Justin’s 2019 Productivity Journal

Justin’s 2019 Productivity Journal

Over the last few months I’ve really gotten out of the habit of doing a regular weekly review. Part of it is I couldn’t justify taking the dedicated time to do so with my need to get hours billed. Now that I’m not running solely off self-employed income, I have a lot more liberty to resume a weekly review.

What I enjoyed most about doing weekly reviews previously was being able to get out of the house, think about the bigger picture, and share my thoughts with you all. Thus we start another productivity journal!

May 12-18

Bullet Journal

I’m almost two months into the experiment of running my life in a Bullet Journal. As with any system, the Bullet Journal is as amazing as the work you put into it. Lately, due to pure exhaustion solely from some major things happening in my life, I haven’t been as diligent with it.

I feel like the Bullet Journal is a fairly forgiving system, though. I haven’t missed a day using it, but I definitely haven’t engaged with it much. However, I don’t feel like I’m missing any of my tasks or anything like that.

There are two things I primarily struggle with in regards to the Bullet Journal.

First, I’m having a hard time building routines with it. This might be solely related to the fact that I just started a new job and am working out my routines there, too, but nonetheless, I found using a recurring checklist in OmniFocus helped me immensely in getting going for the day. I haven’t found that sweet spot with the Bullet Journal yet.

Second, the friction of needing to have it in front of me to use it prevents me from fully using it. This 100% isn’t an issue when I’m at my desk, but these days, I’m not always at my desk. I don’t always have a notebook with me. Yes, there’s a Bullet Journal app. Yes, I can use Drafts to capture things. Capture isn’t really the problem, it’s the working list. I have a lot of things going on right now, and the working list in the Bullet Journal isn’t always sticking in my head. Granted, the system is working, but I find this friction annoying sometimes. I also find I brain dump ideas about projects into collections, but have a hard time going back to review them. That’s probably something that needs to happen during my weekly reviews. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m feeling dissatisfied in the slightest with the Bullet Journal, and now that there’s a new theme component for Discourse to turn it into a Kanban board, I’m really tempted to spin that up and give it a go. It gives me everything I want just about… but if I don’t commit to a tool for a while, there’s no point.


  1. Starting to feel comfortable in my new job.
  2. Have really tried to keep my priorities in focus this week to a bunch of success.
  3. Picked up an old past-time for relaxing: yo-yoing


  1. Worked a little too hard this week at times, not giving myself enough breaks or rest time.
  2. Need to engage in my Bullet Journal a little bit more for it to be effective.
  3. Need to find some sort of routines and stick to them daily as much as possible for my own sanity.

Next Week

  1. Build out a startup routine to complete before beginning work.
  2. Commit to using the Bullet Journal.
  3. Be sure to take it easy this week.

We want a Video please !!!


Eventually… :smiley:

May 20 - 24

It really feels good to be back doing these again. I feel more… aware of where I’m at and where my life is. I wasn’t in a place of feeling overwhelmed, but more like not all the open loops were closing completely.

So far, doing a weekly review hasn’t required me to fully jump through all my lists in depth as they’re pretty simple. However, I’m sure that’ll be changing as my new job ramps up more and more.

I’m making some changes to my tooling considering some unneeded friction in managing projects.

Here’s how I’m handling it:

Routine Tasks -> OmniFocus
Working List -> Bullet Journal
Project Planning/Management -> Discourse

Let me explain my reasoning.

I’m sticking with OmniFocus for routine tasks and process checklists because it handles these so darn well. It jives with the way my brain works and it notifies me the way I want to be notified.

Frankly, the Bullet Journal has been a great way to manage the little details through my day, week, and month. It’s not the best (for me anyway) at managing the bigger picture. So all my journaling, daily tasks, and capture will continue to happen in the Bullet Journal. If something needs more planning, it will go in…


Yeah, this is a pretty nerdy solution, but to be frank, there’s a new theme component which turns topics into a Kanban board. This is exactly what I want for managing projects. I can put all my checklists, reference materials, and everything in the same place while being able to differentiate what projects are active and not in a visual way.

I’m just setting this up today, but I’m really hopeful for this.

An additional win here – Discourse is a progressive web application. This means I can add it to the homescreen on my iPhone as its own icon. A BONUS upside here is it still works when Safari is disallowed under Screen Time controls. I haven’t had a web browser on my phone for the last 3 months or so, and my mind feels so much freer.



  1. Stuck to the system this week and felt a lot better
  2. Started some really basic morning and evening routines to help me manage being a remote worker better
  3. Put less pressure on myself this week and felt a lot better. Plus yo-yos.


  1. Need to gain bigger picture clarity hence the need for more system layers.
  2. Continue to adjust mindset with a 100% remote company for my own work
  3. Need a plan to handle exercise when it’s not nice outside (which has been the last 6mos…)

Next Week

  1. Continue to commit to morning and evening routines every workday
  2. Get to play with new 2019 MBP :smiley:
  3. Find a rhythm using new components of my system

It’s interesting that you bumped into some of the same issues I did when I used BuJo a few months ago–the routines and recurring tasks plus the need to have the journal physically present. I add stuff to Omnifocus by talking to my watch all the time.
There were many things I liked about BuJo, but ultimately decided to take some of its principles and apply them somewhere else.


Yeah I’m still using it as my main task management/planning method, but other items just feel better in other locations. Jury’s out on how well splitting it up is going to work, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway!

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This is similar to my use of tools. OF is handling the bigger stuff, activities with many smaller particles, and reminders that are sometime out in the future. For my journal, I have been using the Fully Focused Journal and that has been going quite well. I really tried to be fully digital but the ability to sit down with pen/paper and go through items and sketch out flows was better on paper. I cary the pocket field guides and use when pulling out a phone may not be practical.


I’ve been more and more of a fan of multi-tool, hybrid systems as I’ve grown in experience with productivity. My main sticking point of frustration is that this one tool can’t do something. Well, it doesn’t have to!

Technology is not the answer to everything, even though a lot of people would give that sentiment these days. I’m so thankful to have adopted paper into a practical part of my workflow. I feel a lot clearer headed and have a place where I can disconnect if I start feeling unclear.

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May 27 - 31


  1. Another monthly migration in the Bullet Journal done.
  2. Got clarity regarding my system needs and actively worked toward implementing.
  3. Got my new MBP up and running


  1. It’s hard finding childcare for two kids! That was a major stressor last week.
  2. I totally ditched out on my morning routine. I’ve consistently had a hard time with exercising, which is my main focus for having a routine like that.
  3. I’m still learning to slow down and be okay with that. Getting closer.

Next (This) Week

  1. Refine the multi-step system I’m working on.
  2. Flesh out ideas for June Guild video module
  3. Continue misc work projects

Not going to post a writeup this week as I got behind!

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