A JOURNAL GUIDE FROM STRUCTURE TO LIST MAKING

I love journals and the possibilities that come with them. One of the reasons being is that I am obsessed with being organised, and writing things down has been my approach. What might have been more of a diary in decades past, is now a method of documenting everything from meal planning to wellness. I first heard about bullet journaling in 2016. On a flight to Africa with a colleague we chatted about notebooks and how we loved making lists. Alice, my travel companion told me about this new way of organising your notebook whereby you give it a structure; so each aspect of your notes has a section, and there’s even an index. Now this is one way of doing it, but if you look at a source like Pinterest, you will see so many approaches. You can get very creative with your pages via doodles and stickers depending on your vision for your journal. My approach is a bit of a mash up. So, here is my guide (and how I do it) to help you organise your notebook.

Image shows Lorna Weightman wearing a black outfit holding a journal that is titled Monthly planner 2021
Getting organised for 2021 – notebook from Primark

The actual journal

First off, it doesn’t have to be a fancy notebook. But I find one that has a dotted and lined page to be the most useful. There are so many to choose from and you can spend whatever amount you like. I love Moleskine or CDG London as two brands that have lots of journals for all kinds of notes.

How to structure your journal

Decide what you are going to use your journal for. I use mine for daily tasks, recording my work outs and runs, as well as planning specific projects. I leave three pages at the front to create an index for the whole journal and then number each page as I go along. The index just helps you find things. The beginning of my 2021 journal has a “month planning page” where I draw out a small calendar and divide the page into the number of weeks in the month. Then within each week, I make a list of the “must do” tasks that month. For example, this week includes, organising my TV segments and planning my two blog posts for the week, both of which are non negotiable. Then, I set aside a half a page per day to make notes and observations such as quick “to dos” or admin bits. I don’t include comprehensive to do lists in these pages (more on that in a bit).

Image of dotted page of a journal with hand drawn calendar and four sections below that marked with week one, week two, week three, week four
My January 2021 journal – monthly plan page

Bullet Journal Inspiration

Pinterest is the best source for bullet journal and organisation ideas. There are guides on layouts, content ideas as well as graphics that you can draw in. I like to buy stickers for mine; so I add in stickers for sections like Fitness. There are lots of these available on the web! Here is a link to some ideas on Pinterest for you to peruse.

The Lists

I love a good list. It’s like spilling my over active brain onto a page. Even if the task is something so minor I still right it down. But the issue with this is that it can effect my productivity. The to lists become way too long. So, I categorise my to-dos. The main one is work tasks. This is the longest one as well and my way of managing them is to keep them rolling. I don’t start a new one each day. I can look back on the month and see what I got done or I have left to do. If there is something that is a priority I highlight it so it jumps off the page. The easiest lists to make are work, meals, home and life admin. By having just four, you can easily keep track of what you are up to.

So, do you think a journal is for you? Will it help give some structure?

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