Planning on Paper at Gotamago

Recently I attended a Planning on Paper workshop with Kat Akerfeldt of Toronto’s First Post Office held at Gotamago in Toronto.  I was excited by the workshop’s focus on planning, particularly Bullet Journaling, and delighted to attend something in my neighbourhood.  The sun streaming in through a big beautiful window on a very cold day was a lovely welcome into this creative space.

The front of the building is a lovely shop with all sorts of printed treasures. Just beyond the storefront are two big tables, which were covered with a generous supply of the kinds of things we journalers delight in – washi tape, stamps, stickers and pens plus a bowl of the best gluten-free cookies I have ever had! Clearly this was going to be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

To lay the foundations of planning on paper, Kat introduced us to three planning on paper systems: Getting Things Done by David Allen, Strikethru and Bullet Journaling. I was particularly curious about the power and simplicity of the Bullet Journal.

Kat explained the basic concepts and showed an incredible array of slides demonstrating how people individualize their calendars, lists and to-do’s. In one bullet journal, reading goals are turned into a beautiful page of hand-drawn books, each with space to write titles on the spines once a book is read. In another, Mason jar stamps become the perfect spot for weekly grocery lists or meal planning. When it comes to habit trackers, the volume and variety seem infinite!

At the end of the workshop, we were given time to actually create our Bullet Journal and, I must admit, I was at a loss. Cat was wonderfully approachable and we talked more about the core structure and why she has found it so useful. When I went home I visited  Ryder Carroll’s site (the inventor of the Bullet Journal)  and went through his introduction to the process, following along step-by-step on paper. That was just what I needed to ground myself in the process and the learning.

As I explored the Bullet Journal structure, I noticed right away that there were things that wouldn’t work for me, like the monthly layout, which just doesn’t fit with my visual logic. There were also things that would be very helpful to me, like having collections for all sorts of projects in one place. I was excited to find that I could also integrate my own process of weekly grid planning, which is great because if something is working, keep it working!

All in all, I am glad that Cat Akerfeldt and Gotamago introduced me to both the world of bullet journaling and a beautiful neighbourhood shop. I’ll look forward to many more shared adventures. In fact, I’m heading back as soon as they restock their owl stickers! Somebody snapped them all up before I got a chance to!

What systems do you use for planning? What helps you get stuff done?

Note: In Toronto? Check out Gotamago. Find out more about their upcoming paper-oriented workshops here.