I just discovered the bullet journal and am waiting patiently for the book to arrive from the library. It looks like I'm not the only one as there are twenty copies and over 400 holds. It's going to take a while.
It looks like a great way to keep track of all the things I have to do. I'm having a lot of trouble the last few months with time. There are only 24 hours in each day. I want to use these hours better but sometimes I'm lost as to how to prioritize the tasks that need doing. Enter the bullet journal.
I first learned about bullet journalling here where the author breaks tasks down into sprints. Something clicked and I suddenly wanted to try this for myself.
Reminds of the "Fly Lady" site that is all about easy ways to deal with house cleaning.
Basically it breaks things up into short tasks that are easily accomplished in 3-15 minutes to keep people focused and prevent them from feeling so overwhelmed they don't start at all. The benefit being there is an organized list of short tasks and it provides a dopamine hit every time a small task is finished, plus it keeps people from getting distracted and focusing on tasks that delay the original goal (i.e. spending 2 hours cleaning and organizing the kitchen drawers when the goal was to make the kitchen look nice for company).
I like the idea of breaking projects into sprints. This is from the aritlce I linked to above
Breaking down long-term goals into smaller, self-contained goals can turn what seems like a marathon into a series of Sprints. Sprints cover the same ground, just in shorter, more manageable intervals. This technique is a slightly adapted variation of a similar approach deployed in agile software development, but it can be powerful for tackling any type of goal. Even more modest-size goals can usually be broken down into smaller goals that can fit into the most impatient person’s life (I fit that description).
How are Sprints different from just dividing a goal into phases? Unlike phases, which are not ends in themselves, Sprints are independent, self-contained projects—thus the outcome is, let’s hope, a source of satisfaction, information, and motivation to keep going
1. Have no major barriers to entry (nothing preventing you from starting). For example, to learn knife skills, you don’t have to purchase an entire expensive set of chef’s knives. You just need a basic kitchen utility knife that you may already own or can buy with minimal investment.
2. Consist of very clearly defined, actionable Tasks. Your knife skills might be broken down into holding a knife properly, sharpening, peeling, slicing, dicing, cubing, mincing, and so on.
3. Have a fixed, relatively short time frame for completion (should take less than a month to complete, ideally a week or two). Just making a salad several days a week and mastering a simple vegetable soup recipe would get your knife skills up to speed pretty quickly.
This works in so many situations. As a cycling fan, I always tell people how you should not fear a 100 mile ride and get overwhelmed and demotivated, but instead break it down into 10 manageable pieces so instead of one fat loss you get 10 victories, each one motivating you to go forward.
The 'sprint' approach is identical to what my Dad used as he aged and couldn't do hours of strenuous gardening. Though it seems he likely used the same system when he was a young country lad.
He called it 'worrying'.
For example, we had a large multi-branched melaleuca tree in the front yard that decided to partially uproot itself.
Over several weeks he would cut off bits here and there until only the stump remained, then systematically cut through the roots with a spade; finally he built a small fire underneath it to dislodge the last big roots.
Voilà, he 'worried' it out of the ground!
I think the term originated in the Oz rural regions - work was often very hard and the weather dusty, hot and dry, so stuff would be done over a period of time to avoid health issues. It's also an ingrained part of the Australian psyche to do things like that - motivation is achieved in doing the small steps, not the big picture.
It's a good idea, particularly when there's a lot of unknowns or variables, because it allows plans to be progressively modified to achieve the desired outcome.
'Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.'
I am intrigued to learn that I have been unwittingly practicing a dumbed-down version of this for a while now.
Around the beginning of each year I will purchase a large (8.5 x 11-ish) planner, with each week laid out as a two-page spread and large spaces dedicated to each day. I will typically start a list of the things I need/want to get done that week, then start assigning them to specific days, and even specific times of day if necessary. Things that don't require being done at any particular time are shoehorned in wherever they'll fit, or may just remain on the 'master list,' being copied into the next week, until they get done. It's interesting to look back on occasion at the things that I 'needed' to get done that never actually got done because, as it turned out, they weren't that important after all.
My even more dumbed-down version, which usually I practice for the first couple weeks (or months) of the year, before things really get busy and I convince myself that purchasing a planner would make a difference, is to take a simple legal pad, write "Week of ____" across the top, and spill my brain onto the lines below. Just writing it down helps a great deal, by freeing up my brain from the necessity of remembering everything. Then I'll go down the list and put a letter next to the most pressing tasks, to indicate the day of the week they would best be done on.
It is immensely gratifying and motivating to look at a page with all sorts of tasks with a line through them because they have been completed. And if I happen to do something significant that wasn't on my list, I'll write it down and immediately cross it out. I want credit for it!
I have also found it useful to break tasks down into sub-tasks (or "sprints") as mentioned above. Rather than write, say, "Plant 10 appletrees," I try to make a point of breaking it down as far as is reasonable: "Purchase 10 apple trees," "Prepare planting holes for trees," "Transplant apple trees." Those are distinct tasks, which can be completed at different times, so breaking them down as such makes completing the 'big' task look less daunting.
I am not young enough to know everything. - Oscar Wilde This tiny ad thinks it knows more than Oscar:
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