Manage life with a Bullet Journal

Anybody who knows me, both colleagues and students, know that I am rather evangelical about Bullet Journalling. It was one of the tools that helped me with my MRes. It’s not a panacea for every problem in the world but it can really make a lot more sense to see what needs to be done, and what gets done every day. I carry it everywhere and basically manage life with a Bullet Journal. It is a diary, research notebook and external hard drive for my brain.

There are some great introductory videos on YouTube, but in essence you use an ordinary notebook, you set up monthly calendars, a future log and daily logs, and an index for finding things later. The index is more of a reactive contents page that you add to as you go.

How I do it

The types of pages and spreads that I set up are:

Personal Index

Work Index

Research/PhD Index

Admin: Mainly reminders of passwords, but not the actual passwords.

Recurring items: Mainly birthdays and anniversaries, but also recurring deadlines like using up my research budget.

Achievements: Good stuff makes you happy, and it can be useful for listing things on CVs or other places.

Future Log: A 2-page spread. Upcoming 5 months plus other. The first 2 months are likely more crowded so they get a page to themselves. The next 3 and other are divided into boxes of decreasing size.

Monthly Brain Dump and Eisenhower Matrix: A 2-page spread. The brain dump is a list of everything that needs to be done, or is migrated from previous future logs. It all gets migrated to the Eisenhower Matrix .

Eisenhower Matrix – basically a grid of Urgent/Not Urgent, Important/Not Important

The Eisenhower matrix is where I organize items from the Brain Dump. Anything with a date attached to it (like events) gets moved to the schedule and bypasses the matrix. I can then see how to rank items for the month.

Monthly schedule and task list: A 2-page spread. Events and tasks with deadlines go onto the calendar page. Tasks that are open go onto the task list. These are from the Eisenhower Matrix and ranked according to importance and urgency.

Publication Pipeline: Cribbed from Ellie Mackin Roberts.

Daily logs: To-do lists and rapid-logging items, including ideas, notes and more.

Lesson recording: What do I observe in my lessons. What is good, not good. What is my evaluation and what do I do next?

Anything else is fair game, too, like pages of maths for working out the values of formants and/or vocal tract space based on equations, ideas for writing, reading notes, and more.