Just under a year ago, I shared my daily planning routine over on YouTube. Although my process has remained very much the same, I still get a lot of questions about my routine, so I’m sharing an update with you here today.
Before I jump into explaining my routine, I want to address something that I’ve seen come up time and time again — the concept that Bullet Journaling is time-consuming and that you spend more time planning than actually doing the things.
In my case, that’s simply not true.
Maintaining a Bullet Journal and making it work for you can seem like a daunting task, but I’m here to assure you that it doesn’t have to be. Even with my doodles and “artsy” entries, I only spend an average of around 30 minutes to an hour each day in my Bullet Journal.
Sure, there are lazy Sunday afternoons where I might dive in and spend a couple of relaxing hours being creative and artistic, but the vast majority of the time that I spend in my Bullet Journal is planning, assessing my progress, and evaluating/improving my system.
It is my firm belief that having a daily planning routine in place has been the single largest factor in my success over the past year and a half. Today, I’m going to share that exact routine with you :)
MY DAILY PLANNING ROUTINE
I do the majority of my daily planning in the evening right before bed.
I like planning at this time because it allows me to reflect on how my day went and get ready for the day ahead. Every night, I sit down with my Bullet Journal about 30 minutes before I go to sleep.
In addition to feeling more “on top of” everything going on in my life and business, this screen-free downtime helps me to rest my eyes after a day of staring at my computer and phone. All electronics get shut down, and it’s just me and my Bullet Journal.
Here are the steps that I follow:
1 >> REVIEW OF CURRENT DAY
The very first thing I do when I sit down for my daily planning routine is to review my current day. Often times I’ll mark tasks off throughout the day as I complete them, or jot down notes that I can refer back to later.
I like to double check my list at this point and mark off any additional tasks that I completed and take a mental note of the tasks that I still have open.
2 >> SET UP FOR TOMORROW
The very first thing I do to set up for the following day is to draw out my header. I like to track things like the moon phases and weather, but this, of course, is completely optional.
Once my header is done, I move on to drawing out my time bar. This time bar has gone through many iterations in my Bullet Journal, but I’m currently enjoying this vertical layout.
Later, I’ll segment this time bar based on my planned schedule for the day but for now, I just segment my sleeping hours. I wake up at 5:30 AM and go to sleep at 10:30 PM.
Once that is finished, I check for appointments and events coming up by flipping back to my Calendex.
In this particular example, I don’t have any appointments or events tomorrow. So now it’s time to move on to creating my task list and planning out my time for the day.
I create my task list by first racking my brain for any tasks that I know need to get completed the following day. In the event that I’m starting a new spread, I always refer back to my previous spread and migrate over any uncompleted tasks that still need my attention.
Once all of my tasks and appointments are in place, it’s time to add some color. I have a specific color code that I use throughout my Bullet Journal that allows me to see things more easily at a glance.
One thing that I LOVE about the official @bulletjournal notebook is the built-in key at the front. I used some of the “create your own” spaces to keep a record of my color code that I use throughout my Bullet Journal. The numbers represent the number of Tombow Dual Brush Pens that I use ☺ – #bulletjournal #bohoberrytribe #wearebujo #bujojunkies #planwithmechallenge #colorcode
3 >> Update Monthly Spreads
Once the following day is complete, it’s time to update my monthly spreads. I keep all of my monthly spreads together at the beginning of each month so that it is easy for me to just flip from page to page as I update them.
First up is my time log.
(PS – I have to admit here that I haven’t been updating my monthly spreads in the past few days because I’ve been sick and haven’t kept very good track of things… hey, life happens!)
I use an app called ATracker throughout the day to keep track of where I spend my time. At the end of each day, I can see a consolidated report and log my hours here in my Bullet Journal.
My monthly tracker is up next. The colors here don’t actually mean anything, but they provide a nice separation so that I can easily see where I’m doing well and where I’m falling behind for the month.
My gratitude log comes next. This is where I get to be a bit creative and have some fun :)
Last but certainly not least is my Mood Mandala. Inspired by Fiona (@bujo.mama on Instagram), this is where I track my general overall mood for the day.
In case you’re curious about how this works, I have a full video explaining it all here.
And that’s it!
While breaking this down bit by bit may make it seem like a lengthy ordeal to some, this whole process only takes me about 30 minutes each evening.
ADVANTAGES OF PLANNING THE NIGHT BEFORE
- You can clear your mind of all of those nagging thoughts and looming tasks so that you can get to sleep more easily.
- You can eliminate the morning frenzy of not knowing exactly what needs to be done when you wake up.
- You can hit the ground running on important tasks in the morning because you already have a clear plan for your day.
I’m curious… what does YOUR planning routine look like? Let me know in the comments below :)
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Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.