Firstly, I am going to get this out there... I am terrible at organising.

It's not so much the fact I am not good at time-keeping, quite the contrary, its just the fact I am distracted. Easily. Very very easily. Perhaps worryingly easily.

I remember when I was learning modern web-development I achieved a fair amount rather quickly because I had a schedule and a solid amount of work to be getting on with. I would watch an hour of video tutorial, spend the next hour summarising and writing my own code snippets and then I would work on a larger project. It was a schedule that I had created subconciously, and it was working.

Later on though, when I wasn't learning, I started to slip. Hours would be sunk into browsing the internet when I had set off three hours ago to write an important email. I would then feel horrendously guilty for my slip up and be unmotivated for the rest of the day. A viscious circle indeed.

Something needed to change.

#Bullet Journals

It was actually when browsing in a little shop during our summer holiday in Exeter when I glanced upon the The Bullet Journal Method, a book by Ryder Carroll. Bullet Journaling as a concept was something that was fairly new to me, however flicking through the pages of the 'manual' it certainly grabbed my attention and seemed as though it could be quite a effective solution to my problems.

I purchased the book and read it cover to cover.

#My System

So I won't go into detail about the whys and the hows of bullet journaling, enough exists on the internet already to persuade you one way or the other on the technique however I will go into the system I created for myself. Readers are encouraged to experiment with different tactics of jorunaling, picking elements from the book that work from them and dismissing other elements that weren't so effective.

I actually ended up ditching some of what is considered "standard", for a more lightweight approach...

At the start of each Month, I dedicate one Page to "A Sentence a Day". This is a short summary of the day, or whether there is a significant event happening.

Also at the start of each month I create a "Habit Tracker", that has 10-15 habits I aim to do daily, which I can tick off as and when. They consist of small tasks like 10 minutes of meditation, drinking water, exercise, posting to social media etc. I tick them off for each day as and when they are done. This is an idea that I borrowed from Atomic Habits.

For rest of the month is made up of daily jorunals.

A typical daily entry will be similar to this:


Slept ok. Morning meditation went well, it seemed to calm my anxiety slightly and is definitely feeling like less of a chore.

X   -   Fix bug 425 and create test environment.

X   -   Have 121 meeting with Christopher.

X   -   Meeting with Robert regarding re-architecture.

Typically I will create my task list first thing in the morning, and write a few short sentences about how I am feeling. I have found having this little space to write my thoughts is helpful for me, even though it isn't necessarily a 'Bullet Journalling' technique.

As tasks are completed, they are ticked off. If any task is delegated, I will put an arrow on it instead of a cross and I will know to revisit it the next day. If my anxiety creeps up on me throughout the day, I will make a note of it. Or if anything happens that makes me particularly happy or if I just find it relevant for some reason I will make a note of it.

#How This Has Affected Me

I have been following this methodology for about 5 months now. Having this 10-15 minutes to myself in the morning and throughout the day has had a massive impact on my mental well-being and making a note of significant tasks allows me to have some structure to work to that I was previously missing. I look forward to picking up my pen and writing my thoughts. Glancing back through previous months I have been shocked at just how I am completing more tasks, and have been much more positive in my reflections.

I was, to be frank, sceptical about how much of an impact it would have on me. But this is a "habit" that I do not see myself giving up anytime soon.