I’m using two separated notebooks to manage my personal and professional lives. I’m busy enough at work so that I don’t want to have an eye on all my tasks lists when I’m off. This separation is vital to keep a professional/personal balance!
I’m using the Bullet Journal system at work since the beginning of 2016, and it took me some time and a lot of trials to find an organisation that fits my needs. I’m managing all projects plannings and task list in my notebook, and use a digital calendar for appointments and deadlines.
Step by step planning process
I’m working within the Innovation department of an engineering company. I’m managing several projects on my own, with a high degree of initiative and autonomy. So I don’t pretend to give you some master class about project management but rather some feedback on how I’m organising my work. I hope that this review of my planning process can be useful for some of you anyway!
I don’t decide yearly goals on my own: they are defined with my boss during my annual interview. So I basically refer to them. The goals are always challenging but manageable and we decide them according to my wishes regarding the evolution of my career.
From yearly to quarterly goals
In order to make sure I’ll be able to meet the expectations of my hierarchy, I consider all of my goals as any project. I’m defining quarterly goals for each of the projects I have to manage. For me thinking quarterly helps to be concrete about the target I have in mind.
Working this way, I’m sure that all my projects are on tracks during the year, and that I can report to my boss regularly about their progress. I’m tracking this progress thanks to progress bars – each square being 10%. It’s not very accurate but allows me to see at a glance where I’m late and put extra effort on this.
Monthly action plan
My monthly planning is presented in a form of a table: one line for each week and one column per project.
Things get real at this step of my process. At the beginning of the month, referring to my quarterly goals, I make a monthly master task list presented in a form of a table : each line is a week, and I create one column per project/activity I have to manage.
For each project, I list some tasks, spreading them evenly on the whole month. I make sure not to plan more than 50% of my working time at this point so that I can still be flexible.
I do an update of that monthly plan every Friday when I’m reviewing my week and get ready for the next one.
Weekly and daily tasks lists
My weekly log is based on a horizontal layout. The weekly task list lies in the blank space just under the header. The remaining space is divided in 6 boxes: 5 boxes for each day of the working week (separated into 2 columns for appointments and tasks), and the last one is for my “next week” task list.
I’m using a double-page spread as a weekly/daily log combo. I’m migrating tasks from my monthly planning to this spread on Fridays. It’s also the moment I’m having a look at my digital agenda to copy my appointments in the event section of my dailies.
Some of my weekly tasks get assigned to a specific day (especially when they are related to some appointment or deadline) while some of others just stay in a global list.
My daily schedule is not 100% planned in advance. I typically plan 50 to 70% of my day, the remaining time is dedicated to the management of the unexpected: impromptu meetings, emergencies…
In my opinion, the bullet journal system is a great tool: it allows me to gather all the information in one place and to find it as needed. I can manage multiple projects at the same time, having my planning at a glance. I’m able to find easily a history of all the tasks completed, monitor the progress of all my projects, or track the time I spend on each of them. The versatility of the system make it easy to adapt to specific needs and to built a custom made organisation process.
If my system may seem complex with some redundancy (several levels of goals and tasks lists), it allows me to stay focus on my goals and to do actions every day to make them progress. I’m using this system in both my professional and personal lives but I’m far more flexible with my plannings when it comes to my personal projects!
Initially released in French on http://journaling.fr/blog/
Supplies used :
– Atoma notebook: disc bound A5 notebook with squared paper
– Muji erasable pen (0,5)
– Muji mechanical pencil
– Black PaperMate Flair M