[Editor's note: We are pleased to host Mich Bondesio as a guest author and curator here on the THINKERS Roundup. Learn more about Mich and her work after the essay and related links.]
"Analog technology can excel at specific tasks on a very practical level compared to digital technology.”
~ David Sax (Author of ‘The Revenge of Analog’)
As January is traditionally the opportunity for fresh starts, it’s when we feel most compelled to implement new habits, intentions, and goals, on both the business and life front.
Adding these new things to our list means we have new tasks to get done. But ensuring we stay on track with them can be hard work once the year gets going.
We stand a better chance of sticking with them if we have practical, foundational habits and systems in place to help us maintain course.
Putting pen to paper can be an effective and productive way to stay on track with your intentions, resolutions, and goals (and the tasks required to maintain them).
The key lies in using a simple and flexible system that fits with how you live and work. A system that also encourages mindfulness, so you can manage your stress better too.
The Bullet Journal Method
“The Bullet Journal Method will help you to accomplish more by working less. It helps you to identify and focus on what is meaningful, by stripping away what is meaningless.”
~ Ryder Carroll (Designer & Creator of The Bullet Journal Method)
Commonly known as #BuJo, bullet journaling is a popular, paper-based planning and productivity method.
While bullet journaling is often associated with lavishly illustrated layouts created by YouTube craft stars, the actual framework was designed to be a functional way to get things done, simply and easily.
Ryder Carroll originally created the bullet journal method to help him manage his learning and focus difficulties.
The system is flexible, customizable, versatile, and practical.
You can assimilate the whole method - or just a few parts of it - into your existing productivity framework.
And you don’t need to be ‘arty’ to use it.
This method works very well with a THINKERS notebook, as you have the added benefit of creating a digital version of your information, for backup and reference in different contexts.
The core components of the bullet journal method include - but are not limited to - a future log, a monthly log, and a weekly log.
The future log is the high level overview of things happening in specific months across the year.
This layout enables you to see your top priorities, activities, events, and date-specific tasks for the year at a glance. You complete the future log at the start of your year and come back to it at the start of each month.
Your Monthly Log provides the summary of goals, tasks, and events for each month. It informs how your daily and weekly tasks unfold.
At the beginning of a new month, you review unfinished items from the previous month AND you review the future log for that new month, drawing relevant tasks, events and to do’s into the current monthly log.
Your weekly log is where the regular action happens. This format helps you to drill down into the smaller details of larger tasks and activities and allocate them in manageable chunks.
The info for each new weekly log is drawn from several places - your monthly log, your electronic calendar, as well as updates and carry overs from the current week.
Allocate your tasks, events and to do’s to specific days, based on capacity and commitments. You can also include a tracker element to ensure you’re following through on developing those new habits daily.
Note: If you need to drill down further, there’s also a daily log option. However, if you already time block on an electronic calendar, you may find a weekly log is more than sufficient.
Committing To What Matters
To help you to stay on track with new habits and new year’s goals, the power of the bullet journal method lies not only in its organizational style, but also in how the cyclical review and migration process promotes reflection.
This review and reflection process helps you to monitor and adjust your course.
The system enables you to capture your thoughts, notes and tasks throughout the day, log your progress with new activities, and then regularly review your progress too.
BuJo helps you to recommit to what matters and let go of what doesn’t, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
In doing so, you’re able to clarify your priorities, plan accordingly, and stay on track with all the smaller actions that help you to attain your larger goals.
The added benefit of using BuJo with a smart notebook like the THINKERS Notebook is that you can reference and use your bullet journal in a variety of digital contexts too, whether that’s on the go, in a meeting, or in front of your screen.
When you’re consistently revisiting your goals, reviewing your intentions, and adjusting your actions, maintaining your resolutions for a full year becomes far more attainable.
Paper-based planning and tracking using the bullet journal method helps you to hold yourself accountable.
One page at a time.
Analog tools and getting lost
“Sticking to the same methods and tools for too long, no matter how effective they are for you, prevents you from discovering new opportunities. Even if most such experiments fail or prove to be ineffective, the benefit is often in the experimentation itself.”
Read: How analog supports creativity (Bullet Journal)
Mindsets that help resolutions stick
“Change is difficult. So even with the best of intentions, a well-considered plan, and plenty of support, any resolution to change can fail. But when any personal resolution for change succeeds, it's usually because there are three elements in place.”
Read: 3 Subtle mindset shifts to improve your resolutions (THINKERS Blog)
How the Zapier team uses paper-based productivity
“Our lives are just screens now. There's work and entertainment, sure, but in 2020 every meeting and most socializing is also mediated. Reality feels like a distant memory. Here are some things that have worked for us in connecting back to the physical world.”
Read: Paper Beats App (Zapier)
About Mich Bondesio
Mich Bondesio is the founder of Growth Sessions and the host of the Creating Cadence podcast. She also publishes a bi-monthly newsletter called Cadence - Life & Work in Motion.
Mich is a writer, coach and consultant with a focus on ‘Intentional Productivity’ and the Future of Work. Her aim is to help people develop more mindful approaches to work, to better support their digital wellbeing and creativity.
Mich loves journaling and is a fan of paper-based productivity methods. As part of her Growth Sessions work, she also offers talks and workshops on how to get from “To Do” to “Done” using the Bullet Journal Method.