I have to say that I was skeptical about the value of paper based planners. I come from a project management background and regularly used MS Project. I also used Outlook and KanbanFlow a lot to manage everything.
A friend got me into paper based planners recently. I had bought a $10 one from Walmart that had all the days broken down by half hour increments and I found it too inflexible for my needs. Most things I need to do don’t need to be done at a specific time of day. When I didn’t achieve something at the time I meant to, I felt like I was failing at my goals. Like I was always behind. I also have different needs quite often as I’m working on a number of projects at any given time.
I started looking at the Bullet Journal awhile ago, but they were ultra expensive. Recently, the company put one on Amazon for $11 vs the regular $60-75 Canadian price quoted on their website. Realizing I had been getting nowhere with my goals as of late, I got one when I ordered replacement ink for my printer.
My old one just wasn’t working. Most of what was already written inside was useless to me. I needed to be free of times of day most of the time. Many of my things are to-do items with no specific deadline other than my own. Also, I regularly get ideas for novels, movie scripts, and home decorating.
The Bullet Journal I got had no bells and whistles. No pages were set aside for the index, so I had to do it myself. While I’m finding it a little time consuming to write titles on the pages, I’m thoroughly enjoying using the planner. On yesterday’s page, I was able to draw out a floor plan for my sewing area. I now know what I need to get it organized and it feels great. I’ll be able to move some items (my yarn and sewing books) out of the one shelf I have in the living room and then I can put my music related books in there and get more of my home cleaned up. All because I got a planner that gave me the freedom to not only keep track of my mundane tasks, but also gave me the freedom to write whatever, however I needed at the moment I needed it.
Who knows? Maybe later today I’ll re-plot The Blood Waitress Club right in my planner! No more billions of random scraps of paper with novel scribbles all over the place! I can literally do whatever I want with this thing and it’s simplicity is what allows the freedom. My day logs are basically to-do lists. I have a month long goals tracker set up almost like a Gantt chart. I have a page that is a broad overview of the year listing events in the months they are happening in.
I still use Google calendar once I’ve decided where to slot my items into my day. It helps me know when I need to leave a task to work on another one. The two things are helping me get a routine in place and I’m getting up earlier so I won’t be struggling when September arrives.
The coloured pens I have are messy though, so eventually I’ll need different ones, but I’m mostly just trying to figure out what works for me, so colouring isn’t important yet. I will eventually need some ultra fine-tip pens though. It’s hard to write tiny with regular ones.
I’ve also begun planning a B-movie script on today’s page as I’ve started a 30-day script writing challenge to begin learning all about it. I *might* be a little eager to start school. I can’t wait until then to start learning all about this style of writing and how it differs from novels other than the obvious bits. Plus I keep getting all sorts of movie script ideas. They MUST be written!
I really thought paper based planning was silly in this age of technology, but I’m finding it more useful than anything else I’ve used. It’s customized to me and always fits my changing needs. I researched how others were using it ahead of time to think about what layouts I might like for myself before I got it.
With the planner, I’m achieving more every day. I’m also motivated to get out of bed rather than sleep in until noon.
I’m really excited about all this. Off to get a walk in before it rains.