A request has flooded in to show some of my (sinister, but organised) pocket notebook doings. Given the request deals with pocket notebooks, bullet journalling and organisation I’m more than happy to oblige.
First some background: I use a modified bullet journal method to run both my professional life with Raging Swan Press and family life with (well) my family. I use both a yearly notebook and a monthly pocket notebook. For 2021, I’m using a Pebble A5 notebook while my monthly pocket notebook rotates through a variety of brands. I am fickle. I buy the vast majority of my notebooks from Nero's Notes. I highly recommend them.
I also use digital reminders for reoccurring events and the like. I use the reminders to “feed" my notebook during my weekly planning sessions.
Perfect Planning Prevents...
I’m also a bit of a planning nut. I devote a day every month to planning the next month and an hour or so every week doing a fortnight review. (The fortnight review deals with the week just gone and the week coming up). People ask me, “How do you find so much time to plan?” I reply, “I don’t have time not to plan”.
Anyway, on with the show. For the Raging Swan Press part of my life, I use several stock pages every month to manage my work.
This two-page spread shows at a glance my admin tasks. I bundle my admin into two days—Monday and Friday; this leaves me Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for design and development. I find batching my work helps me focus, and get through my tasks quicker.
You’ll also notice, I do some tasks daily. I’m a huge fan of “little, but often”. I’ve used this tactic for keeping ahead of the players in my Dark Adventures campaign. I’m also finding it jolly useful for certain aspects of my Raging Swan Press work—but that’s more of a development in April’s book.
This page shows me the basic design tasks I have to complete that month. If I’m engaged in “tricky” design, a project gets its own page. On this page:
- A capital B indicates 100 words of boilerplate text.
- A dot indicates 100 words I have to write.
- A cross through a dot indicates 100 words I have written.
- A circle around a cross means I have finished the project.
This simple system easily shows me:
- How many words I’ve written.
- How many words I have left to write.
- When a project is finished.
I find being able to track my progress like this incredibly motivating. It also gives me clarity on what I need to do, which means I waste less time. If I have spare time, I can quickly flip to this page (or the Development page) and find something to do.
For my development tasks, I have another simple system to guide me. I’m a huge fan of simple—there’s less for me to break. I follow the same development process for every product passing across my desk.
On this page:
- A dot indicates a task to do.
- A cross indicates a task done.
And here's the two pages together in one handy spread:
I use other pages on a regular basis but the three above are my main “go to” spreads. I use a Thought Dump spread to record sudden thoughts, questions and so on. I also use a New Month’s Tasks spread to note atypical tasks that need to be done next month.
Most pocket notebooks have at least 48 pages which means I can also devote one page to each day of the month. Each of these pages gets split into two, and I use half for Raging Swan Press jobs and half for personal tasks.
A Simple System. In flux.
That’s my simple system. One of the great things about using a monthly pocket notebook is that it gives me more license to experiment with different layouts, spreads and the like on a monthly basis. It encourages me to augment and iterate my planning so I make the best use of my available time. I love my work, and I want to complete it in the most efficient way possible.
If you’ve got any suggestions to make it better, I’d love to hear then. Sign up and join the Gameatory’s exclusive Slack channel today!