I am not, by my nature, an organized individual. At all. My executive functioning skills are somewhere around those of a tornado-strewn main street the morning after. In theory, everything I need is somewhere close at hand, but good luck finding it.
So back in January, my wife started me using something called a Bullet Journal.
It’s a pretty simple idea, really: organizing by month, by day, by task. It’s a glorified to do list, really, but it’s tremendously versatile. Since I started using it, I get a lot more things done, I’m on top of my job-related tasks and my home tasks, and I’m generally more organized and less stressed.
I’ve tried a lot of organizational schemes over the years: checklists, reminders in my phone, calendars, day planners, agendas…none of them seemed to stick the way the bullet journal has. Maybe it’s the versatility: I can keep my task lists in there, but also put whatever I want in it (I’ve done set lists, written poems, taken notes for meetings, and all sorts of other stuff in there. I’ve even doodled on many of the pages). It’s great being able to see my month at a glance and do a more detailed plan for each individual day.
My journal is color-coded by type of task, I’ve incorporated an increasing series of symbols and cryptic notes to myself that only I understand, and I don’t forget to get things done the way I used to. I’m comfortable making the claim that this organizational tool actually saved my job last year, helping me stay on top of all the paperwork that comes with being a special education teacher, and it’s keeping me ahead of the curve this year.
I can’t show you the interior of my journal, since it’s very private (and contains information regarding IEPs for my students), but the official bullet journal website that I linked above gives you a great idea of their potential. If, like me, you struggle with organization and executive function, if you find yourself forgetting to do tasks, or struggling to remember what steps you need to take to complete some assignment or task, the bullet journal may be just what you need. I’m not shilling for them because of payment or anything; hell, the people who put this thing together don’t know me and don’t need me proselytizing for them, I’m sure. But I believe in this system and have seen firsthand just how effective and useful it can be. I definitely recommend it without reservations, and have even gotten a couple of my friends (and a student or two!) to give it a try.
At the end of the day, the bullet journal helps me stay organized and on top of things in my life, and that’s good enough for me.