Plan An Intentional Day with Parallel Time Ladder

Photos & Words by Lavennz Ooi


Today's topic is a little different. I'm going to talk about how I plan the life I enjoy through bullet journaling.

It's been a year since I started bullet journaling. In that same time, I started an Instagram account: @penpapersoul and I gained so much loves from the journaling community since then. I'm forever grateful for their supports because they make me proud for doing what I love, which I used to hide this side of me from my friends - I'm already an nerdy ex-engineer and a geeky artist, I don't want them to see me as an organizing freak with stationary fever. 

So, if you're a follower of @penpapersoul, I'm dedicating this post for you as my appreciation for your support. I have received many requests for detail explanation of my bullet journal since the beginning. I was hesitating but I'm doing it now.

What if you haven't heard of the big name of bullet journal? Head over to the official Bullet Journal website to learn it now. It's an awesome customizable organizing system created by Ryder Carroll.

Since I have many things to share with you about my bullet journal but I'm not sure which one I should start from, I'm going with my Parallel Time Ladder as my first post. It's always a little complicated to explain the system in one tiny Instagram post.

I created this system/layout based on the time tracker you can find in most of the printed planner. I was a planner user before bullet journaling. I always wish that the planner allows me to schedule and track my activities in the same time. But, I never found one until I created this system in my bullet journal.

Basically, you just draw a time ladder in the center of the page. It can be any format but you need to have space for scheduling and tracking separately. Here's the way I draw my time ladder, 18 rows by 2 columns.

One row for one hour and all are labeled in the first column. The second column is leaving blank for tracking activity by colors, which is categorized into work, personal, leisure, health etc. The reason to color tracking activity is to see how I spent my day at a glance by the end of the day or week, especially useful for reflection.

I drew the setup every Sunday evening before I planned my week by allocating priorities and to-do respectively. There wasn't many things to write or draw actually. The setup process was real quick.

There're two columns labeled with U and ! after the task list, using Eisenhower's Urgent / Important Principle to sort out the priorities. U stands for Urgent and stands for important. When a task has a tick on both columns, it's hot priority. I will focus on this task first. If the task is marked as urgent, it's second prioritized. Following by is task marked as important. Task without any tick on U or ! is mostly an errand.

In the beginning of my day, I wrote down any additional tasks in the list. Then, I will schedule my day on the left side of time ladder. I was using ‚óŹ in the timeline to indicate the start and end time of an activity.

When I'm done with a task, I jotted down the activity with it's starting and ending time on the the left side of time ladder. In the same time, I colored the time box (second column of time ladder) then shaded the checkbox in the task list. As days go by, the parallel time ladder will be completely filled.

One little extra feature on this setup is the food log. It's just a useful section to track what I've ate as I was on diet and watching my weight. Sometimes, I wrote quote or daily reflection below the food log.

That's everything about Parallel Time Ladder. Not very complicated right?

I don't think it's a system for everyon and it's not a system you need to keep like forever. I don't use it anymore but it's a super helpful tool for me when I was taking a creative business course online. It's a self-paced study and I needed to juggle my day appropriately so I had time for art and study.

Who'd find Parallel Time Ladder useful?

  • Who is taking long distance study (any online course or workshop)
  • Who is self-employed or freelancer
  • Who is overwhelmed by the tasks they have to do in a day
  • Who want to make use of their time meaningfully

Thank you so much for reading. If you like this post, give me a heart right under my signature.

If you think it'd benefit your friends and family, share this article with them.

Don't want to miss anything about my bullet journal? Follow me on Instagram @penpapersoul.

If you interested to see my artworks, here's my portfolio.

Lastly, shall we extend the content to the comment?

Have you tried Parallel Time Ladder?
If yes, do you like it and why?

If you have any question about this system, just ask me in the comment.

With love & gratitude,