What I learned from tracking my activities for 60+ days

Free image from Stocksnap. I wish I had this watch, though!

I started tracking my activities in mid-April, after reading an article about the benefits of doing so. The article, ultimately, preached about self-awareness.

Guess what I learned from the exercise. Self-awareness, exactly.

I used an old-school tool: MS Excel. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to do this, given my long history of not following through with my “expense accounts” (expense tracking I used to do back when I was a good boy).

I had a rough start, but after several times beginning again, I finally caught second wind and the process began to ease into the peaceful realm of Minimal Effort. After all it’s really simple: just describe what you do every half-hour, just so:

In case you’re wondering, Self-Admin is anything from making my bed to meditating to deleting apps I have stopped pretending to like.

And what did I discover?

  1. I wasted so much time trying to decide what to do…and then decided not to do anything. Weekends and free time can be the worst.
  2. I value sleep, devoting up to 32% of the day to sleeping time. That’s about eight hours every night! Sometimes I get tempted to think this is very lazy of me. I mean, isn’t it a badge of honor to sleep late and get only four, five hours of sleep? Thank God, Ariana Huffington had a nervous breakdown due to exhaustion and sleep deficit — and then wrote about the ordeal — or else I wouldn’t have gained the habit of getting enough rest as a competitive advantage. I mean, dude, you’ll be able to work double and more deeply if you’re not sleepy or groggy during the day. (I love you, Ms Huffington.)
  3. I made sure Quality Time with the girlfriend is a considerable slice of the pie. This is the secret to a happy life lol.
  4. Keeping a running list of activities helps you to steer clear of the rocks: Shopping, Chill, and Worry (yep, I had to put that in because I sometimes find myself swimming/drowning in it).
  5. It gives me a clearer picture of what I’ve actually done. I can judge more wisely whether my day has been productive or not, and whether it has created value or produced meaning in my relationship with others.
Yummiest data representation — a pie graph!

This is low-key OC, but this can be helpful if you want solid data on something as ephemeral as time. Try it. Here’s a template coz I’m helpful like that. Message me in 30 days maybe?

What’s great about keeping a bullet journal

The back cover of my bujo goes straight to the point.

I once had trouble understanding Ryder Carroll’s explanation of the Bullet Journal method, which he invented.

So I tried it out.

Behold, the impression of complexity was just a phase. When I started creating my modules and went on with my daily logs (including my notes of feelings and ideas and late-blooming teenager-y angst lol), I got hooked.

It was January. Now, six months later, my humble, tattered bujo is ready to be shelved. It is filled to the last page.

I cannot say I’ve been super-productive the whole time I was using the bujo system. I can vouch, however, for its service as a life organizer, a soul mirror, an aide-memoire.


I try! 😝

So what’s so great about keeping a bujo?

  1. You can progress through the journal logically (that is, from page 1 then 2 then 3 and so on). No need to segment the book into various sections (except the index). This is important to me because I dislike blank pages, which are a waste if not filled in. The logical progression also makes for easy navigation among the pages. And if you get lost, then there’s the index for you, bud.
  2. A physical — and I mean tangible — manifestation of my thoughts is kind of…romantic and esteem-boosting. It makes you think you’re writing a book, or leaving an artifact for the historians of 2200 AD.
  3. It strikes between final and tentative. Final because your pen’s ink isn’t erasable — and tentative because, hey, you can still strike through your mistakes! It’s forgiving, and it’s how we should be to others and to ourselves, too.
  4. There’s something charming about creating your habit trackers or monthly log at the end of each month: it’s a continual call to begin again, to be young once more, somehow.
  5. It’s organic, duh. You can burn your bujo and leave nothing in the environment except ash, which symbolizes the transience of life and the supremacy of the soul. Bam!

If you’re interested to know more about bullet journaling, head on to bulletjournal.com. Don’t let the fancy designs on Pinterest intimidate you. You can keep your bujo minimalist like I do. Freedom and simplicity is the name of the game: do what works best for you.