Cracking the Bullet Journal forward planning problem

I’m a recent convert to Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal system for keeping on top of my tasks and projects while at the same time keeping a record of notes, thoughts, lists and observations.  The system just seems to work for me.  Low tech is good.

But one of the problems with it is the difficulty in listing or planning future events.  Without writing out a full year diary it’s difficult to add events in a separate container, that is also easily updatable and quick to read.

So I came up with my own solution.

BuJo Forward Planning

What I do is to write a series of columns for each month on the left.  Here I chose the next 6 months.

To the right I simply add in each future event with it’s exact date and then put a dot in the column that represents that month.  It doesn’t matter if the events are not added chronologically.

When it’s time to move these to your monthly planner page, all that’s required is to quickly scan down the column of the month, locate the dots to signify entries for that month, then migrate the actual tasks to their dates in the monthly list.

Simple and effective.

24 Comments

  1. Thanks for the bujo future planning tip. And found the rhubarb wine recipe: not rhubarb season now here in Oz but its a keeper for next season.

  2. This is such a great tip! I’ve been creating 2-page monthly spread as my future planning and it works for me, but wanted a better system. This may be it! Thank you!

  3. It’s unclear to me from your post, do you just do this on the “next blank page” when you realize you need to do some future planning?

    Do you have any process/pattern for indicating when a future planning page, or items on it, has become obsolete because the events have been migrated to a monthly planner spread?

    1. Hi Gregory, thanks for the comment. Yes, if I was doing future planning in the middle of my Bullet Journal I’d just go to the next blank page.
      With regards to migrating, I would put my usual signifier (for me a small arrow to the right) to signify it’s been migrated, if that was important to show that, and a cross through any item that wasn’t needed anymore.

      Personally though, I don’t worry about the above for my journal and future planning I just add them to my monthly plan and leave the original future planning item as is. I keep everything as simple and low maintenance as possible.

  4. Just discovered bullet journal and only after a few days can see how this will improve my organisation of work and life. Like you I have not found the Ryder future log useful however thanks to Boho I have discovered your method. This I think will really suit me and therefore from today I have embraced it!

    Thank you.

  5. I didn’t know what I was looking for until I found this. Ok, alright, I was looking for a more intuitive future logging system.. 🙂 This is neat and clean, simple yet effective. Thank you so much!

  6. This seems very tidy and simple, but what if you have 2 or more events on the same day? Do you abbreviate, write the second one microscopically, or…?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Barbara. I’d write the second event as a separate entry. Then when you review that month it won’t matter that it has a date the same as another one, you’ll just pick it up as you collect your month entries.
      Thanks for the comment, I hope this helps.

  7. Thank you! Just what I needed. Been trying different things for my future log every month since November. Via Boho I found this link. Your idea is incredibly practical yet simple, you are a genius! With three children I will probably make mine for three months at a time but I just know this will work for me. Thank you!

  8. Hi Alastair,
    oh my, thanks a lot for this one, that’s “SIMPLY” 😉 great!

    I’ve just started to work with a bullet journal instead of working with a digital diary and todo apps etc. ….
    I’m not sure how far i come, but your idea to handle the future log is awesome!
    A big thank you and greetings from Germany,
    Carl

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