When I first left my job as a teacher, I thought, “I will have so much time to do all the things I never had time for!”
HAHAHA. That didn’t really happen.
I certainly get more sleep nowadays, which is a lot better for my health. However, the tasks of teaching were replaced with new tasks: cooking every meal (no cereal for breakfast anymore!), writing posts for my blog, editing photos for sharing on social media, learning new technology… the list goes on.
Some days I felt discouraged because I felt I hadn’t accomplished much. Those days kept adding up. I wanted to hold myself more accountable, but my to-do lists just kept getting pushed off to the next day.
Enter: The Bullet Journal
My bujo has revolutionized the way I plan and work through my days – albeit I must have some discipline in using it. I didn’t actually discover the concept of a ‘time tracker’ until October, but I’ve been hooked every since!
My first inspiration came from this gorgeous weekly spread by Natascha (@howtobulletjournal).
I quickly attempted to adapt the idea to fit my needs, but I can’t seem to find a tracker that works just right for me. It’s now January and I’m still searching for the perfect fit! Here are some of my many alteration attempts:
My last several time trackers actually have two lines: the first for my planned schedule and the second for my actual schedule. Although I like this, it takes some forethought and also looks like a huge, colorful mess!
Now for the Round Up:
The Parallel Time Ladder
I’m excited to try out this “parallel ladder” concept from @penpapersoul. She plans out her tasks for different parts of the day on the left. On the right she records what she actually accomplished. (The colored squares in the center correspond to the right side.)
This may solve what I was trying to do in many of my trackers – incorporate both what I plan to do and what I actually did! (The only downside for me is this will take up quite a bit more space in my bujo.)
The Monthly Time Tracker
On the other hand, I could save lots of space by using a monthly tracker. I think it would be awesome to see how I use my time over the course of an entire month!
The only down side is I feel I would be recording for reflection’s sake, and not for productivity, which isn’t something I’m willing to give up on right now.
The Time “Mountain” Tracker
This is an novel idea – it allows you to visually see how your time is spent in a meaningful way.
Each square represents an hour. If the mountain is falling, it symbolizes downtime. If the mountain is rising, it symbolizes productivity. Over the course of your day you would draw the diagonal lines, then at the end reflect and fill in more details.
I don’t think I would ever do this on a daily basis, but those of you wanting to fill out a whole page each day may enjoy this layout!
The Simple Weekly Time Tracker
If you don’t want to track exactly how you are spending your time, but rather, want to know where you will be at different times, consider this simple weekly time tracker.
The solid represents when she will be home alone, horizontal stripes represent family, dotted sections represent times en route somewhere, circles represent appointments, and slashes represent sleep!
Take a Time Inventory Instead
If all these spreads make your head spin, consider simply doing a monthly time inventory instead.
Simply track everything you do for a 24-hour period, and at the end reflect on it. What didn’t get done? How long would that have taken? When could you have fit that in? Did you use your time well? A great way to get the benefits of time tracking without the daily discipline of recording what you did every hour!
How do you track time in your bullet journal? If you want to but just haven’t started, what problems are you having?