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June 18, 2018

Organization Tip: Bullet Journals #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


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I love journals, and when I found out about the concept of a bullet journal, I was thrilled because it combines journaling and lists, two things I use to stay organized.

There are bullet journals with actual dots scattered across the pages. The dots are like the lines on lined pages; you write between the dotted lines. But you don’t need an actual bullet journal, any journal will do.

NOTE: I'll also add that you DO NOT have to follow the bullet journal "guidelines" below. I actually don't use the symbols anymore. I just use bullet points to keep track of the writerly (and fun) things I do each day. You can make it your own!


There are several things you can do in your bullet journal:

-      Number the pages so you can create an index at the front of the journal. Whenever you add something new to your journal, you can put it in the index so you can find it easily.

-      Monthly Log – On a couple of pages, create a list of all the dates down the left margin with the first letter of day.

For example:
1M
2T
3W
4T
5F
6S
7S
8M

Then use the log to keep track of things on your schedule, such as appointments, birthdays, and big tasks.

-      Daily Log – Put the date at the top and beneath it, record the tasks you need to do that day or the things you did, events, and notes. Either create the daily log as you go or the night before. Don’t do it so far in advance, because things change.

-      Journaling – At the end of the day, you can write about your day on the next page following the daily log.


-      Symbols:
   
          - A bullet is for a task.
          - When you complete the task, change the bullet to an X.
          - If you have to have the task to another day, change the bullet to >
          - If you scheduled the task (such as a dinner date), change the bullet to <
          - And events like a birthday are represented by an O
          - For any notes you jot down that day, indicate it with a –
           - An asterisk shows priority to a task. *
          - Did you get a new story idea, use an exclamation point. !
          - If you need to look into something (research), draw an eye.
          - For tasks that are no longer relevant, simply cross it out.


     For more information visit: www.bulletjournal.com/get-started/



   Bullet Journals for Readers:

     On Litsy, I’ve seen the most creative bullet journals made by readers that lists the books they want to read that month (these people can read a ton!). Many of them turn a spread of pages into an actual bookcase and hand-draw tiny books with the titles on their to-read list. It’s impressive! But others just make a good-old-fashioned list. Doing this helps them to keep track of any reading challenges they may be participating in, and there are many on Litsy.

     Bullet Journals for Writers:

     I don’t actually use my bullet journal to store my to-do lists. Instead, I put my to-do list on a scrap piece of paper on my desk. I have a new one for each day, and whenever I complete a task, I cross it off. At the end of the day, I create a new one for the next day, transferring over any tasks that weren’t completed, and throw out the retired to-do list.

     For my bullet journal on the other hand, I like to keep track of all the things I do (from my to-do list) for my writing career, from writing and editing to publishing and marketing. I love this because it’s a log I come back to it if I need to know when I completed a specific task. It’s also great proof that writing is my full-time career, if that should ever be questioned. lol And it’s nice to see all that I accomplish.

     What I Put in My Bullet Journal:

     - How many words I write.
     - How many pages I edit.
     - How many review requests I send out.
     - If I write/schedule blog posts.
     - If I record or upload new YouTube videos.
     - Updates I make on my blog or website.
     - When I order SWAG or items for book events.
     - When I schedule or send out a newsletter.
     - Blog Hops I participate in.
     - Anything I do for a blog tour or upcoming release.
     - Any promotions I set up.

     You get the idea. Everything is documented. Even non-writing things are documented, such as fun family stuff and errands I do. I’ve actually needed to look at my bullet journal to find out when I had a car repair done, so when I say this journal is something that you’ll come back to again and again, I mean it.

     Other Lists You Can Create:

     - Things you want to try in terms of book promo.
     - The steps you need to take to self-publish your next book.
     - A chapter by chapter outline for your current WIP.
     - Character profiles.
     - Story ideas.

     Oh, and you don’t need an actual bullet journal. Mine isn’t.  Use what you want and make it your own!


     QUESTION: Do you journal or make lists?



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73 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never thought about a bullet journal although I do make to-do lists sometimes.

sherry fundin said...

I love lists! I always have several going.
sherry @ fundinmental

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I have an old school planner/calendar where I keep track of pretty much everything. I used to keep it on my phone, but I like the tangible quality of the paper and using colorful pens. :)

nashvillecats2 said...

Congrats on your book. Loved the qoute at the beginning of the post.
Well done Chrys, things look good for you.

Yvonne.

Juneta key said...

I love the Bullet Journal too since I discover it a few years ago. It is the only journal that I have ever consistently used. That is because I can use it for everything and the list and tracking help me stay aware and feel like I have done something checking them off. I was using a sketch pad for my journal. I now use a 4x6 index card notebook created out of old book. I make scratch pages to go into it. I don't do anything fancy but I do use a different color on each day of the week to write in it. Bullet Journal is a neat system.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I have lists for my lists. LOL

Chrys Fey said...

So do I. LOL

Chrys Fey said...

Bullet journals are great for to-do lists.

Chrys Fey said...

Me too. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you for your sweet comments today, Yvonne!

Chrys Fey said...

I have an old-school planner, too. It’s on my desk. I put important notes, like passwords, in it.

Chrys Fey said...

A different colored pen for each day of the week? That’s a great idea! You could scan and search for a day so much easier if you need to recall something. I need to start doing that. Thanks for the tip!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys ... thanks for these ideas ... I need to sort life out here - and you've put forward some interesting suggestions and reminded me about Litsy - I'll be back to re-read and I hope implement ... cheers Hilary

Lisa Thomson said...

It's a great way to look back and see what you've accomplished as a writer. It's too easy to forget the hours of work we've put into our projects. Great suggestions, Chrys. I like the idea of using a notebook. I tried recording hours worked on a calendar but soon forgot to write them down. :P

Unknown said...

I've been using my Bullet Journal for over 2 years now. I've adapted things a little to better suit the variety of tasks that I do during a given day/week/month, because I need a visual reminder of what type of task it is. But if it wasn't for my BuJo, I couldn't keep my writing coordinated around my day-to-day job.

Charity Rau said...

I've considered trying a bullet journal, but wasn't entirely sure how it worked. I may have to try one now! :) Thanks for sharing.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I haven't heard of the bullet journal, but I like the idea of it. I've been meaning to buy a new daily planner because I always end up forgetting things I need to do or buy, and I think a planner or bullet journal like this one would help.

Carrie-Anne said...

I've heard great things about bullet journals. I'm still trying to get back into regularly journalling the old-fashioned way, and keep that habit. I fell out of the habit during my co-dependent, dysfunctional relationship with my ex, and I've gotten back in and fallen out a number of times since.

Michele Tracy Berger said...

Great post! My dear friend is obsessed with her bullet journal and has been using it for three years and finds it meets all her needs. I feel like I would start with the best of intentions and then stop using it in a month b/c I have multiple projects that I like to keep kind of separate (academic and creative). However, you have made me think this might be useful just to use for one thing--the writing career (which as you note encompasses so much). I like the way you use yours. Also, I write down so many things in so many different places, I sometimes get disorganized and then frustrated. A bullet journal might at least help with keeping track of the writing life.

Pat Hatt said...

Would sure be a great way to keep track. Never thought of doing it in bullet form. I've always been one to keep it in my head.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I use bullets in my articles for my job all the time. Maybe I'll have to consider them for my personal writing too. Great suggestions.

Liz A. said...

I still can't get my head around the concept. I've seen things about bullet journaling everywhere. People explain it to me. But... It's like a mental block. I just don't *get it*.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I make tons of lists. The Note function on my Macs is my friend.

The "official" bullet journal with all the different symbols sounds a tad confusing. But I like the overall concept.

Sherry Ellis said...

That's an interesting concept. I make lists and check things off. Making a journal sounds too time consuming, but who knows, maybe it isn't, and maybe it's fun to do.

Chrys Fey said...

I adore Litsy. Are you there?

Chrys Fey said...

I've gone back to my bullet journal pages to see when I had done something, etc. It's a great resource.

Chrys Fey said...

What's so great about a bullet journal is that it's yours. You can do what you want with it. Now, I don't really follow the bullet journal "rules" and do my own thing. I still love it, though. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I hope you do try it, Charity. If it doesn't work out, you have a journal to use for anything.

Chrys Fey said...

I love journals, so when I found out about the bullet journal I was instantly on board. Mine is always on my desk so I can keep track of every authorly thing I do each day.

Chrys Fey said...

I tried to do Morning Pages and was doing good for about a month, then I got out of it when I was too busy and stressed. I need to pick that back up again.

Chrys Fey said...

I keep track of all of my authorly things in my bullet journal, as that's my life. lol And I find it so useful to see the things I do for my writing career each day.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Bullet forms is so simply and fun.

Chrys Fey said...

I like to use bullets in my articles, too.

Chrys Fey said...

That's okay, Liz. You can always adapt your own way for the bullet journal. I took what I liked from the bullet journal guidelines and then made it my own.

Chrys Fey said...

I can't use technology for my lists. I'm old-fashioned. Pen and paper are my go-to for lists.

I actually ditched the symbols. Now I just keep bullet points for all the things I do each day.

Chrys Fey said...

For me, it's easy. I keep my journal on my desk to jot down anything I do for my writing career. It takes a moment, and then I have a nice record. :)

Raimey Gallant said...

I love your list of symbols for bullet journals. I'd never seen that before. I do have notebooks, but it's a stretch to call them journals. What I need is a journal with slanted lines that follow the erratic journey of my cursive (it's terrible!) One thing that I like to do (when I remember), is paste a chunk of sticky notes on the inside back cover of my notebooks, and I can set up tabs as they occur to me that way.

Unknown said...

I've heard of bullet journals many times, and thought I might give them a try, but I'm just not sure my mind works that way. Maybe it's time to give them a real try, though. They can be a helpful writing tool!

Loni Townsend said...

I've given up on journals. I do find them helpful and I'm really good at sticking to them for about a week. And then I stop and abandon it. Or I get caught between physical or digital. I'll be better at sticking to digital because I have it with me always, but like everything else, it gets abandoned. My best friend, however, absolutely loves her bullet journal!

emaginette said...

I'm all about written lists. The feeling of crossing something off. A wonderful sense of accomplishment as it shortens. Oh, and to re-write them because I've added more at the bottom. Excuse me, I think I got a little carried away. hehehe

Anna from elements of emaginette

Chrys Fey said...

It's not actually my list of symbols. I got it from the office bullet journal website. The link is in the post. :)

A journal with slanted lines would be genius! If someone created them, they'd make big bucks.

Chrys Fey said...

You can always make it your own, make it work for you. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's okay! Do what works better for you.

Chrys Fey said...

I love lists, too. Please, carry on. lol

Unknown said...

I like the idea of a bullet journal. I've never been able to keep any kind of journal, so this might work for me.
Thanks.

Erika Beebe said...

I am a list maker or else I wouldn’t remember anything from one task to the next :) Clever post today Chrys :)

Chrys Fey said...

It's much more laid back than a journal for writing long passages about your day. That's why I like it, because I struggle to keep a journal, but lists I do daily. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Same here, Erika.

Thanks! :)

Iola said...

I have tried a bullet journal, but find I prefer the trusty old diary.

But I have adapted some of the principles of bullet journals to my diary, so I now keep everything in one place rather than having lists everywhere.

For example, I chose a diary that had a weekly layout (for tasks and general to-dos), plus a monthly page (so I can plan and schedule blog posts), and a full-year spread for this year and next year (which I use for scheduling editing projects).

I've also started using some of the bullet journal symbols, but I'd forgotten many of them, so thanks for the reminder!

Louise said...

I have a bullet journal for ongoing tasks, regular tasks, and things to do next on my work in progress. I also have a scrap paper to do list for each day. If I don't have lists to refer to I tend to lose focus and end up procrastinating ^^"

Anonymous said...

This is super organized. I think I'm doing good when I text myself a reminder of something I think of while I'm at work or shopping or surfing social media or...you get the idea ;)

Elsie

Unknown said...

Your post is motivational for me to become more organized. I don't keep a journal, but I do keep a calendar of upcoming events, including my writing activities. I also am a "list keeper" of things I need to get done and when. I probably should integrate the lists into the calendar as others have suggested, so I am not serving multiple masters.

Chrys Fey said...

I use scrap paper to remind me of what I need to do every day, too. Then once I complete each task, I list it in my bullet journal.

Chrys Fey said...

I tried calendars but they would get neglected. The only thing I do with calendars is use it for daily word counts.

Chrys Fey said...

If I texted myself, I'd forget about the text. lol

Chrys Fey said...

That's great! I adapted bullet journal "guidelines" to what works for me, so adapting some of the principles to your normal journaling is a great idea. Journaling is a personal experience, so it's only right that it's different for each person. :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I write down my daily plans on a tablet divided into Monday, Tuesday, etc. When I don't accomplish a task for that day I move it down to the next day. My problem is I usually plan more than I can do. For my current WIP, which I've almost finished the rough draft, I'm going to write an outline of each chapter in a spiral to see if I'm repeating myself or leaving something out. We'll see how this works. Thanks for your ideas. I might try some.

Magic Love Crow said...

I make lists, but I lose my lists! LOL! I need to write them in a journal! LOL!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

No - but I need to re-look at it ... things need to settle here - cheers Hilary

Mark said...

Cool! I never heard of bullet journals before this. I currently make lists, but maybe it's time to try another way:)

Lauricia Matuska said...

I LOVE the idea of bullet journals (I have a whole Pinterest page devoted to it)! But I never knew where the name came from. Neat bit of trivia.

I’m always looking for new ways to use bullet journals. Thanks for the ideas.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I always find good information here, Chrys. Thanks so much for these suggestions. I keep journals as well. All best to you!

Chrys Fey said...

I try, Victoria. I just share things I know and hope others will find it useful. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I need to see your Pinterest page!

I'm glad you love bullet journals and can use these ideas. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Another way couldn't hurt. :)

Chrys Fey said...

A journal would definitely prevent you from losing them. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Let me know how your chapter outline goes. I like to use chapter outlines (which I also keep in a notebook) to keep me on track.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Will do. I'm starting at the beginning again with each chapter, with notes to check for certain things. Such fun.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love journals too. I have more than a dozen that my children have bought for me when they see a cool one. I do the same thing with my to-do list though I make them for a week and cross off as I complete them.
Great ideas for keeping track of things.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

So that's how you stay so organized! I'd never heard of one. Thanks for sharing!

Chrys Fey said...

I need a lot more journals. I wish I could go on a shopping spree for them. lol

Chrys Fey said...

It's one of my many techniques. :)

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