Monthly Planning with a Bullet Journal
Last week, I shared my top three reasons for why I bullet journal. In the coming weeks, I'll begin sharing how I use my bullet journal to schedule and steward my time.
Today, let's focus on using your future and monthly log.
Using a Future Log
If you're anything like me, tasks and ideas float in one ear and out the other. I've got to write them down, or I'll lose them.
I've heard some describe this as catching brain-flies — those to-dos that buzz around your mind distracting you from the present moment.
There's no rhyme or reason to your future log. Its primary purpose is to be a dumping ground to contain all the tasks and responsibilities you need and want to accomplish.
This practice benefits me in that I no longer spend energy trying to remember not to forget tasks. I write it down knowing the to-do is secure until I can do something about it.
I've also turned the practice into a physical act of humbling myself before God (only God finishes his to-do list each day) and casting my cares upon Him (I verbally give the task over to Jesus. See 1 Peter 5:7).
Your future log is the first step in planning your month. Fill it up.
Deciding what's most important each month
The key here is setting aside thirty minutes to an hour to plan your month prayerfully.
I do want to stress the prayer part. We plan so that we might love God and neighbor more.
Ask God to lead your planning — to show you how He wants you to spend your time.
I start my time by reviewing my rule of life. I measure my past month against my rule, and I plan my next month with it in mind.
Then I look over my future log and decide which tasks to prioritize. That leaves my future log looking like this.
Note on signifiers: > = tasks I've migrated into my monthly log but are not completed. X = completed tasks.
Your rule of life (what you've determined to be essential and necessary for flourishing) and your future log (the specific tasks you must or want to accomplish) become the foundation for planning your month.
Mapping out the month
At this point, you can create your monthly log. I dedicate one page to memories (more on this in a future article) and the other to monthly planning.
The beauty of bullet journaling is its customizable. You can include a little or a lot of details. Do what helps you most.
I try to keep mine as uncluttered and straightforward as possible. I tend to jot down top priority tasks or menial tasks that I'm afraid I'll forget.
The nature of life and interruptions means other tasks will seep into your weekly log (more on that next week), but at present, you have a clear plan of priorities for the month.
Planning for freedom
The options for how you spend your time are endless. By setting aside thirty minutes to an hour to plan your month, you've created deliberate boundaries.
Within those boundaries, you can worry less and focus more on what's ahead of you.
This is a gift that will bless both you and those closest to you.
See you next week to discuss weekly planning.
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