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.
I’ve been using a habit tracker in various formats since January. It’s been an evolving process.
First, I used a tracker to see what chores I was doing when. I wanted to track frequency to implement a chore schedule. I only used this for a month, but it was enough to see how frequently I needed to perform certain chores.
Next, I used one to track my habits. How often was I working on the things I care about? This spread from March helped me figure it out.
I also started tracking how many pages I was reading per day in which book.
This month, I’ve expanded my goals a bit. I’m tracking more habits and using it to evaluate my monthly goals. I do weekly checkins on my monthly goals, and this tracker gives me a great sense on how I’m doing with them.
In this setup, the boxes are days I should be doing something, the diagonal lines are items that weren’t added yet on those dates, and the colored in boxes means I did that habit on that day. I also like to leave a blank line between weeks so it’s easy to see how I did for one particular week.
Habit trackers are useful to evaluate if you’re hitting certain goals, but they’re only useful if you define strictly what goals you want to hit. For example, I define my reading habit as “read any book for ten minutes a day”. Articles don’t count, magazines don’t count, and the internet doesn’t count. It has to be a book. Defining these habits strictly keeps me from being wishy-washy about what counts.
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
The links in this post are affiliate links. What this means is I get a small commission if you purchase a product through these links. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and supports my work. I don’t promote anything I don’t love. Thank you! 🙂
View more photos over at my instagram!
Last week I posted about my April goals.
Here’s a quick update from my weekly review:
- Read ten minutes a day. I read four out of 7 days last week.
- Complete three Power Hours per week. I did one out of three Power Hours last week.
- Do ten minutes of PWK per workday. This is a class I’m taking. I didn’t work on it at all. I get a zero out of five on this goal.
- Sleep 7.5 hours a night. My fitbit told me I got 7 hours and 40 minutes of sleep per night on average.
- Write down when I eat junk food or carbs. I’m still doing this. I’ve started eating more junk recently. Part of my goals for next month is definitely going to have to be bulk cooking! I also need some easy snacks for work.
- Perform a weekly review every week. Nailed this!
My habit tracker contains a lot of my tracking information, which is what I pulled from to make this list.
Recently, I’ve been struggling with scheduling. My current bullet journal setup is missing time tracking. I tried using the time tracking bars the community loves, but I found they only worked great for tasks that take a long time. Sometimes, I have 15 tasks I need to cram into an hour. As a result, I tried using Google Calendar to schedule out my day, and I hated it. It doesn’t display entries nicely when they’re entered into 15 minute chunks. However, what I did find really helpful this week was printing off a daily view from Outlook’s calendar and writing on it. I used these yesterday and today and found them helpful! (Wish I could post pictures of them, but they contain sensitive work information). I enjoy seeing my tasks written out with their corresponding time block more than I do seeing them in list form in my journal. At work, I’ve been using my journal more as a capture tool and these sheets for processing my list. Also, they’re wide enough that if my schedule changes, I can cross off chunks on the left and write new ones to the right. I’ve been tracking my experimentation with scheduling under “enter time on calendar” on my habit tracker.
For next week, I need to work on implementing my coursework into my daily schedule. I also need to schedule a Power Hour or two during my lunch break, because a lot of the tasks I’ve been delaying on require calling during business hours. I also found I read the most when I take public transit instead of biking, so I need to start reading at home.
If you want to see what tools I use in my bullet journal, check out this post!
Till next week!
I did my March Review earlier this week, and based off that, created my April goals. Here they are:
- Read ten minutes a day; track via habit tracker.
- 3 Power Hours per week; track via habit tracker.
- PWK 10 minutes per workday; track via habit tracker.
- Sleep 7.5 hours a night; track via Fitbit.
- Write down when I eat junk food or carbs; set up separate page in bullet journal.
- Perform a weekly review every week. Note time on monthly goals page.
I use a habit tracker to track what I want to do frequently:
Each day, before bed, I go through my habit tracker and mark what I did and didn’t do. I also mark down how many pages I read in which book at the bottom of my habit tracker. Next, I write down three things I’m grateful for in my gratitude log. Then, I note if I ate any junk food that day, and finally, I review my daily page and set up the next day. The whole process usually takes about five minutes or so.
Once a week, I update my monthly goals page with my progress and do a check-in with myself. Am I hitting these goals? What can be adjusted? I’ve been trying to do my weekly review on Sunday nights, but I missed the first week of April due to moving. Here’s my latest review:
How do you review?
I do a monthly review near the beginning of every month. I like to ask myself three questions:
– What worked?
– What didn’t?
– What can I do to improve?
Power hours! If I set a timer for an hour and push through as many small tasks as I can, I get a ton done. This works wonders for little things.
Another idea that helped me in March was actually what’s becoming a mantra: “The only way out is through.” Sometimes, I just have to push through a task to be done with it, and this phrase has been steadying me for the hard ones.
Recently, I’ve had a ton of small boomerang tasks–those tasks that seem complete but always come back with a next step. I’ve been having a difficult time getting them under control, so I decided I needed to track my time, not just my tasks. I tried a couple of different spreads in March to accomplish this. I used a weekly spread for a week, which just resulted in a lot of page flipping and didn’t help much.
I also took some scrap paper and drew out a weekly calendar with boxes for tasks, broken down by hour. This worked better than the weekly spread in my journal, but there wasn’t space to revise as my schedule changed.
What can I do to improve:
This month, I’m trying to plan my day out using Google Calendar so I can drag and drop my various tasks around as my schedule changes. I’ll keep y’all posted as I try it.
I’m also making sure I spend 5 minutes every day before bed running through my planner to ensure I’m keeping up on my goals. Also, I’m trying to read for at least ten minutes a day so I can make more progress on books. My goal in March was to read three books; I started six and got half way through each. My favorite so far is Mindset* by Dr. Carol Dweck.
My next post will run through my April goals, the other half of my review spread. Look for it on Wednesday!
* This is an affiliate link. What this means is I get a small commission if you purchase a product through these links. It doesn’t cost you any extra and supports my work. I don’t promote anything I don’t love. Thank you! 🙂
For more photos, check out my instagram at wireandmagic.