Bulleting Journaling and Smarter Faster Better

I recently finished reading Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg. He’s the author of The Power of Habit, and his new book focuses not just on habits but on which habits are the most effective for productivity. As I was reading, I realized I could implement his tips in my bullet journal.

Copy of wire&magic

First of all, I thought it would be nice to show you a short summary of some of the most important points in the book.

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The most helpful chapters for me were goal setting, focus, and motivation.

Setting goals is important.  However, setting goals isn’t effective if you don’t consider how to fit the goal into your life. I recently started Couch to 5k and wrote out a goal page using the techniques discussed in the motivation and goal setting chapters.

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According to the book, SMART goals and stretch goals should be created side by side. Stretch goals make sure your focus is on the right task, and SMART goals help you set up a plan on how to accomplish them. (See the summary photo above for a great definition of SMART goals!) I created an overall stretch goal, and then I wrote a SMART goal about how I want to fit this into my life. My current plan is to run in the morning on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, after walking my dog for a warm up.

I also wrote in what I’d do if I was derailed.  What if I oversleep or feel ill when I wake up? My backup plan is to either run mid-day, over my lunch break, or in the evening. If I can’t run one day, I have enough flexibility in my schedule that I can run the next day and then reset back to my Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday schedule on Sunday.

I also used motivation techniques in this spread. Listing out why I wanted to do a hard activity helps encourage me to get it done. On days I don’t feel like running, I flip to this page and see why I wanted to improve my running abilities in the first place. I’ve had trouble sticking with activities in the past–something usually derails me. Afterward, I don’t restart. Having a plan for when I miss a day and seeing my motivations for the goal clearly laid out reinforces my motivation.

The chapter on focus has affected my dailies the most. Duhigg recommends envisioning how I want my day to go.

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See the little M? This indicates my plan for my morning. I want to knock off my most important tasks early in the day, so I visualize how I expect my morning to go the night before. This lets me course-correct if my plan deviates from reality in the morning. I step through, in my mind, how I expect things to go, and then I work my plan.

I also pick a Most Important Task—an MIT—and write it down. I do this immediately after my morning routine and visualize it as part of my morning. You can see I started doing this on Monday the 23rd:

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Have you ever read a book that changed how you plan?


Here are the tools I’ve used in this post:
Pen: TWSBI Diamond 580 Fountain Pen, Fine Nib
Ink: Take-Sumo Pilot Iroshizuki Ink, Charcoal Black
Markers: Staedtler Fineliners
Journal: Leuchttrum 1917 A5 Dotted Blue Notebook


View more photos over at my instagram!

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  • Lindsey

    May 26, 2016

    Thanks for sharing! I love the simplicity of your bullet journal. I tend to get overwhelmed looking at all the cute, artsy bullet journals you see out on Pinterest, so to see one done so simply and well done is refreshing. Thanks so much!

  • Wow! Thanks for this inspiration! I think I’ll do a spread like your one for my goals! 🙂

  • Pingback: My December Experiment – WIRE AND MAGIC

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