Keeping Up With My To-Do’s

I always say that I prefer to be busy. Until I am actually too busy to keep up with everything! Then I get stressed out and have to rethink how I use my time. This month has been a pretty busy one with several exciting things happening within a week of each other. Eek!

Right now I’m juggling the following:

  • My full time job as a Traffic Engineer
  • A puppy in the house (yes, this really is an effort even if he is darn cute)
  • Having meaningful relationships with family
  • My part time job as a genealogy educator and publisher
  • My part time job as a partner and publisher at The In-Depth Genealogist
  • Yard work and keeping my house at a manageable level of disarray
  • My sanity

So all of these things are important to me, but trying to remember all that I want and need to do can be a handful at time. That’s why I use a bullet journal (TM). I’ve mentioned my genealogy bullet journal in the past, but I thought I’d share a bit about my other bullet journals too. You see, I have two other ones so that I don’t forget anything important. I may only be 42 years old, but sometimes my memory isn’t the greatest.  A bullet journal helps me track what I promised to do… and what I actually have done. It’s like having my brain on paper!

My primary bullet journal is the one pictured to the left. It is an inexpensive notebook that I bought at my local Walgreens. It’s roughly 8.5″ x 6.75″ in size. I then used stickers and other decorations to personalize it. journal-index

Within it I keep track of my personal life, goals, business, and other pursuits. I have shared a photo of my index page so that you can get an idea of the kinds of things that I refer to frequently.  A good portion of my journal is for a monthly and weekly calendar. I have a 12 month “Future Log” that I use in the beginning to highlight important dates in the year to come.  I have blurred out a few things that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing publicly, but at the very least you get a feel for the kind of things I keep track of on the future log.


Then I break it down on a monthly calendar.


I don’t do a lot of decorating other than the heading and some washi tape down the edges to give it a bit of flair. It really is more about function and not forgetting what’s coming up in the weeks to come. I then have a weekly breakdown too. I have some random pages for lists that I need at the time. This week included a packing list for my short trip up to South Bend, Indiana for my visit with family and my presentation. This journal is my go-to on a daily basis.


Then I have my bullet journal dedicated to The In-Depth Genealogist. This is a grid based notebook that I bought at Staples. It’s a bit larger 7.5″ x 9.75″, but it works well for my purposes.


Within I have an index as you can see to the right.  My index includes a lot of different topics and calendars of course! I love having the future log and calendars focused on IDG business to refer to.

I also have a few other pages that I like to look at when I feel like things aren’t going the way I want with my work at IDG. It helps me realize that we really have come a long way. It’s a listing of things that I feel are accomplishments we have made. Every single one of these things took an enormous amount of learning and time to complete.


Another page that helps me cope with difficult decisions is this one. You see, sometimes an opportunity comes along and you decide that the timing is just not quite right. So you reluctantly pass on it. That’s when I remind myself that other opportunities will come when the time is right. It gives me some peace with the decision and hope for the future.



Here’s an example of my May To-Do list. I had a lot going on with IDG. We had new writers we were getting under contract and new publications to edit. Plus we had the magazine to publish (like we do every month!). So each month I make one of these lists. Sometimes I get them all done…. and sometimes not. Anything I don’t complete gets carried to the next month’s to-do list. That way I don’t forget about items that are important for our business.

So there you have it! This is the system that I use to keep track of all those items that I want and need to get done. This is an ever-evolving process and that’s the great thing about using blank notebooks to journal in. When the whim strikes to try something new… it’s easy to do!

Do you have a bullet journal or notebook? I’d love to learn more about how you use yours. Please feel free to comment and share!


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