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In her Motion to Organize weekly column, lawyer Jennifer Gumbel talks organization, productivity, and more.

I take what you might consider a minimalist approach when it comes to journaling. In my world, pages of daily calendar entries are going to just be left blank.

So, you might be surprised to learn that I am a disciple of The Bullet Journal approach.

First, let me explain what bullet journaling is. It’s a system of creating and keeping up on lists and deadlines in a highly customizable way.

It’s a paper system. This isn’t how you set up your Outlook; it’s how you write down things you need to know, and updating those things. Actions and notifications have short, easy to write icons assigned to them, like dashes, circles, dots, and stars. This lets you indicate when items are completed, moved to another list, or simply abandoned.

Any notebook can be used to bullet journal, but journals on a grid system (the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal uses light gray dots) works great because you can easily make headings and sidebars in whatever system that works for you.

It’s entirely customizable. That means you can be as detailed, and intricate as you want. Really. Look up “bullet journal” on Pinterest for “doodles” that really rise to the level of art. Or, in my case, as minimalist as you want.

As I mentioned earlier, daily and weekly calendars for me are just wasted pages. But with a bullet journal, I can have my entire month on a single page to see the highlights. If you’re up for a little do-it-yourself and like getting out some markers, a bullet journal is a great tool to build a highly customizable planner.

Jennifer Gumbel

Jennifer Gumbel is an estate planning and probate lawyer in Austin, Minnesota. She takes her morbid nerd-dom to another level by talking about how to organize your after life, with the website An Organized (after)Life and the podcast, An Organized (after)Life, which you can find on the website, Spreaker and ITunes. You can also find her on Instagram with pics on death organizing and small town Minnesota life at the handle @jengumbel.

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