So. You’ve been diligently using your Focus Planner, and every month you’ve been populating your monthly plan. Every week you work out what needs to be done. But every now and then something slips through the cracks, or you have a thought about something you need to do next month. Where do you write it? Do you have a big list in your blank pages section? Or an electronic list on your phone somewhere?
Here’s a better way to do it. It’s something we adopted from the Buller Journal method and it’s called the Future Log.
The Future Log is the place for all those ideas and tasks you remember that don’t have to be done right now. Maybe you don’t want to write them in your daily planner and maybe they aren’t even due this week. You could flip forward a couple weeks and write it in the weekly plan there, but that’s a bit tedious – sorting through all the pages.
Instead, here’s what you do:
Imagine it’s January and you’ve just started a brand new Focus Planner for the quarter. Create a two-page spread and divide into four quadrants (see the attached pic).
Now each of these four quadrants are going to get a heading: January, February, March and ‘Future’.
Now, as you plan this month (January) as well as the next few months of productivity, just write each item that needs your attention in the appropriate month. There will be specific things that you know need to be done by the end of January, and others that need to be done in February or March.
Or you might find that you ONLY write in the January things, and then as January goes by, you start to think of things that need to go in the other months. Really big projects, that can’t be done this quarter will go in the ‘Future’ quadrant.
Usually how this plays out is that at the start of the quarter, you will have a lot of things written in the first month’s quadrant (January in this case) and very little in the other quadrants. As January ticks by, you might add some things to January, and when it looks like you’ve over committed, then maybe some of those things start getting written in February. You might also find that some of the things you planned for January were actually a little impossible to achieve, so you might move them on to February or March (or even the Future quadrant) if they’re not critical.
Using the Future Log to Plan
So now that you have a good idea of what you need to commit to every month, you can use it to plan your months and weeks. When you open a new monthly spread, you can check back in to your Future Log to see what you need to prioritise. And when you start planning each week of the month, you can check back in with your Future Log to see what you might schedule for the week ahead. And when you’ve been so productive in the week that you’ve completed your entire list, you can go back to the Future Log and add in a couple extra tasks that needed to get done. Or you can go surfing…. up to you ☺
So that’s how the Future Log works. It is an amazingly simple yet effective way to stay on top of the bigger picture. We like to use the initial ‘Brain Storming’ pages right at the front of the Planner for this – it makes it an easy reference to flick back to, and we’ll even fold the top corner of the page back to make it easier to find (or you can use one of the marker ribbons).
If you want to learn even more about this, here’s a great resource: https://bulletjournal.com/