organisation stations

I mentioned in my last blog post that I’m a fan of the trusty to do list, and I thought that maybe you can entertain my nerding out for today’s blog post.


Towards the last half of 2013, I had three systems in place – a weekly planner, bullet journal and logbook.

My weekly planners have been pocket sized Moleskine planners usually for 12 months and sometimes for 18 months. The last half of my final postgraduate year was ridiculously hectic, and I realised towards the end of first semester that my pocket-sized planners were overflowing with post-it notes and scraps of paper stuffed in between pages. I also had application forms, flyers, brochures, etc. from clinical placements that were getting lost in the abyss of my everyday bag that wouldn’t fit into my planner. So I decided to upsize to A5, but the Moleskine prices just weren’t meeting my measly student budget at the time, neither were the lovely Leuchturrm1917 that I’d been ogling at since forever! So I made an impulse buy at Kinokuniya at The Galleries and settled for a Castelli weekly planner, which has a similar layout to the Moleskine and Leuchturrm1917 planners + notebook. So far, I haven’t really used it very much and have relied heavily on my iPhone calendar to keep me on track with events. I think the fact that there’s a reminder that goes off on my phone when I need to be somewhere has become a bit of my safety net for me.

I liked the weekly planner + notebook layout. I used the weekly planner to jot down all my events (e.g. dinners, classes, appointments, etc.), and used the notebook side to write down my weekly to do lists. My weekly tasks used the ‘@’ from the GTD system (e.g. @prac: write assessment report DUE Wed 12/12), and a bullet point system similar to that of Ryder Carroll’s breath of fresh air. As my days grew somewhat busier, I began to rely on my bullet journal system with a few tweaks and adaptations. I’ll post a more detailed description of how I use the bullet journal if anyone out there would like it – leave a comment at the bottom.

I found out very quickly that as much as the bullet journal is dynamic and can capture every random thought/idea/task I need at any given time, there wasn’t much room for forward planning. My social calendar the last two years has been quite anaemic, but I did have study groups, assignment powwows, professional development days, etc. that I needed to allocate weeks (even months!) in advance that I couldn’t capture on the bullet journal system. Thus, the need for the Castelli weekly planner and then subsequently my iPhone. The original bullet journal system also doesn’t allow for blocking out certain times of the day to dedicate to tasks, so I used the Chronodex system for this. I printed out blank Chronodex templates on Avery labels for each day, and then continued on with my daily tasks, notes, etc. below using the bullet journal system. This helped me plan for my ‘free’ days of study and clinical placement preparation.

On the random pages of notes, I’ve adopted the sketchnoting practice, for job application and assignment writing mind dumps, and taking down interesting concepts when I’m at professional development conferences. I’ll figure out one day how to get all of that out of my bullet journal and keep it in one place, but today isn’t that day.

I recently read about Life Mapping from a couple of blogs I frequent, and I’m thinking of adopting that instead of an index page/s. I will happily be very OCD about planning, but I can’t stand handwriting page numbers on every single page. I would rather gnaw at my own arm!

My third system is my logbook, which was inspired by Austin Kleon’s ideas, and I had probably mentioned this in a past blog as well. My notebook was handmade and hand bound (by me), with pages that are similar to that of the Hobonichi Techo, and this is left at home on my bedside table. I’ve maintained this since August 2013, and probably only missed one week in total when all my days started rolling into one with the amount of assessment and practicum I had due, and I was severely sleep deprived. I would print out my Instagram photos and stick them on the days when I found some spare time, but I found that I would forget what day I’d taken the photo on. So I’ve started using Over and PicLab apps on the iPhone to add in a quick line of text for future reference.

I know that it sounds super complicated, but I’ve finally found several systems that work for me. I basically only carry my bullet journal with me in my every day bag, although to be honest, I’ve got about 5 blank pages left in it, which seems like a lot of writing over 4 months in a 180 page notebook. I may have to invest in some bulk ordering of notebooks. Hmmm…

Thanks for letting me share with you my organising system :) You’re more than welcome to share your thoughts, opinions and advice.


Other posts in the Decade Thirty Planning series: The Foamdori, Bullet Journal System, Chronodex + Bullet Journal

2 thoughts on “organisation stations

  1. this was a great insight, thank you for sharing! i’m on a similar journey to find which system works for me. I only find out about bullet journalling about a week ago, and i come from a no-planning background (mainly reminders on the phone) and just winging everyday. thanks again, and i hope to see more of what works for you!

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