How Bullet Journaling Can Boost Writing Productivity
January 22, 2019
Note From Rochelle
Happy New Year!
Each time I attend my coaching group meetings or chat with a colleague, I realize how much I need the support of other people to accomplish my writing goals. If you’re looking for something similar, consider applying to my Writing Goddesses group. We meet every other week and
+Share our goals and ask for support with our challenges
+Discuss a writing craft book
+Read and discuss each other’s work
In the next session, I have room for 2 or 3 more people. If you’re interested in joining us, visit the Writing Goddesses page on my website to learn how to apply or email me for more information.
How Bullet Journaling Can Boost Writing Productivity
For the most part, I’ve always used paper calendars. (I did have one foray into iCal, but it lasted for only about 6 months.) I struggled to find a way to track my tasks along with my meetings. I kept a pad of paper next to my desk with a record of my big goals and monthly projects and a list of my daily tasks. But I also had information on my phone, in various notebooks, and jotted on slips of paper stuffed in my purse and piled on my desk. It was overwhelming.
Then I read online about this new fad: keeping all of one’s lists in a single journal. The journal held monthly goals, daily to-do lists, project notes, meeting notes, writing ideas, and anything else one needed to record. I tried it—and it worked. This system allowed me to keep all of my goals and tasks on a single page. I could easily notice what I needed to do next. Because I kept track of everything in a single notebook, I didn’t have to chase down notes I’d scribbled and left in odd places. (Okay, sometimes I had to do that—but I didn’t do it as frequently. And besides—what would life be without a bit of challenge?)
I’ve been using this system—a bullet journal—for about 5 years now. I’ve noticed that I’m getting more of my work done with less stress. And, I’m writing more. In today’s tip, I’ll talk about the various parts of the bullet journal and how you can use it to support your writing projects. These tools will work for you whether you are an entrepreneur trying to manage a blog, a business person writing your first book, or a seasoned professional writer.
The Bullet Journal defined:
The bullet journal is an analog system for tracking goals, tasks, and habits. Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer and author of The Bullet Journal Method, developed it as a way to be focused and productive.
What it looks like:
A bullet journal is a notebook with numbered pages. Many bullet journalers have favorite notebooks. When I first started, I used a small artist’s sketchbook to layout my week and track my tasks. Now I use the Lechtturm1917, sized A5, with dotted grid. But any notebook that works for you will work for bullet journaling.
Bullet Journal Pages
Key. The key is a simple record of the symbols used in the bullet journal. These symbols help the user distinguish the types of entries (task, event, note), their priority, and when they need to be completed.
Writing Hack: Develop symbols to help you categorize distinct writing tasks such as drafting, revising, proofreading, marketing, and publishing.
Index. The index is kept in the front of the journal, like a table of contents, to note where and when specific notes are kept. This can be helpful if you are using your notebook to keep track of special projects.
Writing hack: Add page numbers and an index to all of your journals—the bullet journal, daily journal, and idea journal—to track ideas about writing projects and more.
Future Log. The future log is a chart that notes important events and deadlines in the next 6-12 months.
Writing hack: I use my future log to plan my blog posts and track deadlines for writing projects and assignments. I’ve found that keeping this in my bullet journal gives me the opportunity to see and plan the big picture much more easily than I can on the computer.
Monthly Log. The monthly log notes important events, deadlines, goals, and tasks in the next month. It often includes a calendar.
Writing hack: I use the monthly log to note my current writing and publishing goals as well as the small steps I need to take to achieve them. As I plan each week, I look at the goals and copy only the tasks I plan to tackle into my weekly to-do list. The practice keeps me from being overwhelmed. It also means I don’t have to copy over undone tasks every week—but I still know that there’s a record of them somewhere.
Weekly Log. The weekly log notes the events, deadlines, goals, and tasks for the next week.
Writing hack: Every Sunday afternoon, I spend about an hour reviewing the past week and my monthly goals. This gives me an opportunity to strategically plan how I will accomplish my goals. Then I schedule my tasks into my calendar, including adding writing time.
Daily Log. The daily log is your daily record of tasks, deadlines, events, and notes about your day.
Writing hack: Like many professionals who are tryng to cram writing into a full schedule, I need a way to track what I’ve accomplished each day. With the daily log, I can track what I’m writing, how many words I wrote, or how much time I spent writing.
Collections: This is a way to organize related items, tasks, and notes such as shopping lists, book and music lists, or projects. The photo at left is my collection of delightful breaks I can take each day.
Writing hack: Most people who are writing blog posts or books get flooded with ideas. Instead of keeping notes in a gazillion different places, we can create a collection of random ideas. When ideas turn into projects, we can add a collection page for each project. Some writers use the collection pages to note important ideas and information such as scene structure, key ideas for a current writing project, or a description of their ideal reader. Thanks to my bullet journal’s collections, I’m less likely to have to search through my journal, Word documents, and phone notes to find my ideas.
Trackers: Bullet journalers use trackers to record their progress on both challenging and fun habits such as exercise, eating, and reading. To the left is an image of my gratitude tracker.
Writing hack: A tracker can be a helpful way for you to note writing progress—such as how many words you’ve written or how much time you’ve spent writing. It can also be used to keep a record of followers and engagement on social media sites, queries and proposals submitted to agents, or blogs you’ve contacted about guest posting.
Your turn: How have you used a bullet journal to track writing projects?