From 2006-2008, I worked at a job that I absolutely loathed. I served with a mission board doing fund raising and recruiting. This was also my first experience with working remotely. I never quite got used to the nature of the work, the unstructured schedule, and the constant travel.
But this was perhaps my most educational work experience. I had to learn how to become productive with no set schedule, no supervisor. I had to learn to structure my time for maximal effectiveness.
This is when I became a disciple of David Allen and his book, Getting Things Done. It’s as though I learned how to work for the first time! Outside of the Bible, this is the most life-changing book I’ve ever read. I’ve kept up some version of his system since then.
I started out with a loose-leaf paper planner. With the emergence of online tools and smart phones, over time, I went to using apps instead of the paper planner. While this removed the necessity of carrying the paper planner everywhere, it also meant that I was either on the computer or on the phone all the time.
Earlier this year, I said, “this won’t work.” So, I searched for a tool that would combine the best of both features. I discovered Ryder Carroll’s The Bullet Journal Method. There are many sites where you can find the particulars of using this tool. Here is the official one.
The greatest benefit is that it is portable, flexible, and I don’t have to always be on my phone or my computer. However, there is kind of a “cult of the bullet journal.” I had to free myself from the pressure of making my bullet journal look like this.
Or like this:
So, mine is absolutely minimalistic. It’s illegible to anyone except me. But it’s done the trick and has gotten me back on track producing, and off the smartphone.