Semester Productivity, Hacked

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 14 January 2016

Anyone who knows me knows that there is nothing I love more than a well-organized planner. I mean, I have at least four different planners that I use on a daily basis. And while I won’t go into each of those, I do want to talk about a major game-changing organization strategy. It’s called bullet journaling. Here’s a link to the official website!

I’m very into productivity research (I really should’ve gone into ISE, but oh well…) and bullet journaling is great because it’s like a combination of rapid-logging ideas, ever-evolving to-do lists, and a calendar all in one. And one of the best parts about it is that you can do it in any kind of notebook you can find.

My Journal

My Journal! Found it at Target, the most glorious place to buy school supplies.

The idea is to start each day on a page, like a to-do list. Every morning, I sit down with my cup of coffee and I write down everything I can think of that pertains to the day, be it tasks, ideas, appointments, things to remember, meals I want to eat…Anything. I have a special key for each type of entry, but every bullet journal user develops their own method for logging. Throughout the day, as tasks get completed, I fill in their bubble just like any other to-do list.

But, at the end of the day, whatever I don’t get done, I have to “migrate” to the next day. This contributes to my “roll rate”, which is sort of like a productivity tracker. I take the amount of tasks I had to migrate and I divide it by the total number of tasks that day (and multiply by 100) to get the percentage of things that have to “roll” to tomorrow. I find that this helps me to stay productive and get everything done that I need to.

January 13

January 13, not as productive as I’d hoped it would be.

“But Mira,” you say, “What do I do about tasks or events that need to happen later, not just today?” Well, my curious grasshopper, I will direct you to the “Monthly Calendar and To-Do” pages.

Monthly Calendar and To-Do

A very lazy month.

As you can see here, I didn’t do much in September. That was back when I was just starting this method and hadn’t developed my own personality about it. But, the general idea is to write all events for the month (appointments, theme weekends, exams…) on the “Calendar” side, just like you would in a normal planner. Then, all things that need to get done later on in the month (for instance, “Buy train tickets for Spring Break trip to Washington D.C.”) go on the next page, the “To-Do” page, with the due date next to them.

I also use my bullet journal for my (unhealthy) obsession with taking notes on things I see throughout the day, such as this list of “12 Banned Books Every Woman Should Read” from HuffingtonPost.

12 Banned Books

The Awakening sure wasn’t my favorite book, but by gum I finished it.

That’s really what makes this different from a normal planner, that it becomes a sort of diary for your observations throughout the day. I’m really excited to be able to look back on this time in my life ten years from now and know that I found the “Portsmouth Sinfonia Instrument Swap” video funny enough to write down. It’s a nice way to have a paper record of everything you need to do and have done so that someday when the internet crashes (who knows, I’m super paranoid about it) you still have a historical presence that someone can find and know exactly who you were and what you thought about.

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