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Which kind of journaler are you? One who finds a layout she likes and rides with it ’til the wheels fall off? Or one who likes to dibble and dabble to keep things spicy?
Usually, I’m a sucker for a consistency, but in the case of my bullet journal to-do lists – i.e., my daily and weekly spreads – I’m in a bit of an experimentation phase.
That’s because I just started my first bullet journal a few months ago, mainly for the productivity perks.
Since then, I’ve come across quite a few layout options for tracking my daily and weekly tasks. And the best part is they’re insanely productive and ALSO really PURTY!
I’m not huge on the doodling, but hey – a girl still likes nice things ;-).
If you’re in search of new ways to display your to-do lists keep reading. I also included lots of pics! (If you’re a bullet journal purist, this probably isn’t the post for you 😉 but feel free to read along if you’d like!)
Pin me to come back to this post later!
let’s be real: the Standard, run-of-the-mill To-Do List Sucks
Take a minute to think about your life BBJ – before bullet journaling. Were you writing out a to-do list everyday, either by hand or on a phone app?
It was likely a neverending list of tasks you couldn’t possibly finish in one day.
By the end of the day, you may have completed a mere 6 of the 25 items on your list and 5 things that were never on your list to begin with.
You were left with 19 unfinished tasks just sitting there…staring up at you from the page and judging the hell outta your unproductive self.
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That feeling is the essence of why standard to-do lists suck. A to-do list should help you get organized AND it should help you feel GOOD about the progress you’ve made.
At the end of the days in your life BBJ, you likely didn’t feel good about your to-do list…and maybe didn’t feel all that great about yourself.
What Makes a Bullet Journal So Much Better?
If you’re not familiar with a bullet journal, you might be wondering how this little notebook makes a to-do list any better. It’s just a set of bound dotted pages, no?
Well, I mean… yes, that’s what the physical journal is. But the bullet journal system is much more than that.
Ryder Carroll, bullet journal creator, devised a systematic approach that promotes mindfulness and intention when you’re writing down the things you have to get done.
By being more attuned to the tasks you’re writing down, you become better at prioritization and not overloading yourself with trivial tasks.
6 Ways to Rock your bullet journal to-do list
1. play Musical Post-It Notes
Any fellow Libras in the house?! You’re gonna relate to this one…
One of my biggest challenges when starting my bullet journal was the fear of making mistakes. I’m really picky about how things look (and I’m ALSO indecisive AF).
Symmetry. Colors. Neatness. I need them all to be in tip-top shape.
This hack gives me that same level of aesthetic I love, without having to worry about spending lots of time to accomplish it.
There’s no rule saying you can’t include sticky notes in your bullet journal, and this layout involves just that!
Draw out 8 blocks on one page of your bullet journal. In each of the 8 blocks write out a short positive, encouraging message: “You go girl!” “Yassss!” “I see you!” etc…LOL
On small sticky notes, write out the 8 tasks you absolutely want to accomplish that week – your highest priority items – and insert them into each box.
Once you complete each task, remove the sticky note and bask in the positivity!
Alternative: You could also replace the sticky note with an item of lower priority to keep the momentum going 🙂
2. What’s Dwight Eisenhower Got to Do With It?
Any idea why I’m mentioning Eisenhower in this post? If you’ve read my post on 26 ways to manage your time better, you might have an inkling.
This former president had a method of prioritizing tasks based on their importance and their level of urgency:
- important and urgent,
- urgent but not important,
- important but not urgent, or
- neither urgent nor important.
Using these 4 categories, Eisenhower then decided whether to prioritize the task, schedule it for later, delegate it to someone else, or nix it altogether.
When I have a WHOLE LOT going on, I tend to rely on the Eisenhower matrix to help me prioritize tasks.
3. Keep It Simple, sweetie
This is the standard weekly spread I resort to most weeks. I choose to include only Monday through Friday since my 21-month-old sucks all predictability out of my weekends.
I also indicate what week of the month it is so that I’m constantly reminded how much time I have left to accomplish my monthly goals.
I use leftover space to add than an inspiring quote…or in my case, an inspiring lyric from one of my favorite songs! 🙂
4. Stand Out From the Crowd
Are you familiar with MIT? Nope, not the school.
M-I-T, as in the Most Important Task. I learned about the MIT recently. So now, I try to incorporate it (or at least the underlying concept) into my daily task list.
The idea is that your MIT is the one task that you have to accomplish each day no matter what. If you don’t get ANYthing else done, you tackle your MIT.
I’ve found that it really helps with prioritization and feeling GOOD about crossing things off of your list.
I denote each day’s MIT with a star to help it stand out from the crowd :-).
5. make every week spirit week
Do you remember Spirit Week in high school? OMG, Spirit Week was LIT! Each day was a different theme – pajama day, football team day, tacky day, etc.
Don’t worry, I’m not gonna pull the pictures out…
The idea of Spirit Week is the basis of theme days.
It means that I dedicate each day to a certain activity or set of activities.
Mondays are slow-starters for me. It’s tough to get back into the groove of the weekly grind immediately, so I take advantage of the slow brain to get administrative tasks done.
Tuesday, it’s time to get cranking so I dig into writing, etc. Wednesdays are for conducting interviews with multi-passionate millennials and creative entrepreneurs for The LaziMILLENNIAL Lounge.
You get the picture. If you’re not quite ready to write out every single thing you need to do in a week, take the higher-level approach of using theme days!
6. home life
Household chores and other things I need to do around the house usually aren’t time-sensitive, but they are time-consuming. So I try to distribute those tasks throughout the week so everything doesn’t fall on the precious weekend.
This layout is super helpful because I can visualize when everything will get done, but I also have the flexibility to shift things around if something comes up (or if I get lazy).
I use the same bullet journal key from above.