Bullet Journal

Trying a bullet journal this year:

I’ve long been a fan of analog methods and have used an Emergent Task Timer printout every working day for the last 13 years or so.

Tech is the enemy of productivity (at least for us distractable types) when it comes to planning/organizing, so using tech for some things is like asking the fox to guard the hen-house.

We’ll see …

My January, 2022 billable hours are up 35% over my monthly average for 2021. Several reasons of this, but I feel the biggest factor is better focus, which is something I struggle with – I’d rather be learning than producing. The bullet journal method, which includes reflection, seems to be helpful in thinking about what you are doing and how things went, which is helpful in making adjustments and corrections. Awareness is half the battle.

One tool I’ve been using for over ten years is David Seah’s Emergent Task Timer. How I use it:

  1. the evening before, I plan my day by writing down projects/activities I want to work on, and then draw brackets around time blocks for that activity.
  2. customer project work goes at the top of the sheet, and the rest goes at the bottom.
  3. Then as the day goes on, I fill in bubbles to track where time was spent.
  4. At the end of the day, I draw a vertical line every 4 bubbles, then total up the hours for each row.
  5. I then total up project work hours, and total hours. I’m currently tracking project hours for each day in my Bullet Journal.
  6. After hours are entered into my accounting system, I circle the hour total so that I know it has been recorded.

Below is an example:

As you can see, things did not go as planned that day, but at least this gives me something to shoot for. At the end of the day, I know exactly where my time went.

Just finished the The Bullet Journal Method book – it is pretty good – well written and a lot of practical advice. Some quotes/notes:

  • handwriting triggers our critical thinking, helping us draw new connections between thoughts
  • Eyes see only light, ears hear only sound, but a listening heart perceives meaning. – David Steindl-Rast
  • perseverance and passion for long term goals indicated success better than any other predictor – Angela Lee Duckworth, Grit
  • tasks should focus on process (in our control) rather than outcome (not under our control)
  • Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration. – Jeffrey Zeldman
  • understanding why you feel compelled to do something will help you better define how to do something.
  • If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail – Benjamin Franklin
  • the point of tracking is just as much about cultivating self-awareness as it is about making progress.

Bullet Journal reflection continues to deliver good results. My billable hours for the last three months have been up 35%, 31%, and 78% over last years monthly average. My next exercise is to follow my daily plan better, so will be tracking hours off plan each day. I also plan to track hours writing. One thing has become obvious – it really helps to track a metric if you want to improve something (hours, count, $, etc). Binary values (followed plan, did not follow plan) are not real effective.

I’m also switched from pencil to a pen:

SAKURA Pigma Micron Black (XSDK-PN-49)

I like being able to erase pencil, but it seems to smudge more over time.

My wife informed me that I’m using a “scrapbooking” pen. :slight_smile: