Do you wish you had more time? LOL, don’t we all! The problem is, that’s the wrong question be ask. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s impossible to manifest more hours in the day.
Or is it…
There’s a big problem with the concept of time management. Truth is you can’t really manage time. The seconds and minutes continue to tick away at the same pace regardless of what you do. The only aspect you can manage is yourself – and the way you use your time.
So while you may not be able to create more than 24 hours in a day, you can give yourself the illusion that you have sufficient time to do it all. And in this article, I’m going to share a powerful strategy that works for me — and which I believe will work for you too.
So keep reading to discover how you can free up hours each week with the help of your bullet journal daily log. You won’t know yourself!
Step 1. Create a bullet journal daily log habit
There was a time when I knew next to nothing about productivity and self management (oh how different my college days would have been if I knew then what I know now!) Instead, I used to lean on hard work. I believed if you want to get more done, then you have to work harder and for longer. I used to wear busy like a badge of honor too.
Perhaps you’ve tried this strategy as well. If you have, then you’ll know this strategy just isn’t sustainable. True, you might clock up a few ridiculously productive days in a row, but then you need another week to come back from the exhaustion. What’s more, while you’re so busy hustling, other aspects of your life get dumped to the back burner – and that has a negative impact on your emotional wellbeing.
That’s why it’s important to find a strategy that works everyday – it’s where your bullet journal daily log comes in. Get in the habit of planning your day on paper first. Resist the temptation to plough on with anything, and figure out your plan of attack. It will make all the difference to what you accomplish. That’s because:
- Planning on paper clears your head. When there’s less chaos roving around in your brain, you have more bandwidth to focus and crack on with the task at hand. In short, you can do more!
- You’ll also reduce decision fatigue. If you know what to do now, next, and later, you won’t faff around when you’ve finished one task wondering what to after.
- You’re less likely to forget something important too. There’s nothing worse than a curve ball upsetting your plans because you overlooked an urgent task or appointment.
That’s why I never get to work until my day is planned out. What about you?
Step 2. Master to-do list
Once you’ve committed to completing a bullet journal daily log, your next job is to figure out what to put on it.
Your job here is to strike the balance between stretching yourself while avoiding overwhelm and overload. You know how it is… when you have a lot on your plate, you overestimate what you’re able to accomplish. All this does is apply more pressure as you feel yourself slipping behind. Far better to be realistic with what you can do – so you don’t get disappointed.
This is where your master to-do list comes in (I like to use Best Self’s Weekly Action Pad for this).
I create one of these each week and use it to jot down all the tasks I have to get done along with due dates. When I’m creating my daily log, I refer back to my weekly action plan and select the tasks I want to get done today.
Then I add these to my daily plan.
I base my task selections on my priorities, what else I’ve got coming up in the week, and how long I think each task will take me to do. With this step complete, I have a clear focus of what work I need to get done.
Step 3. Time block tasks
So this third step was the real game-changer for me.
I’ve always been a massive fan of lists. I’m one of those people who feels seriously motivated when I’m able to strike a big line through a completed job. It makes me feel really good!
But there’s a problem with to-do lists. It’s far too tempting to focus on the little and easy jobs first (so you can check off tons of stuff!) While those quick wins can give you a boost, it may mean you’re neglecting the harder, but higher leverage tasks.
In short, if you always get the easy stuff done and keep pushing off the tasks that truly move the needle, you’re going to undermine your progress.
That’s why I never work through my to-do list from top to bottom.
Instead, I timetable tasks according to:
- Bandwidth available
- And what else I’ve got to complete
Notice I used the word timetable (because this is the game-changing bit!)
Have you noticed how you’re conscious to get to meetings on time? What’s more, you wouldn’t intentionally double-book yourself because of the commitment you’ve made. Somehow, when an appointment is scheduled into your day – between a certain timeframe – you respect it.
Imagine the impact on your day if you were to treat every task like an appointment.
Instead of giving your tasks an open-ended timeframe, you decided that you’d:
- Write email – 10am-10:30
- Write blog – 10:45-12:45
- Lunch – 12:45-1pm
^ you get the picture…
Mark up your bullet journal with a timeline and you can plan it all in. When you treat tasks in this way, you can leverage the power of deadlines to keep you focused. You’re less likely to waste time procrastinating, which means you get more done (in a more reasonable timeframe).
Step 4. Plan in everything
When you time block your day (as in the step 3 example), you’ll find you have more time. Tasks get done more efficiently and as a result, you have more minutes to play with. Also, it’s easier to see if you’re falling behind. For example, if it takes longer to write the email than planned, I already know I need to make adjustments. In turn, I’m less likely to need to work later.
Imagine the difference… being able to finish work on time so you can have quality moments with your kids or partner.
This is where your bullet journal daily log can create a step-change in your life.
I recommend you don’t plan in your work tasks alone. Also plan all the fun stuff that often gets dumped because you’re either too tired or too time poor. For example, plan in that yoga class. Make time for meal prep. Schedule in a daily walk to get some fresh air.
In other words, don’t allow your commitments to take everything else from you.
It’s a lesson I’m constantly reminding myself to get 🙂
I hope you found this useful. My daily plan has been a game-changer for me. Sure, I still work the occasional crazy day, but I’ve got sooooo much better at making time for more of the things that are important because time blocking has saved me hours.
It’s my hope that it will do the same for you too.