Using a Legend/ Key to Organise Your Day

If you’ve been following this series you will have been writing your weekly lists for two weeks now and thinking about migrating tasks for the last week. How’s it been going?  What’s working for you? What’s not?  Why?  

If you’ve not been following, you can click the link to read part 1 and part 2

The next thing I introduced to my journal was the idea of a legend or key. In his video introduction, Ryder Carroll (the creator of the Bullet Journal) shares his signifiers. I have to admit that I couldn’t get along with them. A cross for a completed task felt wrong to me, as though that task didn’t actually need doing. I also struggled with a dot to signify a task as it looked like you’d already started it when you glanced at it because there was something in the box. 

When you look at Bullet Journals on social media there’s a massive variety of legends in use. Some of them are incredibly simple, others contain a whole page of artistic icons. Today we’re going to think about creating one that suits you. 

Look at your daily lists, what types of things are you recording?  Do you mainly write a list of the tasks that need completing or are you also including events and appointments?  Do you have to keep rewriting the same word at the beginning of tasks, for example ‘call…’ or ’email…’? 

If your daily list is a mixture of tasks, events and appointments it may help you to have a legend system to help you to be more productive. This could be achieved by having a symbol to represent an event, another for an appointment and a blank box for a task that needs completing. In a similar way, it may help you to draw a box with a letter code for the type of task. This was my legend that evolved during the use of my first two Bullet Journals. 


This worked fine, but I was forever referring to the front page which slowed my planning routine. I also had the issue that when there was a letter in the task box it looked, when I quickly ran my eye down the list, as though the box was filled so the task was done. Needless to say, I’ve simplified my legend so that it’s far easier to use.  I now have a blank circle bullet point for an appointment or event and a blank box for an event. I tend to put all the events and appointments in a block at the top of my list followed by my tasks for the day. Additional appointments get added in the list as they’re organised during the course of the day. 

Let’s start your legend. What do you need?  Earlier you considered the types of task/ events/ appointments that you were writing. Let’s start here. Be inspired by the video and any legends you’ve seen, but don’t overcomplicate it otherwise you’ll use additional planning time. 

Write your lists this week using a few icons – keep these on a reference list somewhere, perhaps in the front cover or on a flap of cardboard that you can flip out to refer to while you’re planning. If you find yourself referring to it regularly, you may need to ask yourself if it’s more complicated than it needs to be!  

Let me know how your Bullet Journal is working out for you. How’s it helping you?  Are you having any problems?  

See you next week when we’ll look at more long term planning techniques in your Bullet Journal. 

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4 thoughts on “Using a Legend/ Key to Organise Your Day

  1. I do half full boxes for started but not finished, at work i use it for when i have requested something but not received it yet. I’m also trying out a colour coding on my to do list with red, yellow and green blobs to indicate urgency – red needs to be done in the next 24 hours, yellow 48-72, green is no specific time limit, or i can write the specific date if it has one.

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  2. Pingback: Long Term Planning in your Bullet Journal  | Keeps Me Out Of Mischief!

  3. Pingback: Using a Tracker for Repeating Tasks | Keeps Me Out Of Mischief!

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