my journals then & now
There are hundreds of
ways online about how to manage your time really efficiently, but of course everyone’s got his/her own method.
So do I. This is how I use different tools:
The most important tool, without which I take no step is my journal. I am incredibly picky when it comes to choosing my notebook, because once I start using one, we spend at least 1-2 years together, so it has to be perfect (although I’ve recently started consuming all the notebooks I collected over the past few years). The ideal journal book for me is A5 size (it fits into all my bags, but big enough to draw and write stuff) and should definitely be blank. I like spiral books because I often insert tickets or envelopes and bound journals tend to tear at the spine if I cram too many things in it. The best notebooks are neither too thick nor too slim, but I’d choose rather thick than thin. I’m the sort of person who sticks to the format, once I get used to it, so I don’t like my journal to be full too soon.
As for looks I like my notebook to be simple and elegant and/or funny, but if it’s too beautiful I won’t dare to write in it.. Did I say I was picky? :D
This is one of my calendars which is too beautiful to write in.
As for the insides, the closest thing to what I do is bullet journaling. I try to put everything into one notebook, but as opposed to bullet journals I don’t use little squares or bullets but colour coding, since it’s much easier to find stuff later. I carry with me balck, blue, turqoise, and red pens. And some others, coz I am crazy about pens too :D
Bullet journal vs colour coding (image source)
Another thing I do differently than bullet journals is that I don’t put my “to do” lists in my notebook for the simple reason that once the tasks are finished I don’t want to remember them/carry them around with me. So once I’ve ticked all tasks on my list I just throw it away. I used to use sticky notes for this, but lately there has been a lot of trash paper in the household (meaning that one side was used and the other was blank) so now I cut them up into the size of a post-it and write my “to do” lists on them. Once done, it’s off to the paper bin, so I feel more environmentally friendly.
There was a time when I seriously considered using a filofax. It seemed great that I could re-arrange the order of the pages so instead of colour-coding I could create blocks for the different topics, plus I could insert my calendar. However, in the end I decided against it, because apart from drawing, I also write a lot and the clips are very annoying for both of these activities.
Filofaxes are gorgeous (image source)
The other essential thing I use is my calendar. I prefer it to be as small as possible, with a week-at-a-glance arrangement (although recently I’ve been considering month-at-a-glance views). I like it to have a little space for “notes” next to the weekly plan, but generally I put my notes into my journal, so this is not so important. What I definitely need in a calendar though is a bookmark to easily reach the current week. Luckily most diaries have this feature these days.
I’ve recently started using my smart phone for time management. I never really believed in it, thinking that the only data that’s safe is written on paper (=you can’t lose it), but it has its advantages. When a great idea pops into my head and I happen to sit on the tube, it’s pretty hard to grab my notebook and pen compared to tapping at my phone. So my shopping lists and “what-to-read/write-next” lists are sitting in my built-in “Notes” app. There are plenty of great apps for scribbling, but I’m fairly satisfied with the default one as most of my notes are written by hand.
So these are my survivial tools and this is how I managed to work free-lance and be a university student at the same time. It may work for you or may not, but there are many many great ideas online if you ever need to learn more about time-management.