you who may be following along on here you might be wondering how this works with my love for Evernote. It’s a very simple explanation. I use Evernote to handle my “bigger picture” – the writing of blog posts, managing current projects, scheduling reminders and the list goes on and on. My hybrid bullet journal is for the day-to-day grind, the dirty work, the millions of to-do’s and my doodling while in meetings and phone calls. Very important stuff.

So let’s first start off with the tools. I loved the idea of grabbing a Moleskin notebook with great grid pages like you see Ryder use, however, I have this need for my notebooks to be ring bound. I am constantly folding pages back and I knew that a Moleskin wouldn’t lay the way I want it to when folded.

I absolutely love the Greenroom brand of notebooks at Target and just recently discovered they have come out with a leather cover spiral bound notebook. Score! It’s the perfect size and totally gets the job done.

Now, my luck in the past has historically proven that once I find a product that I am obsessed with, it becomes discontinued. So, dear Greenroom. If you are reading this, let me know where I can send a wad of cash in order to receive a lifetime supply of this notebook. Because a girl can’t lose her favorite notebook, you know?

Yours truly, girl with issues.

How I bullet journal and manage a to-do list | KaraLayneAndCo.com

The other necessities are my Pilot G-2 pens in 0.7 point. Wow. I really do feel like I am naked in a crowded room by divulging all of my OCD tendencies in one singular blog post, but believe me when I say, I do not and will not write with anything else except for this pen. It’s my ride or die. I am known to grab a new pack of them every time I am at the store whether I need new ones or not. They are littered throughout my life – in all handbags, in my night stand, in my car – and once one shows signs of quitting on me and the ink isn’t consistent then that sucker is dead to me and I move on to the next.

Along with my pens, I have to have my trusty Wite-Out Mini. Forget writing in pencil and forget using any other type of White-Out. It has to be these adorable little ‘Wite-Out’s’ that fit perfectly in my fingers, are sturdy for me to haul around everywhere and last quite a long time.

My last tool is the cherry on top and something that brings a smile to my face. And it may mean that deep down I am still just a little girl who wants to make things fun and pretty (there were several years of a Lisa Frank addiction back in the day), but it really does make the cold sweats of looking at my growing to-do list less painful. And you guessed it. There is only one brand and type of washi tape that I prefer and that would be by Scotch.

How I bullet journal and manage a to-do list | KaraLayneAndCo.com

Let’s get down to the actual system. I started with creating a key. Some of this is straight from the original Bullet Journal system and some are different or just not there at all. These few symbols allow me to pick out quickly within my notebook what it is that I am looking for or reviewing.

How I bullet journal and manage a to-do list | KaraLayneAndCo.com

Next I label a single page for each day of the month. So every day gets it’s very own page. I do not create a master calendar because I use iCal for the broader, birds eye view. I want to keep my organization as a daily outlook.

And as you can see my notebook in use, I simply note for that day any tasks, meetings/appointments, etc. You will also see that I have moved some things to another date or I have crossed something off that was cancelled all together. Ahem. In my defense this particular to-do was cancelled since I am under the weather a bit. I promise.

How I bullet journal and manage a to-do list | KaraLayneAndCo.com

Following the daily pages for a specific month, I will then select a certain number of pages to leave blank for notes, inspiration, ideas and of course, doodling. As I was just flipping through March, I know that all of my notes and ideas for that month will be right after my daily pages. And the process repeats – after March’s note pages, I will then create April’s daily outlook followed by April’s note pages

How I bullet journal and manage a to-do list | KaraLayneAndCo.com

To be as efficient as possible and to find things as quick as possible, I simply create a tab using washi tape and add it to where my current note section stands. This way I know before it is the current month and after are my notes and where I left off. Simple, but effective. And pretty.

How I bullet journal and manage a to-do list | KaraLayneAndCo.com

So there you have it. My own take on the Bullet Journal system and how I manage my daily to-do list and constant thoughts. And if you made it this far, you and I should really be friends so make sure and reach out below I can thank you personally for not judging all of my quirks. You can also enjoy a quick little video as well to help you get started:

And I really have to ask, what is the method to your  madness?

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