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Today's RED Hearts Update: Entertainment

All You Need To Do To Your To-Do Lists

By Lisa Chau, 26, reporting from Pompano Beach, FL, on an organizational system that really works

I am obsessed with making lists. I make all sorts of them, from daily to-do’s to my top five spirit animals (sloth, penguin, cat, otter, and sea cucumber, in case you’re wondering).But lists can get out of hand pretty quickly. I used to be scattered. Post-its were everywhere and my super important thoughts were held on crumbled scraps of napkin in my purse. I’ve sifted through all the “Top 100 To-Do List Apps” and basically have tried out every organizational approach ever created. But I couldn’t customize the way I wanted, and the sheer number of choices was overwhelming.

Then I discovered the Bullet Journal, which is hands-down the best way to keep track of all your daily endeavors, all in one place. I’m not kidding, I’ve told everyone and their mothers about it. Greatest thing about Bullet? All you need is a pen and a notebook. It’s analog and it’s not selling you anything—beyond a supersmart system for you to make your own.

Here are the basics: You begin by indexing topics at the beginning of your journal, much like a table of contents in a book. Then you add as you go. These can be anything your little heart desires—exotic foods to try, karate moves to learn, or just a classic monthly calendar.

Bullet Journal offers clear, simple icons to represent certain types of entries: checkboxes for tasks, bullets for thoughts and ideas, and circles for events. At the end of each month, you just consolidate the things you haven’t completed and carry them over to the next month. If even this level of organizational order makes you want to rebel, know that it’s up to you from there. You may like grid paper or ruled. You can create your own icons. You can use pencils or colored pens. You can draw otters.

I’m strictly a black Sharpie and large-squared Moleskine notebook kind of girl. I like to keep track of general things, like how much I exercise or when I got sick. I also like documenting events that are fun to read later, like, “Lost my stun gun at the beach” or “Got 12 mosquito bites on my foot.”

Regardless of how you decide to set up your Bullet Journal, as long as you follow the basic strategy—dump and consolidate—you’ll always have a record of what you’ve done in the past and the awesome things you’re going to do in the future.

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