How to Plan for Planning When You Just Don’t Have Time to Plan

How to Plan for Planning When You Just Don’t Have Time to Plan

If it seems like content has dropped off over the past few weeks, it’s because, well, it has. In addition to my regular 45-50 hours-a-week career and my fascinating and rewarding role as wifey and #dogmom, I’m also enrolled in grad school three-quarters time (more than part time, less than full time – I know) and so my hours are jam-pack-crammed full of nothing but work-dogs-exercise-school-homework-textbooks-sleep-work-dogs-repeat.

What I’ve seen a lot on-the-line is that some people tend to abandon their bullet journals and organization systems when life gets too busy. All I can ever say to that is, “You do what?!”

These systems we pour so much time and effort into are meant to make us more productive. We should be leaning on them harder than ever when life gets busy and we fall into a time crunch. If the first thing to go when things get hard is your organizational system, I can probably almost guarantee you that it’s definitely going to get even harder after that.

SO. With that being said, here’s my super-top-secret secret for how I keep up with my organizational system when life has me scheduled to do 25 hours worth of work in a 24-hour day: make the system work for you!

This is why I love the concept of a traveler’s notebook system. I literally have neither the time nor the inclination to spend any of my precious minutes drawing out a weekly or a monthly spread in my bullet journal – time is money, after all! So in my TN, I have a handy-dandy weekly insert where I can keep track of all my assignments that are due in my classes, plus schedule things that are going on in my work-and-personal life all in one place. The beauty of an undated weekly insert is that when classes let out and I don’t necessarily have a need for a weekly planning page, I just don’t have to use it – no tears shed over the waste of perfectly good paper, because it’s all undated!

Click the photo to go to LightsPlannerAction’s Etsy listing for this insert!

As you can see, I’ve got each day broken down into three sections: MBA 777, MBA 759, and Home/Work. The To Do section has miscellaneous non-date-specific tasks that need to get done at some point during the week. The Notes section often goes under-or-unutilizied because hey rapid-logging-dailies. And I’ve switched from a huge monthly habit tracker that requires more time than I’m willing to invest to a teeny tiny weekly tracker that is literally just two lines. Again: MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK FOR YOU.

Muji Grid Notebooks – click the photo to be taken to an Amazon listing for five of these babies!

The heart and soul of my bullet journal system is still my rapid-logging daily pages. This is as simple as simple can get. It takes me all of five minutes to get my plan together each day, and I keep this little baby open on my desk at work all day long. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Enter into each day with a plan. Etc. Etc. Etc. There’s no bullet journal cardinal rule that says your daily tasks have to be written inside a perfectly-to-scale representation of the Great Pyramids of Giza. You don’t have to have the most perfect handletteringmanship (whoops – my bullet journal for curmudgeons is showing) to be organized and proud of your system. You don’t have to have a theme for each new day of the week. Find a way to make it work and stick with it! This has been my bullet journal daily style for several months now. I’ve made absolutely no changes to the layout of my dailies. Why? Because it works! In the immortal words of democratic businessman and politician Bert Lance, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

All I’m really trying to say is this: if your bullet journal is the first thing to go when life gets hectic, you’re probably not utilizing the tool as it’s meant to be used. Try a new format. Check out Minimalist Bullet Journals, immediately get discouraged because of how much time and effort they invest into making their minimalist bullet journals look perfect, and then come back here and look at my haphazard and undecorative dailies to make yourself feel better. Don’t fall prey to the Pinterest Bullet Journals or the other people who have literally made bullet journaling into a full time job. It doesn’t have to be that way! Hack the system and make it productive for you!

2 Replies to “How to Plan for Planning When You Just Don’t Have Time to Plan”

    1. Cait! I forever feel like I’m drowning – I’m just working on growing some gills so I don’t die! 😀

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