This is the first post of many for tips and tricks on how I map out my week using my Bullet Journal to keep on top of my life. I highly recommend that you experiment with different spreads that work for you week to week-- not only is it important for you to find what works for you, but it is also a great creative outlet to design your spreads every week. Simple or elaborate, this is a really fun way to get inspired. I have multiple spreads saved to a Pinterest Board devoted to Spreads (aka page layouts): https://www.pinterest.com/hillarykyeager/bullet-journal-spread-inspirations/ and I just started a Tumblr blog with things that inspire me for you to feast your eyes upon, too: Bullet Journal Adventures https://hillaryyeager.tumblr.com/
Okay, so let's get started. When planning out your week, I suggest you pick a day that you want to devote to the mechanical and possibly artsy elements-- like the design of your layout, and a day you want to do some brain dumping and actual organizing of your life. For me, I usually do my layouts on Sunday, and my brain-dumping on Monday. What is "brain dumping" you ask? Well, I'm so glad you decided to -- that is a space where you take a page (or two, or three) to just make a list or freewrite all of the things that you have coming up in the next week that you know you need to worry about, devote time to, or that is weighing on your mind in some capacity. When I'm done "dumping," I circle or highlight my higher priority items and start making some lists of the things that are really my "Time Sucks." You know what I mean.
I've designed this handy printable you can use or could make one of your own for your BuJo: List tasks by the most time consuming in your week. Pull out your Top 5 "Must Do" tasks-- the things that no matter what, if there is a hurricane, a flood, armageddon, whatever, you still have to do those things, those are priorities. Jot them down.
Now, consider: is there anything you can outsource (like drycleaning? can you afford having your house cleaned once a month if it saves you tons of time? Is it worth doing a lot of freezer meals once a month so you can save time in the long run? Is Shipped or another grocery service something to consider if grocery shopping is taking up a lot of time?). Can you allocate tasks? Can you ask a partner to help, or assign extra chores? Or, is there anything you can *put off * this week. That's right . . . I said it. It may seem like a crazy thing to suggest, but if looking at your tasks for the week make you want to break into hives, then maybe you need to just move some things to next week. And that's okay!!
If you've gotten this far and you're like "I don't know how I spend my time!" then you need to do a week's worth of TIME TRACKING to see how you spend your day! I'll have an entire post devoted to trackers, but follow me on instagram for some inspiration there.
Okay, lastly, there's a space for just charting out your regular morning | afternoon | evening routine. What are things you always do, every day that are constants. These can make me feel oddly comforted after I made a big mess of my life with to do lists that make me feel anxious.
When I identify a time suck, I devote a page a week to that on ways I can simplify that task in some way or another. I brainstorm, I give my future self Ideas. One thing that always kills me is mealtime-- I hate thinking of what to cook, what to make. So I challenge myself to a) plan a menu and b) make a list of recipes I want to try that correspond to a Pinterest Board with ready-to-go clickable menus.
When it comes to my week, I make a weekly spread that highlights the days of the week, a place for menu planning and a place to remind me of my goals for the week. I leave some white space for doodles or an inspirational quote. I forgot to take a picture before I started filling it in, but here's the method behind my madness: I put all my appointments or fixed things on my calendar, and then I fill it in with additional details as the week goes on. Once the semester hits, this tends to become a Morning | Afternoon | Evening organization, because it's easier for me to visually SEE what is going on there.
I like to mix it up every week with a new spread layout, because it's fun for me.
I hope this post gave you some ideas on how to structure your week. I'd like to end today with a writing prompt for you -- this one is about organization. Take some time to think about it and then list or freewrite for 5-10 minutes. Feel free to share your tips in the comments!