How my bullet journalling has changed over the last 3 years

I’m always fascinated by how things change in my own life and in other people’s, especially with regard to how we do things.

Today I want to talk about bullet journalling.

Yes, I’m still bullet journalling and to be honest, even when the craze ends, I’ll still be using a bullet journal simply because I was bullet journalling long before it became a thing. In those days, I just had a notebook I carried around with me for my lists 🙂

I have noticed that the way I use my bullet journal changes according to the diary I have for that year.

This year I have a diary with lots of monthly goals space so I use my diary for my goals instead of the bullet journal. I still use my bullet journal for my monthly review though (you can download your monthly review free printable page here)

So which pages am I still using?

  1. Weekend to-do list
  2. WFM Daily to-do list (once a week)
  3. Podcast club notes (podcast club does not happen as often as it used to, though)
  4. list of blog posts to write (this is still a permanent page in my bullet journal)
  5. brainstorming specific blog posts or what needs to go in my monthly newsletter
  6. monthly project life photo planning (I do a mindmap and ask myself what happened that I want to remember, and then I look for a picture. It’s much less overwhelming than looking at 300 pics trying to whittle them down to 6)
  7. daily journalling from holidays, when they happen.
  8. People interested in the Four Tendencies workshop (I keep a list and update it after every workshop) – this has been a strange thing and I should write down some learnings after the workshop on 1 June happens.
  9. Life admin list – granted, at certain times of the year, this list is WILDLY busy but most months there are only one or two things on there at most, which is how I prefer it.

Are you still bullet journalling?

Which are your favourite pages in your bullet journal?

PS I have a separate bullet journal for all my reading. Read more about that one in this post.

Consider making a life admin list

On my #19in2019 list, I have a number of house maintenance items. I googled and had a number of people out to the house to see the work and provide quotes.

Do you know what a frustrating process this has been? You would assume people would want the work but I’ve had to call/ WhatsApp people three times to just come out, keep hounding them for the promised quote, and on and on. I’m much more bored by this state of affairs than you are, trust me 🙂

With all this back and forth, because I couldn’t keep it all in my head, I announced to Dion, “I think we need to make a Life Admin list”.

A life admin list is a fancy name I like to use for a master list that has all the things you need to get done listed on it.

So I made the list, took a photo of it and emailed it to my husband.

Interestingly, he said he felt overwhelmed when he first looked at it but I felt much calmer because the noise in my head was louder than the actual number of items on the page (only 10).

Does a big to-do list make you feel overwhelmed or calm because you can now see what needs to be done?

Here are some benefits to making a life admin list:

  1. you’ll get the noise out of your head
  2. you’ll easily be able to categorise items (phone calls, internet research, errands, etc.)
  3. you can prioritise and see which you feel able to attend to right now, both emotionally and financially
  4. you’ll feel able to tackle them in appropriate time blocks
  5. you can easily delegate/ make a separate Honey Do plea

I attended to 3 of those items fairly quickly: followed up on a start date for the one person who was actually professional in his dealings with us, sent a WhatsApp to another to say something like “thank you for your interest, but we’ve decided to go with someone else” and for the third, I emailed to accept the quotation and suggest a time for the work to happen. 

All that took about 5 minutes.

I share that not to wow you with my productivity, but to show you that we often make things much bigger in our heads than they need to be.

It’s exactly what a Power Hour could be used for. Just get on the phone and sort a few things out, or send a few quick emails. Once things are scheduled, that’s half the battle won.

I promise you – you can do it!

Hit REPLY and let me know when you make your Life Admin List. I’ve posted mine on Instagram; if you post yours too, use the #LifeAdminList and I’ll pop by to say hello.

Let’s talk shopping lists

I run a home that’s mostly run like a well-oiled machine. All the people who live (and work) here know that when things run low, they have to write it on the list so that when we go shopping on the weekend, we can buy the item.

Oh, we only go shopping once a week because we both don’t like shopping. Life with two upholders 😉

I’m firmly in the “make do” camp so if we didn’t get something, we just have to get creative til we go shopping again.

Our shopping list is an actual paper list on a small clipboard with some regular items typed in permanently. I keep a toiletries list in my iPhone notes though.

So you can see I love a shopping list as much as the next person.

Which is precisely why I don’t understand these chalkboard shopping lists. Or the Letterboard ones.

  • Are these real live shopping lists? Or just set up for Instagram?
  • Do people take photos of their chalkboards and then go shopping?
  • And with the Letterboard ones, how long do those things take to assemble?

Seriously though, do you use a shopping list?

What do you use? Paper? App? Photos of your chalkboard wall?

I know friends who do a grocery run daily! Maybe you do too. I can barely even manage weekly!

How often do you shop? As and when? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

Lovely things to do, eat, watch, try in 2019


I made this free printable a few years ago because I like to make a list of lovely things to do when I have a birthday.

It’s like a goals list, but super fun ones 🙂

Some of you will say that all goals should be fun; I disagree because we all know there are things you should do as part of being a grownup that aren’t necessarily fun (dental appointments, I’m looking at you!).

I didn’t get around to make my lovely things list in August but I’m going to do it with a twist for next year.

  • Lovely things to do read this year
  • 19 lovely things to do in 2019

Ideas for you:

  • lovely things to watch this year (if you’re a movie/ TV person – I am not)
  • lovely places to eat at this year (if you like to try new restaurants – I don’t like new restaurants but I do like working my way through some menus…)
  • lovely things to cook this year (I could get behind this idea)
  • lovely friends to see this year
  • your choice

Have fun with it, friends.

I’ve got good news – I’ve made these 7 printables and they’re ready for you to download here.

Care to share your lists? Please tag me on Instagram and tell your friends to sign up for their set of lovely lists too.

{Bullet journal} – what I’m bullet journalling these days

It’s been a while since I wrote a bullet journalling post so I thought I’d check in to:

  • tell you that yes, I’m still bullet journaling
  • share some of the pages in my current bullet journal (there is one page that deserves its own post so look for that next week)

Quotable quotes

I still think of my bullet journal in terms of planning pages and “useful lists” pages.

The planning pages I have in this bullet journal are the following:

  1. Monthly review
  2. Goals brainstorm
  3. Weekend to do list
  4. Work from home list (it’s a daily to-do list I use once a week)

When I had a quick squiz through a bullet journal post I wrote last year, I noticed that everything is still 100% accurate and…. that I probably need to start a life admin page again. On the bright side, there is nothing I need to put on the list for my car (insert dancing lady emoji here) 😉

Another change is that I have a separate small notebook (just a bit bigger than A6) for my weekly goals accountability chats with Beth. I used to always keep a separate notebook in years past and I must say, I love having my goals in their own special book 🙂

Bullet journal

Some other pages I’m still using are:

  1. Blog ideas
  2. Podcast club notes
  3. Quotable quotes
  4. Things to talk to ______ about (I have a ton of phone friend dates and if I want to remember to ask/ tell my friends something, I refer to this list to be sure to ask about something we spoke about before)

One big change is that I now have a dedicated notebook (just an 80-pager) for all things books and reading.

I have a monthly page where I write down the books I’ve read (I still use Goodreads but it’s easier to take this notebook with me to book club or to use for my monthly reading recaps here on the blog), notes on the book club book, books to read for book club and I need to update my favourite authors’ pages again.

Bullet journal

Why the separate book bullet journal?

I like a thin bullet journal so I currently go through about 3 – 4 notebooks a year. I found that I constantly had to ferret out old bullet journals to reference my reading lists. It’s not a huge problem because I have a specified shelf in my study where they all live but it was a bit too inconvenient for these lists I reference very often.

(if you look at my Instagram stories, I often post snapshots of how this list changes throughout the month)

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Are you still bullet journalling? How do you use your bullet journal these days? Has anything changed from when you first started?

3 kinds of lists for your bullet journal

Do you know what I’m really excited about these days? It’s how bullet journalling has made it cool and trendy to write things down 🙂

When you write things down, it frees your mind for more big picture thinking and you don’t have to worry too much about the details because they’re written down so they’re not disappearing anywhere.

Here are 3 types of lists you could use to help manage your time effectively. You can make the lists in your bullet journal or download them from my website.

Master to-do list

1. Master list
This is a place for a “brain dump”, a place for ideas you might want to pursue in the future or possible projects you need to tackle.

You can work off one master list for months, like I do with my business or blogging ideas.

I also have a master list of things to do in the house. I write up a new list every year and I work on that list the entire year.

To-do list

2. To-do list
This list can be monthly, weekly or daily. I post a weekend to-do list to Instagram every weekend.

The difference between this list and the master list is that this one has a time deadline attached to it.

I have a monthly to-do list, which is really my monthly goals list. I keep this one with broad goals like go to the gym 8 – 12 times, a weekly to-do list with about 3-5 business tasks to get done and then my daily to-do list which spreads out those 5 tasks so that I have only 1 or so to do daily.

Sometimes 1 task is very big and takes a couple of days so I’ll leave a couple of smaller ones to do all on one day.

I want to caution you to only put a maximum of 6 items on your daily to-do list so you don’t become overwhelmed!

My checklist to live my best life

3. Checklist
This is a place with a list of items which you check/ tick off.

This list is ideal for anything you need to do regularly, like the order in which you do your photo backups, a list of weekly business tasks, travel checklist, shopping list, etc.

My favourite checklist used to be my “newsletter” checklist which walked me through a process of ensuring I repurposed every bit of the content I create. These days, the one above is my favourite checklist 🙂

Once you start using the correct list for the task at hand, you’ll be flying!

You can download a variety of lists in the free pack on my website.

Do you prefer to print out your lists or to write them into your bullet journal?

3 myths about lists

There are two types of people in this world – those who like lists and those who don’t.
This post is for those who don’t like lists

lists are boring

A list is only as boring as your imagination! You can and should put some fun things on there as well as tasks to do.

I recently started putting things like “finish James Patterson book” on my weekend lists because all I was doing was chores.

I loved the change so much that I now regularly put fun things like “phone _____ for a lovely, long chat” and “paint fingernails” on my lists just to jazz them up.

lists are a bind because they have tons of items on them

Well, that depends on the type of list.

A master list and a checklist often do have tons of things on them but a daily to-do list really should have no more than about 6 items.

I’ve shared before how when I only have 6 items on my to-do list, I get through them all easily but when I try to be SuperWoman and add lots more, I get even less than 6 done!

I showed a coaching client my diary once and she was amazed that I almost always put less than 6 things on my list.

When you find the right list, your life will change

No, no, no! The list is only the tool.

I used to subscribe to tons of productivity sites and really, many of them were all about the perfect tool.

A tool is only something to help you get something else done.

Many people are so intent on creating the perfect list or finding the perfect planner that they get into an analysis paralysis mentality.

Because when you’re obsessing about the perfect to-do list, you stop actually doing the things on the list, right?

The truth is it doesn’t matter what you use as long as you get it down somewhere – whether on a post-it note, in a gorgeous notebook or in your phone.

So how am I doing with my lists?

I still use a weekly list and take off up to 6 items (sometimes a lot less) to do in a day.

My new favourite thing is doing a mind-map list for my weekly planning. I do a spoke for each area of my life – husband, babies, house, work, business, health and fitness, etc. And then, off each spoke, I make new mini-branches with things I have to do.

mindmap

Do you harbour any other myths about lists?

Are you a list-maker?

Are your lists working for you?

4 [31 days] how do you make to-do lists?

I have to say that today’s question is one of my favourites 🙂

Simply because lists are some of my favourite things in the world.

Amanda Jean says:

I need help making To-Do lists, I know that sounds too easy but I’ve never been a list maker and don’t know where to start. I need help knowing how to get started with each new task. Or motivational ideas to keep you going with you’ve reached the need for a second wind.

 

Lots of questions within that question.

 

Here’s my answer:

I’m actually a huge fan of to-do lists and I believe you need to have at least three but for today’s purpose, we’ll talk about two

a master to-do list

this is one with everything under the sun, so you don’t lose any of it while going about life

and a daily/ weekly to-do list

this is where you take things from your master list and add them to a shorter, more manageable list.

(if my master list wasn’t such a mess of colour and scribbles, I’d take a pic and show you)

 

Don’t put more than 6 items on your daily to-do list.

6 seems to be my comfort number. If I add any more than that, I still only do 5 or 6. When you do get your 5 or 6 done (whatever your comfort number is), you’ll feel AWESOME and productive 🙂

 

On starting

Start with the one that may be the most difficult but is the one that will bring you the closest to your goals. I call these tasks frogs.

 

On getting motivated

Here are some of my ideas. Accountability is a big one for me.

 

How do you make your to-do list? And then how do you tackle yours?

 

3 myths about lists :)

There are two types of people in this world – those who like lists and those who don’t.

This post is for those who don’t like lists 🙂

lists are boring

A list is only as boring as your imagination! You can and should put some fun things on there too as well as tasks to do.

I recently started putting things like “finish James Patterson book” on my weekend lists because all I was doing was chores. I loved the change so much that I now regularly put fun things like “phone _____ for a lovely, long chat” and “paint fingernails” on my lists just to jazz them up 😉

lists are a bind because they have tons of items on them

Well, that depends on the type of list. A master list and a checklist often do have tons of things on them but a daily to-do list really should have no more than about 6 items.

I’ve shared before how when I only have 6 items on my to-do list, I get through them all easily but when I try to be SuperWoman and add lots more, I get even less than 6 done! I showed a coaching client my diary once and she was amazed.

When you find the right list, your life will change

No, no, no! The list is only the tool.

I used to subscribe to tons of productivity sites and really, many of them were all about the perfect tool. A tool is exactly that – something to help you get something else done.

Many people are so intent on creating the perfect list or finding the perfect planner that they get into an analysis paralysis mentality.

Because when you’re obsessing about the perfect to-do list, you stop actually doing the things on the list, right?

The truth is it doesn’t matter what you use as long as you get it down somewhere – whether on a post-it note, in a gorgeous notebook or in your phone.

So how am I doing with my lists?

I still use a weekly list and take off up to 6 items (sometimes a lot less) to do in a day.

My new  favourite thing is doing a mind-map list for my weekly planning. I do a spoke for each area of my life – husband, babies, house, work, business, health and fitness, etc. And then, off each spoke, I make new mini-branches with things I have to do.

Do you have any other beliefs about list-making?

Do you make lists? What works well for you?

P.S. There are some lovely lists (standard ones and mind maps) waiting for you in the free Organising Success Pack

3 must-use lists to manage your time

When I coach people or do speaking engagements, I always stress the importance of writing things down.

Why?

When you write things down, it frees your mind for more big picture thinking and you don’t have to worry about the details.

So these are the 3 lists I suggest you absolutely should use to manage your time more effectively:

1. Master list

This is a place for a “brain dump”, a place for ideas you might want to pursue in the future or possible projects you need to tackle.

You can work off one master list for months, like I do with my business or blogging ideas. Or you can have a master list for a certain period, like a week, and then rewrite it at the start of the next week.

I have a master list of things to do in the house which I’ve been working on since we moved in four years ago. Honestly, I think there will always be items on this list.

2. To-do list

This list can be monthly, weekly or daily.

The difference between this list and the master list is that this one has a time deadline to it.

I have a monthly to-do list – I keep this one with broad goals like go to the gym 10 – 12 times – a weekly to-do list with about 5 – 7 business tasks to get done and then my daily to-do list which spreads out those 5 – 7 tasks so that I have only 1 or 2 to do daily.

I want to caution you to only put a maximum of 6 items on your daily to-do list so you don’t become overwhelmed!

3. Checklist

This is a place with a list of items which you check/ tick off.

This list is ideal for anything you need to do regularly, like a list of weekly cleaning tasks, office supplies, routine business tasks, etc.

Once you start using the right list for the correct task, you’ll be flying!

You can download free master to-do and other lists at http://marciafrancois.com.

Do you use lists? Which are your favourite ones?

P.S. Mine is my weekly to-do list 🙂



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