A friend was explaining bullet journals to me recently so I explained the system I’ve been using for a few years – and here it is for you to try too.
You will need:
A smallish notebook, something that will easily sit open on the arm of your sofa.
A variety of pens with different colour ink.
Put a heading of the date at the top of the page (not on the first line). This is to remind you when to refresh you lists. I don’t usually bother because I redo mine on the first of the month.
Starting with a zero and ending with 59 put a number at start of each line – every line now represents a minute of the hour.
Take a different pen to the one you wrote the numbers with and add a task or treat next to each number. This could be dusting, a craft project, something you need to buy, exercise, admin, going out for a coffee, taking a vitamin, booking a manicure, updating your accounts… anything you would like a prompt to do. I put in all the craft projects I have started or would like to do. I also add the places I like to visit like the Fashion and Textile Museum and various markets.
When you have filled in all 60 lines, draw a vertical line next to each item to separate them from the next item. Now, change pens and add another 60 tasks/treats. Trust me, you will very soon fill up your lines. If you don’t fill them all up straight away don’t worry, you will add more things as they occur to you during the month. You will also cross out completed tasks that don’t need to be carried over each month like renewing insurance. My tip is to write small, you have way more things to add than you’d think.
Now that you have filled in as much as you can think of, take a look at the time. Say it is 11:25 go to line 25 and pick something to do from the entries on that line. If there is a craft project there, that is now your craft project for the day. Do a bit of it now. When you get to a stopping point take a look at the time again. Say it is now 11:35, you go to line 35 and pick something to do there, if you already have a craft project you have to ignore those now and choose the most sensible thing to do on that line – something that is more of a task than a treat. Now you can do a bit more of your craft treat. Say this task and treat have taken exactly one hour so the next time you look at the clock it is 12:35. Go back to that line and choose something else to do. You don’t have to do the same task over and over again, this is why it is good to have lots of items on each line. If there’s nothing you can do from that list, do a bit more crafting.
Try to keep space at the end of each line every month to add tasks in during the month. If you realise your garden is all raggedy you’re going to need add a task to book in an extra visit from the gardener or (heaven forbid) go outside and do something foul with a trowel yourself.
If you feel so inclined you could colour code your entries, black for housework task, purple for craft treats, blue for health things, green for shopping and so on.
Tasks that are one-offs you just strike through when complete, if you find they do crop up again you can just add them in to the next available space.
A lot of things carry on from one month to the next, tasks like emptying bins or doing the ironing but also craft projects and reminders to go to the gym or have a sauna. To stop this being boring, (you don’t want ironing to always be at 22 minutes past or you’ll find yourself always avoiding 22 minutes past) at the end of the month you start again but mix everything up. The way I do this sounds complicated but it’s actually simple as a pimple.
Number the lines of your pages again. Now look at the time. Say it is 15:56, go to line 56 and copy all the tasks there as the first tasks on each line from 1 onwards in the new list. Cross them off the old list. Look at the time again, OK its only 15.57 so go to line 57 and copy all the tasks from that line to the next set of available numbers and cross them off the old list. Keep doing this until all last month’s are crossed off and transferred to a new list. It doesn’t take as long as you’d think and it’s satisfying to see gaps appear for tasks you completed last month. Plus it reminds you that there are some things that carry on month after month that you really should have completed, like a tax return and it can give you a kick up the bum to get on with things. When that happens I tend to duplicate them on other lines so there is more chance of you hitting on it before the end of the month.