How I bullet journal with Evernote — update

In 2017 I wrote a piece on how I set up my bullet journal in Evernote, always looking for a new way to be more productive and keep track of my projects, to do lists, calendar, health trackers, and so on.

Three years later, I am still bullet journalling in Evernote. However a bullet journal is a living thing. It evolves around your needs and wishes. In this article I want to show you my new layout and explain why I made certain changes, to inspire you for any changes you would like to make in your bullet journal in Evernote.

Evernote notebook layout

basic bullet journal layout

The basic lay-out is still quite similar to what is was before.

I have several ‘umbrella’ notebooks (stacks) in my Evernote. Some are things I want to remember (2. Cabinet), then there are a few that are related to my work, education and workshops and volunteer work. And there is the one for my Bullet Journal.

I took the Cabinet out of my Bullet Journal and gave it a separate notebook, as I felt it made more sense to add several smaller notebooks in the ‘Cabinet’ stack, instead of having all notes together. In the Cabinet I added all of the things I want to remember. Ideas for the future. Some collections, such as a list of books Iwant to read, cities I want to travel to. A collection of recipes... This gives my Cabinet -basically any lists of things I want to remember- a better organizational structure, making them easier to sort through and find when I need them.

A new feature in my bullet journal is an inbox. After which you find the regulars: a future log, a monthly log, and a weekly log (in which I keep a daily log). All notebooks in my bullet journal stack have a number in their name, keeping them listed in a certain order.

As you can see, there are a few more notebooks in my bullet journal stack that do not necessarily relate to bulletjournalling, but that I use in my reviews or planning phases and are better kept close for this purpose.

the inbox

The inbox, a new feature I use, is borrowed from Getting Things Done (GTD) This is my default notebook. Meaning if I create a note on my phone, it automatically saves to this folder. This makes it easy to create notes on the go of things I want to remember. When I have a minute, I go through my inbox and do a follow up of my notes. This can be, adding them to a collection, my projects or adding them to a to do list in the monthly or weekly overview.

You can choose a certain notebook as your default notebook in tools -> options -> general.

the future log

I changed the template of my future log quite a bit. Using the Evernote template year calendar, with some adjustments for my liking. Each year is a new note, saved in my 01 futurelog notebook, in my 1. Bullet Journal stack.

future log layout

In the future log I keep important dates, such as travel dates, deadlines, holidays, appointments and the like. I added a dropbox at the top, where I keep information on things I still want to add to the calendar somewhere. Additionally there are two rows at the top where I have a row for projects. Per month I can add specific projects I want to work on that month that do not have a specific deadline. And a row of reminders where I keep reminders for myself. For example, to remember not to plan any work trips in February, but staying home if possible.

the monthly log

monthly log notebook and month note

The monthly log provides a basic overview of to do’s for that month. Every month is a new note, saved in my 02 monthly log notebook. In the note I add my monthly log template to fill preparing for that month.

What I did is create a template of my ideal monthly layout. After which I created 12 months worth of monthlylogs. How to create a template? Create the layout you want in a new note. Select the three little dots in the right top corner and select save as template. When creating a new note for which you want to use one of your templates, just select use template. That will guide you to an overview page of all your templates. Additionally it will give you the option to go to the Evernote template library and use one of their templates.

I use my monthly log to capture a general idea of the tasks I want to do that month. They are not specific, but broad. More goals, than tasks. For example: a goal would be: create work protocol. In my weekly log I then specify the tasks necessary to complete this ‘goal’. At the end of the month I use the monthly log to review my month.

I no longer add specific dates into the monthly log. I felt it did not give me the overview I wanted or needed. Having a weekly overview in the monthly log was specific enough at this stage. Specific dates can be remembered either in the yearly overview in the future log, or in the weekly log.

my template for the month

At the top section copy of future log I might add anything I have in my futurelog that I want to copy to my monthly log. Such as certain projects or deadlines. You can also add certain habitual plans you want to introduce. For example, this year, I want to plan at least one private project a month.

In the overview table I have all the weeks of that month, including dates in that week, and a few columns divided over self case, love, work, extra curricular and home. Ofcourse this is not something you need to do. One of my 2020 yearly resolutions is to better balance my life. This division makes it easy for me to see whether I am succeeding. are all columns filled in? Or are some empty, some too full? At the beginning of the month I divide the workload over the weeks of the month, ensuring I never have a week that is to heavy, and seeing where there is room to add additional work.

I also have a row at the top for books I finished this month (for my review) and projects I want to work on that month.

Underneath there is a section dropbox/braindump, which is just a place to quickly jot anything down, quick thoughts, ideas, plans that I do not want to forget.

The section review is both a checklist of things I need to do every month, such as check and review my budget and plan the next month in greater detail. And some questions to guide my review at the end of the month. I just type the answers underneath the question.

Finally there is a diary section, where I can keep a diary of that month.

the weekly log, and daily log

weekly log notebook and week notes

What I keep in my weekly log is still quite similar to my previous weekly log. However the layout has changed quite a lot. I do still have my daily logs in my weeklogs, as personally I do not need a full daily log note. A weekly overview works better for me.

As you can see, each week is a new note, titled with the week number, and the dates of that week. Saved in the 03 weekly log notebook.

In the weekly log I keep track of all the tasks and appointments I have that week. I keep the list of tasks as specific as possible. Where the monthly log is more on a goals level, the weekly log is very task specific. In the picture below you can see the tasks that are all linked to the goal create work protocol.

my template for the week, including daily logs

The weekly log starts with a section where I copy the goals and appointments from my monthly log for that week. I then subdivide that over the days in the table below bullet journal.

At the top there is a section books, these are the books I am currently reading. Below there is a column for the day, the time which is broadly divided into morning, afternoon and evening. There is the journal, which is the section with all the tasks and appointments. Plus a column for intention setting, a gratitude journal where I try to add three things to be grateful for every day, and a review or journalling section where I can jot down what I thought of the day.

Underneath each day, there is an overview of my daily habits, things I want to do every day, or every week. If I completed the habit that day, I check the box. Some habits I want to do every day, some every workday, and some 3 times a week. How often I want to do it that week is in brackets behind the habit.

I put in tasks with a checkbox. Appointments are put in with the time of the appointment. If I complete a task, or do something that was not originally on my list, I add it as well, adding it to the daily overview starting with a punctuation.

Similar to my monthly log, I review my weekly log at the bottom of the week. Here I keep a list of things I want to do every week, and I keep a list of questions to help me guide my weekly review.

my template for the week: review

After a week has passed, or a month has passed, I move the note (log) of that week or month to the completed bullet journal notebook. This keeps the notebooks I work in on a daily basis clean.

move notes to completed bullet journal