My 2019 Bullet Journal Setup: A Minimalist Plan for Increasing Productivity

My 2019 Bullet Journal Setup: A Minimalist Plan for Increasing Productivity

– Hi everyone, my name is Matt and welcome to another bullet
journal productivity video. This is a big video. This is an important video. I know you’re going to love it. This is the 2019 big
picture, goal-crushing productivity video, this
is where everything started for me last year with the
2018 productivity video, if you want to like take
a walk down memory lane or you haven’t seen it
before, it’s right up there. So, I’m going to break
this into two videos, I’ll go ahead and tell you that now. The first one, this one, is
going to cover your big goals and how to break them down
into quarter, month, weekly, tasks, projects, different
things like that. I’m also going to show
you how I align the themes of the year for me, with the goals I have, the systems that I set up,
and the habits that go along to make all of those things happen because one of the things
that I’m going to tell you about today, one of the things
that you’re going to see in this video, in the journal, in the way that I’m laying everything out
is that everything has to be in alignment for you to reach
the goals that you have. And the thing that I want
to share with you today when it comes to goal
setting an achievement is that it’s probably even
more about the systems and habits that you have set
up to achieve those goals than just saying oh I want to
do this, you know, XYZ thing. Now, the first thing
that I want to start with when it comes to productivity
planning for 2019 is whatever your theme is going to be. Now, you can have multiple
themes like whether it’s for personal, work, relationships,
different things that you have, I normally
have two to three themes for a year and the reason that
I have this is they’re not goals per se, but they’re
kind of objectives, themes, that I have that align my
goals, my systems, my structure, my life, with the theme that I have. I have three themes for this year. The first one is to ship products and ship new things. Not just in work but also on this channel and for this community as
well, I’ve been working on a course that you’re going
to hear more about really soon, I’ve also been working
on a couple other ebooks, membership community that
if you’re on the email list, you know about, and a few other things and so I want to be disciplined
and actually like create more things in 2019 and so a theme of mine is to ship more products
and ship new products, okay? So, that theme aligns with
goals that I could have and anytime I’m creating a
goal, I’m going to think, does this align with a theme that I have? The second one is that I want to be really mindful of my marriage in 2019. We just had our second child. For me, I really enjoy being a dad, I also really enjoy
being married to my wife. The thing is is that it doesn’t
take much mindful effort for me to be a good dad and
some of that is just because those of you that have kids,
you know that when a kid wants your attention, they will just
tell you and so, it’s like, it’s in your face, sometimes very much so, you can’t really ignore it. Sometimes with a marriage, it’s not quite that straightforward and so commitment to my marriage, it’s doing things like
setting up those date nights or doing little things that I
know will make my wife happy and let her know that I appreciate her. So, that’s my second theme. The third one is to become more
technically sound in my work at ConvertKit. I have a lot of things down
when it comes to people and projects, you know,
planning, all of those, I guess they all start
with p, that I’m good at. The thing that I could
use some improvement with is technical proficiency,
learn a technical language like SQL or Python and then
build up a GitHub repository so that I can share like
some of the things that I’m learning and have like more
of a public place for that. The reason this matters is
when you define a theme, when you name something for
the year, it aligns your goals and systems with that theme
and so, if you think about this in the idea of Simon
Sinek’s Golden Circle, the why, the how, and the what. Theme is at the center of
everything that you want to do, it’s the why, like this
is why this matters to me and then your goal is what
it’s going to look like, the thing that you want to accomplish. The outer ring is the how,
how it’s going to get done. And those are the systems that you create that support the goal
that you want to achieve that aligns with the theme
that you have for the year for your life. Now that we’ve talked about themes, I want to talk about that
next step which is the goal that you want to achieve
and the reason that goals and systems play really nicely together is that you can have, you
can just state a goal, anyone can throw a goal out there. Like, I want to make this much money, I want to achieve this
thing with my health or I want to have a better
marriage, like I said. Commitment to marriage
is something that I have. Now, the goal in that
would be something like I want to have a monthly
date night with my wife. The theme is a commitment to marriage, the goal is to have a monthly date night, the habit that I need to
get into is booking a sitter once a month and making
sure that that is set up so that I can achieve the goal of having the monthly date night so
that it aligns with my theme of being committed to my marriage in 2019 amongst all the things that are going on. Another way to think about this,
let’s look at another theme that I have which is to ship new product. And so, a goal that I have is to create this productivity course that a lot of you have already heard about. What I would say for a goal is that in Q1, I want to ship my first
productivity course. So, that’s the goal. Now, what’s the system that I create that helps me get to the point of being able to launch that course? Well, the system would
be that I need to work a few hours a week on
this, at specific times, preferably because then
that gets me in the habit. The goal that I have is to create my first productivity course in
the first quarter of 2019. How am I going to do that? Well, the goal is one thing
that I’ve just described. The system and the habits are how, again, remember with our three circles. The system is how it’s
actually going to get done. So, I know this is going to
take like three or four hours out of the week, I can schedule those in. I already have my quarterly
goal which is to create the course, the next thing
that I do is I think about, okay, what needs to be done every month and what needs to be done every week in order to accomplish that? You can add days as well but
based on the amount of time that I know that I can give to this, I know I’m probably not
going to work on it every day but there are things that
I need to have shipped or completed every single
week in order to build towards the goal at the end of the quarter of shipping that first
productivity course. And the first thing would
be is, if I want to say have six to eight lessons in there,
that it’s probably going to be best if I complete
three lessons each month and then have some time to edit. So, what do I need to do every single week to reach the goal that I
have at the end of the month? Which is to complete
three or four lessons. Well, then, what I need to
do is I need to at least write a really solid
draft every single week of each lesson. So, you see how I go from
this is what I want to do with the quarter, which is to
launch a productivity course, this is what I need to do each month, complete three or four
lessons, and so this is what I need to do each week,
complete at least one lesson in order to get to that month, in order to get to that quarter and that aligns with the theme that I have of shipping new products. Let’s get down to even
more nitty gritty on this. What is the system? What are the habits that I would have in order to accomplish
these goals each week, each month, and each quarter? The first thing that I would
do is to block off time in my calendar, say on Tuesday, Thursday, and an hour on Saturday and Sunday, so that gives me four hours each week to work on these things
and I can work pretty fast at this point. One of the things that I’ve
done is that I’ve outlined, I have a checklist, I
have things that I do, so when I sit down to work, there’s not a lot of wasted time. It’s just, I know which lesson I’m on, I know what the outline is and I just have to start writing and I do that for the hour. Let’s take it back a step even further and think about what is the
habit that I need to have? What are a couple of things that I can do in order to get myself into
the system so that I can do the work every week so
that I can achieve the goal every month and then launch the course at the end of the quarter? Well, one thing that I would
do if it’s writing specific, something that I do, is I
close everything on my computer except for the writing app. Now, I use the Bear
Notes app, and I love it, and so I will just have
it open on the screen, I’ll close the computer,
that way when I’m ready in the morning, I just open
it up and there’s Bear app, there’s the headline if I’ve
added in a little description or a short outline of what
I wanted to accomplish or the sections that I wanted to write. It’s all right there and all I have to do is start writing and get to work. I don’t even have to open it because I did that last night. Let me give you one other example because it’s something
that I talk about a lot, so I want to be mindful of it. A lot of people get into this mindset at the beginning of the year and that is I want to be healthier, either I want to eat better or
I want to get in better shape and that’s very important to me, it’s a keystone habit for me, I’ve talked about that
in some other videos. What I would do to break this down, to use the same framework,
the same system, to achieve a fitness goal that I have, let’s say it’s to run a half marathon or complete a Spartan Race
or whatever it might be. I do like having specific
events and competitions to tag my goal with because
it gives me something very public and very
personal to work towards. The way that I train for
that is just by having a system that allows me to get in shape. The way to think through
this is that you don’t, even once you’re signed
up, you have that goal of like half-marathon,
Spartan race, whatever it is, you actually, at that point
don’t worry as much about the final goal and you
put all of your energy into the system and into
the habits that are going to help you achieve that goal
at the end of the quarter, in the middle of the year,
whenever it might be. The way that this would
work in real life is, let’s say you have that
race goal but the system that you’re going to
put into place is saying I’m going to work out three days a week. A habit that will help you on this and it’s going to sound silly
but there’s a lot of research to back this up. B. J. Fogg who’s a professor
at Stanford and James Clear who you’ve heard me talk
about many times in videos have all shown this to be
true through research studies. Just the process of say, like,
setting out your clothes, putting your workout shoes
on, that little habit, like a micro-habit of saying like, I’m just going to get in the
car, once you are in the car, it’s going to feel silly to
not go and maybe you just go and you’re there for like five minutes. You’re like, all right,
I’m here, I’m working out. You are just establishing the habit. You’re establishing the system
that is going to allow you to reach the goal that you have. All I know is that I
have to get in the car and show up and I’m going
to have a great workout and that’s going to help me achieve the physical fitness goals
that I have for the year. Now let’s talk about how you
can use your bullet journal to stay mindful of this, to stay on task, to continue to take action,
and how to align the things that you’re doing every single
day and every single week with what you want to
achieve over the month, over the quarter, over the year. You’ve seen this weekly
layout from me before and the way that it’s
different going into 2019 is I’m asking myself the
question, what do I need to be able to do this
week to move me closer to my monthly and quarterly goals? And so, asking myself that question aligns the outcomes and objectives
that I have for the week with what I hope to achieve over the month and over the quarter and,
you know, over the year but mostly, I don’t, that’s
why I don’t have yearly goals, I have quarterly goals and yearly themes but we’ve already talked about that. So, what I write down is
the objective or outcome that I want to have for the week, something big that I want to do along with the goal or
theme that it aligns with for the quarter or for the year. So, you can see for the
first week of January that one of the things that I want to do is complete three modules of SQL training and that aligns with the
theme and with the goal of becoming more technically proficient and learning SQL. Another objective or outcome
that I have for the week is to write and hopefully
complete the full final draft of the team communications lesson which aligns with the goal of shipping the productivity course. So, you can see how I have the outcome aligned with the theme or goal. And so, that’s really important. Anytime you’re putting something down that you want to achieve, you want to think about
which goal, which theme, is this aligned with so that
I know I’m making progress in everything that I do? Asking yourself the question, how does this thing that
I say that I want to do or that is being asked
of me, does it align with the goals, with the
themes, with the objectives that I have for my week, for my month, for the quarter, for the year? Two others that you can see,
one is to complete the GitHub intro material, that also
aligns with being more technically proficient, and the
last one is just to complete the onboarding playbook
and that isn’t so much like a specific objective or goal that I have but it is something
specific for an objective that I have for work. The last thing on this that
I want to encourage you on is that we’ve talked a lot about planning. Like, the whole title of this video is 2019 planning, that’s
the whole theme of this. But what I want to
encourage you on is that for all this planning
and all of this outlining and all of this being
mindful of the things that we have to do, there’s
still a very big thing that you have to do them. You have to take action. All of these ideas are
worthless without the execution to make them happen. I think it was Derek Sivers who said ideas are just multiplied
by their execution. So, you can have a great idea, if you don’t do anything with it, then that idea is worthless. Another thing that came
out of James Clear’s book Atomic Habits is this
idea of taking action versus being in motion and being in motion would be like watching this
video or me like outlining all of these things that I
did in the bullet journal. Doing all of this,
making this preparation, it is useful, like, you’re
going to get some good ideas out of this. I have a lot of clarity
about what I need to do after going through all of this. However, you still have to take action. Being in motion, kind of like
getting the ball rolling, is not the same as
actually doing the thing. So, as we close this video
out and you get ready for 2019, I want to encourage you in that. An ounce of action, a few steps of action are more worthwhile than
all of the perfect planning that you can do because
you still, at one point, you still have to do it. To add onto that, part two of this which you need to look for
in the next week, hopefully, is how to take those first small steps. This is an entirely, you
know, additional thing that I almost thought about
cramming into this video. The next video that’s going to
be all about getting started, taking action, taking
those first few small steps to like overcome the fear, get started, and be able to take action on
the things that matter to you. That’s the point, that’s the thing that you
want to be focusing on. All right, everyone, thank you so much for watching this video. I have been really excited
about sharing it with you. This is something that I’m
really passionate about as you can tell, it’s
something that has made a huge difference in my work, in my life, in my relationships, and my health, and I want to share it with you. If you know someone who would
benefit from this video, please share it with them. Another thing that you
can do is just give it a thumbs up, subscribe if
you’re here for the first time because there’s a whole
like, this whole past year, all of 2018 is videos
specifically about this so check out the archives,
I don’t know, the video list on my channel, you can see
that this is the kind of stuff that we talk about, this
is what this community is driving towards and I hope
you want to be a part of it because I think together we
can make 2019 be one of the best years that you’ve
ever had in your life. So, go ahead and hit Like and Subscribe. I can’t wait to share
the next video with you. Again, it’s all about getting started, taking those first steps,
so that you can take action on the things that matter
to you in your life. All right, everyone, thanks so much again and I’ll see you soon with another video on being productive in 2019. (soft music)


54 thoughts on “My 2019 Bullet Journal Setup: A Minimalist Plan for Increasing Productivity”

  • Thanks for this, Matt! Looking forward to taking this into the new year and starting fresh. Merry Christmas, and happy new year!

  • "Build the community" meaning that for the business, I'm going to be doing a lot of the non-scaleable. Creating a very personal experience in this automated world.

  • You r awesome. I learned a lot of things from you. I wrote on big papers and stick on the wall. Goal: I must have bigger dick. Month: Complete 4 exercises. Week: Pull your dick 4 times a day. System: Never give up. Today is the first day of rest your life. I think Δ± am improving my french meanwhile. Thanks. Merry Christmas and happy new year. πŸŽ… πŸŽ„

  • Thanks for the great video!

    My themes for 2019 are sport and education. Really wanna build up some good habbits and continue the way to a better and more meaningful life that I've started to go this year!

  • Not sure if you've got one already, but I'd love to see a project plan layout and how you are tracking those individual tasks, moving them to your weekly and daily layouts and maintaining the schedule of the project.

    Maybe of how you are PMing the course

  • I am getting crazy or is almost every video of you in front of your bookshelf slightly out of focus? Nice video nonetheless πŸ™‚

  • Jerome Montpetit says:

    I was so pumped for this video! Thanks Matt! Really liked enjoyed it because I am just getting into bullet journaling. Can't wait to start taking action. Thanks again for all your tips.

  • I love what you said about micro habits. Sometimes I dont want to go to the gym so I simply tell myself to get your shoes on, fill your water bottle and call a Lyft. If you still don't want to go the gym then dont. I get to the shopping center and ask myself if I want to still not go and it almost feels silly/ strange not going once I'm already there.

  • I don't think I've ever come across what you described…in lining up goals to themes. That gives me something new to marinate on. Especially as I'm finally making some progress on something this month that I've just been sitting on for too long. So the timing of this video couldn't be better!

    I'm thrown off on "We just had our second child," and yet you have energy…I'm not seeing the sleep deprivation… πŸ˜‚

  • Thank you so much from Costa Rica, i am just starting my own journal, you inspired me to get started in this life style. I just pin the bell of notifications and the subscription… (Daniel from Costa Rica)

  • Hi Matt. I’ve been a silent learner of your channel. SQL and Python are huge areas of interests for me. Would you please share the resources you will use to learn the same? You will have a coding buddy in me for sure. 😊

  • Thanks so much, really beneficial, i have just a remark your themes lack a spiritual one, i think we have to set at least one or two spiritual goals to have a balance in our life and to get an inner peace.

  • TheSpiritualPoet says:

    I suggest Matt slow down his speaking rhythm in future videos. (at least 25% slower). Also, he said this was part one of a two part video. What is the name of part two? Where is it? If it isn't out yet, when will it be? If Matt said, it was not noticed because of his "too fast" delivery in part one.

  • I like the 3 parts of making a change in your life. Themes, goals and systems. Especially the name "theme" helps already to understand the concept. The coolest one though, is the systems. Really interesting video.

  • After I watched this video with the premiere, I went through last year's goals and realized that even though I had achieved about 70% of them, I had basically made very little progress to build my life to what I want it to be. It took me 10 days to clean out my goals list but this 'Themes-Goals-Systems' concept has really revolutionized the way I've set goals this year, compared to the last few years.
    I'm so looking forward to working on them this year πŸ˜„ Thanks Matt!

  • Thanks for the info, Matt. Tried to download your "Bullet Journal Productivity Pack" – nothing happens when I click on the button to download. Maybe I'm missing something?

  • Super helpful for people with ADHD that have so much trouble with setting and accomplishing goals I think I finally going something that I can use and stick to

  • Carlos Vaquero says:

    Hi Matt, I was waiting to join your Productivity Mastermind for weeks, because I wanted to give it as a present for my wife, and today when she has "opened" her present and we have jumped in the website to join it.. it says that is the Enrollment is closed!!! ;(
    I can't believe it!!!
    Could you please help me out?
    I was waiting weeks for this moment and looks like now my wife is not going to be able to join your Mastermind
    Please Matt, could you help us out?
    Thanks in advance, and greetings from Australia πŸ˜‰

  • Thank you Matt, I really love your videos, I've being in a journey of self improvement for a while and I learned about Bullet journals thanks to you, and your advice has helped me a lot to be more organized, productive, and all in all, a better person.

  • Very cool video. Kind of a different way of breaking down David Allen's Horizons of focus where you look at the different levels of your life. Love it! Thanks!

  • Andrea von Wurmb says:

    Thank you very much for your recommendation of Atomic Habits by James Clear. Based on what you gave us in your video, I already started at some small habit changes. Today I finally received my copy of the book and, one chapter in, see that it will be a stable source of support in shifts that I am undertaking to achieve.

  • Sergey Grushevoy says:

    I also recommend reading the article "Efficient work. In search of the ideal process." ( ). In this article, I will describe my process used for attaining my personal goals, planning, fulfilling the tasks and projects unrelated to my job. Helps at the start of building a personal process. Also helps to improve the personal process.

  • A great test of a journaling system is, do you abandon it, even temporarily, when life gets complex? If so, it’s a system that doesn’t work for you.

  • Hi Matt, great video thank you. How many themes do you suggest someone should have for the year? I mean, for examples you didn't consider the health, the friendships and other aspects I'm quite sure you think about in your life. Why did you consider that 3 themes and not others? It would be very useful a video that deals with themes and goals! (for example my themes were be: physical and psychological health, economic indipendence from my parents, learning-books, university and courses-, personal and spiritual growth, contribution-turn 0 waste and go vegan-, know new people; aren't they too many? How should I choose?)

  • Abbie Lynn Juett says:

    I am watching this again in quarter number two. I am able to focus this time. took more notes. Thank you for showing me how to take action. In the first quarter I worked on a few things, but feel like I am doing better. I am thankful for the refresher in watching to encourage me again. Thank you.

  • Love your stuff. Just watched this one today and I am confused. You say that THEME > WHY…however, your top two themes are SHIP PRODUCTS, COMMIT TO MARRIAGE. These sound more like WHAT to me. Am I missing something?

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