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Experimenting with a bullet journal

For a bit more than 1,5 years, I’ve been using a Bullet Journal-ish system for my daily, weekly, monthly, semester, and (part of my) annual planning. Before than that, I used only digital tools. While I track most of the tasks I need to do with ToDoist, and plan with Google Calendar, I felt that I was missing something to help me identify priorities.

By now, I use the following:

1. Overview of my goals for the year
I develop my goals for the year in my journal, based on my list of 100 dreams. You can find my 2020 goals here. Note that I tend not to include work goals in my goals for the year (except really big things, like getting tenure).

2. Overview of tasks for the semester
I make a list of everything that I have on my plate, in the categories:
Research projects: list of funded projects and proposals to work on, with subtasks. I also list here my work with graduate students
Papers to write this semester: a list of papers I (excerpt from my Google Doc) I intend to work on during a given semester
Committee work: running documents under development with technical committees
Conferences: planned trips
Teaching: Courses I’m teaching and tasks for those courses, as well as BSc thesis projects.

3. Priorities and goals for the semester
In three categories: work, self, relationships.
In the work category I list the deliverables for this semester, and the number of papers I intend to submit in that semester (which checkboxes).
In the self categories go fun things I want to do.
In the relationships category go fun things for the family. I also put checkboxes for date nights and trips outside the city.

4. Monthly planning
The first page has the days of the month, where I note down special event.
The second page of the spread has the categories work, self, relationships, and the tasks for that month from the semester list.

5. Weekly spread
See picture above.
The first page of the spread has my most important tasks of the day per day, and a box to log words written and emails.
The second page has my weekly tasks in the categories work, self, relationships, as well as a log of accomplished tasks.
Within the work category, I have 5 subcategories: writing, research, teaching, service, admin. I identify maximum two tasks per week for each of these categories, around which I plan my time for the week in my Google Calendar.

6. Monthly reflection
At the end of the month, and before planning the next month, I address the following questions:
– What did I accomplish from this month’s task list?
– What did I not accomplish?
– What went well?
– What didn’t go well?
I also look at my toggl logs and write down how much time I spent in each category.

7. Log of workouts

I make a monthly spread to log my workouts.

8. Log of daily habits
I make a monthly spread in which I can color boxes if I did a certain habit on a day. Right now, I’m just focusing on one habit at a time (started with 1 in January and adding an additional one every month). I also log my daily minutes of screentime on my phone, since I’m drastically reducing the use of my smartphone.

9. Fun lists
Per season (with an extra one for the holiday season), I make a list of fun things to do as a family. I then plan these into my Google Calendar.

10. Additional reminders

I have a few extra lists, such as my list of 100 dreams and a list of what makes for a good weekend.

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