My Leader’s Book Setup

In a previous article, I discussed the differences between a Bullet Journal and a Leader’s Book. Essentially, a Bullet Journal is anything you need it to be as long as it exists in a notebook. A Leader’s Book, however, comes with certain expectations, namely the maintenance of good order and discipline.

The two key features of my Leader’s Book are rapid logging and quick reference. It needs to be set up to maximize its utility as my augmented brain. The fewer data points that I have to keep on my mind, the more thought-space I can dedicate to analysis. I don’t want to have to remember anything that is not pertinent to the immediate situation, and my Leader’s Book needs to continuously and effortlessly prompt me to key pieces of information.

Key Concepts

  • Rapid logging is essential. Information needs to get off my mind and onto paper as quickly as possible. If someone tells me something while I am preoccupied it may very well go in one ear and out the other, but if I write it down, somehow I just don’t forget.
  • Quick reference is also key. Information needs to be available on demand.
  • Nothing is created until it is needed. This negates the creation of superfluous headers and the fear of wasting space in my book. I actually have a collection of collection ideas. Whenever I think of something that might make a useful collection, I record the idea there. A collection with no entries takes up space that can be better utilized.
  • Reviews are done daily, monthly, and when transitioning to a new notebook. Reviews are really more of a constant than a scheduled event. If I find myself with some spare time, I take a look at my book to see what needs to be accomplished, migrated, or canceled.

Sections/Layout

Important Numbers

This is the first page I see when I open the cover of my Leader’s Book. It is a short list of phone numbers I need to reference frequently. I keep this list limited to one page in order to maintain its function as a quick reference item. This also negates the need to order the list alphabetically. A separate Phone Numbers collection is created as needed.

Index

The index is merely a table of contents created in the very beginning of the notebook. It appears on the next page immediately after the Important Numbers.

Future Log

In a traditional Leader’s Book, the future log is referred to as the “Schedule of Events”. In my book, the future log is a non-chronological list of events that are scheduled or expected to take place at a particular time. The actual date that an event takes place will change frequently during the planning process. Therefore, it is much easier to simply record a list of events and to move these events to the monthly log when the log for the month in which the event falls is created. I just cross them out as I migrate them.

Monthly Log

Unlike the future log, the monthly log is chronological and serves as a quick reference of events throughout the month. One day per line. Sometimes I also us the monthly log to track certain habits.

Daily Log

The daily log is chronological by nature. I start a daily log entry using both the Gregorian date and Julian date. Entries for the daily log typically come immediately after the associated monthly log page. I do not create the daily log until I have at least one entry for the day.

Entries in the daily log can include anything I feel the need to write down. If it belongs in another section I simply migrate it later.

The daily log may contain things I want to accomplish or need to do, but it is not a running task list. Tasks are recorded in connection with a specific project, so they are typically captured or migrated to the appropriate project form.

Collections

Collections are either reference materials, such as Troop Leading Procedures, or lists of related items, such as a contact roster. They may also serve as sub-indexes which point to the location of other items in the book. Collections start on the next available page as they are created.

Standard Collections:

  • Key of Symbols
  • Personnel Roster
  • Equipment/Sensitive Items List
  • Battle Rhythm Events
  • Projects List

Forms

Forms are standardized collections which bring together key pieces of information. Whereas a collection is simply a list of related items, I specifically design forms to bring together key pieces of information about a particular topic. This way I can easily see if critical data is missing or unknown. Forms start on the next available page as they are created.

Like everything else, forms are created as needed. When new personnel arrive their form is created on the next blank page in my book. An entry in the Personnel Roster collection points to the appropriate form.

I’ve designed forms for things like Soldier data and equioment data, but they can be anything you’d like.

Conclusion

This is just a standardized way for setting up my Leader’s Book, but like any good Bullet Journal, it’s a living thing just like me. It evolves as my life evolves. That’s the flexibility of using Bullet Journal methods to maintain a Leader’s Book. You lose the rigidity and but maintain functionality.