Getting Organized With Paper and Pen

In my poking around the productivity area in January, I ran across several paper goal and to-do list systems. It may seem strange that this techie girl was considering such a low tech solution. But what I had found was that no matter what online system I used, I still wrote my daily to-do list on a pad of paper with a pen. What’s up with that? Clearly, the systems weren’t really working for me.

So I figured if pen and paper was what really worked for me, I’d consider a fuller system that included not just my daily to-dos, but also yearly, monthly and weekly goals. The productivity guru I talked about last week, Charlie Gilkey, has a paper system you can download and use with all these features, and I gave it a try for a couple of weeks. It’s well thought out and I’m sure it works for many people. It just didn’t totally fit my style.

bullet-journalThen I ran across a system called the Bullet Journal. It’s a whole system to help you create your goals, write out each day’s tasks, take notes, draw pictures, whatever – and keep it all organized.

The basic idea is that each page is a topic. A topic could be your daily list, or monthly goals, or notes about something. You may also have pages that hold collections, such as books to read, recipes to try, places to visit. As things come up you want to remember or plan for, you just start a new page. By creating an index at the front of your journal, you can easily find a particular page of notes whenever you need to.

There’s more detail about bullets that are to-dos, events, or notes, and how to move an uncompleted task to another day, or delete one as no longer necessary. Signifiers next to bullets can indicate priority, areas to explore, or inspiration. Monthly calendars give you an opportunity to regroup and think about what’s coming up next¬†month.


All in all, it’s an easy and elegant system. There are even recommendations for journals to use that have page numbers to ease creating your index.

Read all about using a Bullet Journal here. You may find it’s just your cup of tea.

I seriously considered using a Bullet Journal this year. I believed it would work for me and I do like feel of writing in a nice journal every day.

I was on the cusp of buying the recommended journal, having searched online and found where I could buy one, when I found another solution. I’m leaving it as a cliffhanger, so if you want to know what I love using, tune in next week!