Hi there, I’ve been bullet journaling since 2006 and think that the current version of Legend is the closest I’ve ever gotten to digital bujo nirvana. I’ll go over my setup below but tried to include as much context in the screenshot for all you tl;dr types.
Even with a large monitor, real estate is a consideration because I prefer a one-screen view of everything actionable in my journal. That is why there is no calendar pane in my setup. As with everything, take what you find useful from this overview and leave the rest if it doesn’t fit your work style.
Here is my layout:
Minor configuration detail: I place my toolbar at the top in order to save me space horizontally. You’ll also notice that the navigation bar is closed on all of my panes, meaning I only work out of one document. Also, this screenshot is from the mockup I created in a separate document; you’ll notice boards at the top for desktop, laptop and mobile. I can go over these in another post if requested but as you can guess they have to do with maximizing screen real estate on each device.
Pane 1: The bullet journal
The journal pane is all data entry. YMMV on sections but you will see three projects:
- Journal: This is where my daily work goes. It’s mostly notes and tasks, not a lot of reference (but not zero reference). The last couple of days sit at the top of the journal and everything else gets dragged into the archive. Ordering the archive by most recent first allows me to drag recent days in more easily.
- Shopping: I keep separate sub-lists for household and groceries in here and expose it in a pane in mobile view.
- Recurring Events: Chores, birthdays and anniversaries go in here. I will occasionally add a recurring task directly to the journal but may eventually move it into this section.
NOTE: Where you see the dates in the journal (my favored date format is “Mon 1 Jan 2022”) I have used AutoHotKey with a text shortcut to dump in the date.
Pane 2: The priority list
I don’t manage my tasks out of the journal pane, I manage them out of the next three panes. Since I review my tasks multiple times a day, I am frequently shifting tasks between priorities (using the keyboard shortcuts of course). I could switch to a format where I only use priorities for marking tasks instead of checkboxes but a) I don’t want to run the risk of creating a task with no priority that disappears in my journal and b) I like to click checkboxes. 😛
Your breakouts for priority may differ from mine but in general:
- High = do today or urgent for monitoring
- Medium = due this week or within the next seven days, or just because I think it belongs there
- Low = for non-urgent waiting-for tasks (hello GTDers!) or scheduled tasks that need a little visibility, i.e. due this month
Pane 3: The agenda calendar
If I had infinite horizontal space for a monthly calendar (my preferred calendar view) then I would use that, but I have happily settled for an agenda view of tasks sorted by ascending date.
To keep from seeing every date for all time, I restricted the pane with the filter “before:today+60” so it only shows tasks due within the next two months. (I highlighted the “christmas shopping” task from the journal to demonstrate this.)
This pane is most useful for moving tasks into the priority list (pane 2) as they get closer to being due. An example from the screenshot is the “water plants” task that is due tomorrow. I would normally prioritize that to medium within a week or on Monday of the week.
Pane 4: The sweep list
For anything that I’m capturing on the fly or can’t decide a priority, it goes on the sweep list. I review the sweep list once a day and promote tasks to priorities as needed. I will also demote prioritized tasks if they snuck into the priority list but really fall under that “not important/not urgent” quadrant (hello Eisenhower matrix fans!).
If a task has lived on the sweep list for a while (a while = when you realize it has been on there too long) then I will delete it or more likely tag it with #cancelled and mark it as complete.
NOTE: Tasks with dates will not show up on the sweep list. So if you put a date on it, it will show up in the agenda calendar when it gets to within two months. (See the “christmas shopping” tasks again for this use case.)
This is an accumulation of my experience using bullet journals, GTD and several other productivity methods and task management tools (too many to list here, honestly). I will probably continue to fine tune it but after using this setup for a couple of months, I’m still satisfied with it and figured it might help others. Feel free to reach out in replies if you have any questions!