Monday, July 24, 2017

What is a Bullet Journal (and why would I want to know)?

Those that know me know I love organizational systems. I've tried them all. Some people even call me organized. It's not me, it's the system.  Those that know me also know my fondness for technology. You may be surprised to hear the system that has made the biggest difference for me only requires a notebook and a pen. It’s called a bullet journal.

Why Bullet Journal?

Is your desk covered in post-it notes?

Do you know you wrote something down, but just don’t know where?

Do ever get the nagging feeling you are forgetting something?

The bullet journal system has helped me to keep all my work to do lists in one place in order to have them on hand easily. The system of reviewing tasks that were not completed is a really helpful way to regularly reflect and prioritize what is most important going forward.

What is the Bullet Journal?

The Bullet Journal is a system created by Ryder Carroll.

The key to the bullet journal is using easy, quick, and short points to log what you need to do. This is called rapid logging.

Bullets represent tasks, events, notes, and signifiers. Signifiers are symbols to indicate the importance of an item. A typical key includes a bullet for a task, a circle for an event, and a dash for a note. It also includes indicators that a task is complete, that it has been moved forward to the next list, or moved forward to the further out future.

Pages in a journal are broken into modules. (These are more fun than R2T4 in modules!) Standard modules are usually and index, future log, monthly log, weekly log and/or a daily log. I tend to not use the index and prefer a weekly log rather than a daily log.

A future log is a place to note items for upcoming months. A monthly log lets you look at key points in the month at a glance and create a master list of tasks you would like to accomplish in the month. The daily or weekly log is the tasks and events that are actually going to take place on a given day.

Not just a task list.

The bullet journal isn’t just an organized task list. It is a system to ensure every task is dealt with. At the end of a day/week/month every task should be addressed. It is either marked as completed, migrated forward to the next day/week/month, moved to a future month, or determined to no longer be relevant.

This regular review of tasks is the key to the bullet journal’s productivity. It is a mindful way of ensuring you are focused on the right tasks to get you where you need to be.

The video below is from Ryder Carroll himself on how to bullet journal.

Stay tuned for a series of future blog posts on bullet journaling and productivity in the aid office! Please let me know what questions you have and they will be addressed in a future post!

Melissa Haberman
Financial Aid Director
University of Wisconsin Extension

Friday, July 21, 2017

MASFAA Registration? Of Course! It’s worth the short wait…

Greetings MASFAA!  Welcome to the heart of summer!  This is a special time of year that brings us reasons to celebrate like sunny days, vacation time and the opportunity to register for the upcoming MASFAA Conference.  Hopefully you have already had a chance to enjoy the first two.  That third one will be open very soon; it would have been available already except I slowed the process down.  I didn’t mean to create a bottleneck, but something just had to be fixed. 

For many years now I have believed the timing of MASFAA membership has been flawed in that current year membership was required in order to attend the annual conference, yet that membership year would end on October 31st, just a few weeks after the conference.  So annually those who waited to renew their memberships along with their annual conference registrations only received a month or two of MASFAA member benefit before it would expire.  That simply didn’t make sense as we want our members to both benefit from and contribute to MASFAA initiatives for a full year. 

I couldn’t accept having MASFAA members receive only limited value from their MASFAA dues any longer.  So I proposed a change to the MASFAA Board that would assure everyone attending our annual conference would be granted a full year of MASFAA membership benefits to follow.  I am grateful to say that your Board acknowledged the issue and responded by approving a positive change for our upcoming conference, giving even more improvement than I had asked for (at least for this year)! 

Our 2017 MASFAA Conference fee and 2017-2018 MASFAA membership dues are bundled together in a single total MASFAA Conference registration cost of just $400.  This is a $40 savings over costs that had already been approved!  Your Board and I want you to see that MASFAA is affordable, meaningful and focused on helping meet your professional needs.  With this reduced cost structure the 2017 MASFAA Conference will have the following charge options:

For Most of Us:
$400  Full Conference Registration and full 2017-2018 year MASFAA Membership
$220  One Day Conference Registration and full 2017-2018 year MASFAA Membership

For Retirees (except Ohio – our host state):
$195  Retirees Full Conference Registration and full 2017-2018 year MASFAA Membership
$105  Retirees One Day Conference Registration and full 2017-2018 year MASFAA Membership

For OASFAA Members (our host state for which we waive MASFAA Membership dues requirements):
$400  Full Conference Registration and full 2017-2018 year MASFAA Membership
$365  Full Conference Registration only
$220  One Day Conference Registration and full 2017-2018 year MASFAA Membership
$185  One Day Conference Registration only
$185  Ohio Retirees Full Registration only
$  95  Ohio Retirees One-Day Registration only

The newly remodeled Marriott at University of Dayton hotel room rate is just $129 per night for all attendees.  (This is nearly 30% less expensive per night than the FSA’s Swan and Dolphin conference site.  I’m just sayin’…)

It is my sincere hope that our 2017 MASFAA Conference cost structure is something you will be excited to see, find appealing and be beneficial to you.  MASFAA wants you.  We want your ideas, your passions and participation in our annual conference and even more in all we do during the year to make a positive difference for our students and our profession.  MASFAA is strong because of our members.  I’m thrilled that your Board committed to help your strength shine with us for a full year with this new structure for 2017. 

Registration for the conference will be available as soon as we get these costs updated on our website.  Watch for the announcement and jump on it in the coming week so you can attend the MASFAA Conference on October 8 – 11 in Dayton, Ohio!  We’ll be Making Every Moment Count!

Thomas Ratliff, MASFAA President