Is the Bullet Journal right for you?

Is the bullet journal right for you?

Is the bullet journal right for you?

As some of you already know, I am always ready to try new stuff to fuel my time-management obsession 😄 , which took me to try the Bullet Journal.
And to answer the question:

“Is the Bullet Journal right for you?”

First of all, I have to say that I love walking in libraries and stuck my nose in old books! Yeah, I know, it sounds I am a weirdo… But I can’t help. I like the smell of books, I like the feeling of pages, I am an avid reader. I was an only child so you bet my books were my best friends.

Another funny fact about me is that if we go shopping together one day, you can drop me at the school and office supplies aisle. And guess what? You will find me in that EXACT same spot 2 hours later. Once agin, this is stuff I like. I love getting new pens, I have a Molsekine notebook my husband bought me that I cherish like it is a precious treasure, and nothing pleases me more than spending my free time reading. This is who I am.


 

However, new technologies and the urge to always be connected took me to have a calendar that I sync with my phone, a tablet on which I read without bothering my husband with light in the bedroom, and since I am living in Panama where there is no postal service, my birthday, Christmas, and thank you cards are virtual 🙁

When I heard about the Bullet Journal, I thought I would try it and reconnect with my pens and notebook old relationship.

So I started by listing what I would like to see in my journal. The main positive point of the Bullet Journal, or Bujo, is its flexibility: You can write whatever is relevant to you. There is no real rule, that’s totally customisable.

 


So here is what I needed in my daily journal:

  • My wake-up time (I know I know, who cares?! That’s my point: Flexibility!)
  • My weight
  • My 3 most important tasks
  • My positive thought for the day
  • How long did I work out for
  • How long did I meditate for
  • The food I eat
  • The water I drink
  • My expenses
  • My basic todo list
  • My accomplishments of the day (so I know if I deserve a cocktail! 🍹)

Kind of simple things, huh?


And here I started!

After I was done with my list, I took my favorite pen and my new notebook (💃🏻) and I started to watch videos and instructions on how I fit my stuff in there.

I took me quite some time to organise the different pages and create my “signifiers”. I will not go to in depth in these but here is the short version on how is set up a Bujo:

  • First page is your “index” page, where you are going to write what’s in your journal and where to find this. That made me think of a table of content.
  • You have a “Future Log“, which is the major events of the year or future 6 months if you decided not to add the full year.
  • Then a “Monthly Log” with important dates of the month (birthdays, meetings, etc)
  • Finally the “Daily Log” is your daily journal.
  • You can also have pages named “collections” where you list the movies you want to see, the books you want to read, your ideas for your next blog, and so on.

You also have to decide what “signifiers” you are going to use. Signifiers are codes that will let you know instantly what is to be done with the task associated. You can find everything you always wanted to know about bullet journal here.

Each end of month, you need to do a “migration“. This is where and when you evaluate your inputs that are still undone. You may reschedule or delete if it is not relevant anymore.


Then, honestly, I started to pull my hair… Like, for real.

Although I have to admit that I was so happy to rebuild my real writing skills, I didn’t work for me. Too much to write, too much to read, to much to reschedule…

If you happen to write anything wrong, then you will have some marks on your “art”! I know, you don’t really need to show your bullet journal to anybody, but I think I am so in love with clarity that I can’t stand anything that looks crappy.

I definitely think this is great for those who love to write. And I am one of them. When it comes to organisation and time-management, it didn’t work for me. I am not a giving up person, so I created an alternate of the bullet journal. I took everything that was in my list and put it on a template that I can print daily and fill with my stuff.


I will probably make some updates along the time but for now, that’s all I need in there and I sadly have to accept that the Bullet Journal is not for me. It is definitely fantastic for those of us who love to write on paper, but although I like the idea of journaling, it is to me, not as useful than solutions technology offers.

Please do not hesitate to grab my free daily journal and if you like to have a personalised one, just shoot me an email!

Chat soon 😉

Using the Important and Urgent Matrix

Using the Important and Urgent Matrix.

Using the Important and Urgent Matrix.

Interestingly, when you want to be better at time-management, you have to waste some time to carefully watch yourself at work! The main task is to prioritize your time

Using the Important and Urgent Matrix.

This is a wonderful tool that will really help you after you mastered the way to use it. There are four quadrant in this matrix.

First quadrant:

The one we spend more time on is the “Urgent and Important”. Because we did not manage our time before, every single task falls in this quadrant and your todo list is a never ending story. This quadrant is commonly called the “Firefighting”.

Second quadrant:

The second quadrant is the one we SHOULD spend most of our time: this is the “NOT Urgent but Important”. With a good time management training, you would be able to work in advance on tasks or projects BEFORE they become urgent. This is where planning management and definition of priorities come into action. If you can plan ahead, you would be able to work on your projects without rush and the outcomes are positively better. As a result, this quadrant is usually called “Quality Time”.

Third quadrant:

The third quadrant, called “Distraction” is the one we have to manage because it includes interruptions, phone calls, and all other distractions that can be urgent.

Fourth and last quadrant:

Finally, I am sure you understood that the last quadrant is the “Not urgent and Not Important” one, also called “Time Wasting”. This one includes any activities you would like to do, such as washing your car, buy a lottery ticket, and so on.

Years of reading and documenting about the best way to manage my time made me com,e to the conclusion that I have a wide range of advise to provide so I can help people to master their time and finally save some to relax!

Handling Interruptions

Handling Interruptions

Handling Interruptions

Again, you spent your day at work being crazy busy and by the end of the day, your todo list is not empty although there was nothing long to do… So what the heck happened?

Research showed that the worst time draining is interruptions. Here is your answer. You’ve been interrupted over and over again.

Handling interruptions

Here are a few tips for handling interruptions

  • Learn to say “no”
  • Let your colleagues know your availability schedule
  • Close your door
  • Turn your phone and email software off when you are in “do not disturb” mode.
  • Set up automatic email and phone answers

Learn to say “NO”

That’s the hardest. Especially if you are working under a demanding boss 😉

You don’t have to clearly say out loud “no”. You can state that you will take care of whatever is requested “this afternoon”, “in two hours”, “tomorrow”, or any other acceptable timeframe. Also, when you already have a tons of files to deal with on your desk, you can probably suggest to hire an assistant or any kind of support that would be an implicit no!


Let your colleagues know your availability schedule

After you said “no”, whether it is implicit or clearly stated, you have to let your colleagues know that you will be available soon to answer questions. They will soon appreciate that when you are answering their questions or giving input, you are really doing one thing at a time. This is valuable for both parties. For your colleague who comes with a problem, a question, or a suggestion, it is highly appreciated to have you focused on this question. For you, you can listen and come with a solution or an answer easily since you are focusing on what you are asked.

Do not hesitate to explain that you will be more productive and efficient if you can work away from interruptions on specific length of time. Depending on the project you are working on, it could be as little as 30 minutes. So, everybody could possibly leave you alone for half an hour, that’s not a big deal, right?

This should even be a way to improve efficiency in the company.


Close you door

After you explained your boss, colleagues, or employees that you need to be focusing on one thing at the time to maximise your efficiency, the mandatory step is to close your door. If you don’t close it, then people will think that they can walk in your office space and start talking to you. A closed door is the path to increase your productivity.


Turn off your phone and email software

We are all the same! A “ding” means “you’ve got mail” and we usually can’t resist the email opening envy… We just think that we will read it and answer later but as soon as you read it, you disconnect from your ongoing task. This is again an interruption that can lead you to precious minutes wasted… Same thing with the phone. As soon as you look at your caller ID, you disconnect from what you were doing. So, please, please, please, turn your interruption machines off!


Set automatic answers to emails and phone calls

That is easy to let people know that you received their messages and that you will handle them as soon as you can. There is nothing more frustrating than a phone call unanswered with no information on when you can call back or expect a returned call. That can be as short as “I am unavailable until 10am and will return your call as soon as I am back to my office”. Same thing with your emails. Doing so is a very professional way to handle your customers. They know they are important and that you will take care of them as soon as possible.

Shoot us an email and let us help you take your business to the next level!

5 Reasons for Using the Pomodoro Technique

5 reasons for using Pomodoro

5 reasons for using Pomodoro

Unlike one may think, Pomodoro is not “just” a timer. This is a technique by itself.

Here are 5 reasons for using the Pomodoro Technique:

Unlike one may think, the Pomordoro is not "just" a timer. This is a technique by itself. Here are 5 reasons for using the Pomodoro Technique

  • The #1 reason is obvious but we still need to mention it not to decrease its importance: IT IMPROVES YOUR PRODUCTIVITY INSTANTLY. Yes, instantly. To be honest, I was skeptical when I heard about this. Come on, a timer with a tomato shape… Do you really want me to take this seriously??? I was good though! I did try it, and guess, what? I am using it RIGHT NOW. I will talk about it during 25 minutes, and then, I’ll take a 5 minutes break.

Because this is how you improve your productivity: 25 minutes focus work with no interruption and 5 minutes time off so you can check your emails, Facebook, or whatever you like to do. Then, back for 25 minutes hard work, 5 minutes off. After 4 completed Pomodoro, you’ll be granted a 30 minutes / 1 hour break! Isn’t that cool? 🙂

  • Reason #2 is that you will easily keep track of the time you spend on your tasks. Because you know that each Pomodoro is 25 minutes by default. If you have recurring tasks and you know how long it takes to have them done, then, you can set your Pomodoro for this time. It still keeps you on track and you know you’re not allowed to walk away before you hear the ring! Haha! That’s the anti-procrastination secret weapon!

Wait. There’s more! 

  • Among the reasons for using the Pomodoro Technique, manage distractions is our reason #3. Since you are focus for short periods of time, you can easily stay away from your distractions. I used to be very bad when I heard an email coming in my inbox. I HAD TO GO AND CHECK if it was an emergency of some sort (like I was a heart surgeon…). In most cases, there is absolutely NOTHING that can’t wait 25 minutes or whatever the time left on your Pomodoro. Stay sharp and focus, you’ll have 5 minute recess soon 😉
  • We have reached now reason #4, which is one of my favorite. Indeed, I believe that balance is the key to be successful at work and at “life”. When I am on Pomodoro track, I am only doing what I set up for this period of time. During my time off, I am only doing what I am supposed to do during time off: having a coffee, giving a phone call, checking on Facebook, watching a video on youtube, or anything that pleases me at this time.
  • Last but not least, reason #5: Set up your own goals. There is nothing better than feeling you’re the captain of your life! You make decisions and you set up goals, making sure they’re realistic and measurable (will be the subject of another great article I am planning on writing. Subscribe on our newsletter not to miss it!). You have all the keys to reach your goals and you know that feeling of self-accomplishment, the one that we all strive to reach!

I will be more than happy to dive with your in the wonderful world of goal setting, time-management, and ways to reach your objectives! Just send me an email and we can discuss productivity improvement!

Getting Things Done AKA GTD

Getting Things Done AKA GTD!

Getting Things Done AKA GTD!

When it comes to organisation and time management, we all try to find the best way to end our day with an empty daily task list. This is the accomplishment of

Getting Things Done AKA GTD!

The best way to start fresh is to hire an Efficiency Expert!

Well, I can’t promise you’ll get this one, but at least, you will have tips to get away from your stressful day of work.

As soon as you put one foot in time-management, you decide you will accomplish tons of tasks faster than never. That’s the first mistake we all make… We have to set REALISTIC goals, otherwise we will be discouraged by that never ending todo list…

First, divide your projects into smaller tasks so you can meet the deadlines with no stress or last minute rush. Let’s take an example. You have to write a blog post that is about 2,000 words for the end of the week on a topic you are not familiar with. Considering, you have a week to write that big blog, you can easily divide this project in smaller tasks. On Monday, go online and start researching your topic. Grab sources, skim over them and decide which ones you would summarise to back up your article.

On Tuesday, find or create visuals. Remember that you have to give credits to whoever you borrow the visuals from if you’re not doing them. (Unless you paid for a special visual made especially for you).

On Wednesday, write the outline. Very important! Good outline is the key. Then, this is “just” a fill in the blank task.

On Thursday, fill your outline, add your visuals and make sure your post will be SEO ready.

On Friday, you review it, send it to your boss if needed, do any change needed and PUBLISH!

That’s it. You are not stressed by this project because you work by smaller chunks. And guess what? That article will be excellent because you have worked on it “stress-free”.

That’s how we get things done in our business and we can help you accomplish the same. We work online and we virtually hold your hand until you’re ready to walk alone!

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