What is the Bullet Journal Method?
The Bullet Journal method has gained popularity in recent years as a way to keep track of your daily tasks, events, and ideas. It is not limited to any one type of person or lifestyle because it can be personalised for anyone's needs. The key principles are that you have freedom with how you want to use the system and what goes on the pages. This makes it easy to customise for yourself without feeling like you're missing out on something if you don't need certain features.
The Bullet Journal method is an excellent tool for staying organised, tracking habits, making plans ahead of time, prioritising work projects and managing your time. Best of all? You can do this anywhere - no fancy equipment needed! But be warned, once you go down the rabbit hole, you may find yourself becoming obsessed with different types of notebooks and pens. It can be as creative or as simple as you want.
I first found out about the Bullet Journal method a few years back and I don't know how I managed without one before that!
It would be remiss of me not to mention the creator of the Bullet Journal, Ryder Carroll, who first created the system from a desire to track his daily tasks and projects, as well as journaling.
He has published a book on the subject called The Bullet Journal Method as well as setting up a comprehensive website with a wealth of information on how to get started.
Benefits of using a bullet journal
- You can customise it to suit your needs
- It's relatively inexpensive and accessible
- If you make a mistake, no problem! Just keep going and fill in the page later
- There is no right or wrong way to do things (you can change it any time)
- Drawing/writing something out by hand will help solidify things in your mind better than just thinking about it
- Keep track of habits that need work or want to build up more of instead of relying on memory
- Be able to see at a glance how your days have gone/will go so you can plan accordingly for the future
- Prioritise tasks to save time and mental energy
How to start your own Bullet Journal
Written here is a list of how I started my journal, but I really do recommend that you go to the Bullet Journal site and watch the instructional video too.
Choose what kind of notebook/paper works best for you - I prefer dotted pages in a Leucchturm1917 A5 sized notebook.
Start with an Index (a few pages at the front for quick reference) - this will allow you to find things easily without having to flip through each page
Create a page with the title Key so that you can record the symbols you will use throughout the book. Use different symbols so you remember important points about certain tasks.
Create a Future Log page - this is where you can record things you want to do in the future and dates for when you want to complete them. This allows you to plan ahead and ensure that your journal doesn't get cluttered up with tasks that aren't important yet.
Create a Monthly Log page - keep track of appointments, birthdays, holidays etc. You can also use it to map out projects or goals for the month.
I then open a double page spread and on the left side I enter the days of the week and tasks that need to be completed during the week. These are in no specific order and are added as needed. Once the task is done, I mark it against the day of the week. On the right hand page I have the days of the week and I enter in reminders or events that will take place.
Start using your bullet journal - I recommend using one page per day or one page per task if it's something really simple like grocery shopping. I use the same format every day (including weekends) - this makes it really easy to see at a glance what needs doing and when.
You may wish to have a page dedicated to tracking a habit such as days that you practice meditation, days that you achieve 8 hours sleep, alcohol free days, days that you make 10,000 steps, days that you participate in a yoga class, etc. This leads to the next point...
Why you should try this method for yourself
I recommend that you try the bullet journal system for yourself because it's customisable and adaptable to your own style of organisation. Creating something hand-drawn makes it easier for you to visualise what needs doing instead of writing out daily tasks on a page (which can get boring). It also helps to reduce stress by getting things down on paper and not pushing them to the back of your mind where they can get forgotten. The Bullet Journal method is not only an organisational system, it's also a way to track your moods throughout the month. Some people use different coloured pens for different tasks so that when they look back at the pages in their books, they can see how happy or sad they were.
If you have problems remembering things or are constantly telling yourself "I'll remember this later", try taking notes in the moment instead of putting them off until later.
I also referenced the benefits of journalling in this blog post on sleep hygiene. Knowing everything you need to remember has been logged will most definitely contribute to a better night sleep.
If you struggle with mental health or have trouble maintaining motivation or concentration, try using a Bullet Journal system for yourself because this will help you organise your thoughts and reduce the stress that you feel about things not being completed when they should be.
Tips on how to make it work best for you
1. Customise it!
2. Experiment to find which pen, notebook, symbols etc work best for you
3. Keep track of your habits in one place so that you can see whether or not they are working or if they need fine tuning
4. Draw/write things by hand when appropriate so you can solidify them in your mind better
5. Choose a system of organisation that works best for you - some people prefer to have a page dedicated to each day, others like to have different coloured pages or symbols instead of numbers
6. Be kind and forgiving with yourself! Things don't need to be perfect right from the beginning
7. Make yourself a promise that you will try your best and then forgive yourself if you cannot meet all of the goals that you create for yourself
8. Drop any guilt or shame about having too much going on in your life - it's perfectly fine to have many things on the go at once
9. Keep track of how well your sleep is going so far through out the month so that when problems arise, you can spot them early on instead of identifying them in retrospect 10. Keep track of your sleep patterns to see if they are improving or getting worse over time
11. Keep track of your moods through out the month so that you can spot when things are going wrong and fix them as soon as possible
12. Keep track of your habits to see what's working and what isn't so that you can adjust accordingly
The Bullet Journal method is a fantastic way to organize your life with less stress. It can help you feel more in control of what's going on around you, and it may even make the day-to-day process of planning for things easier or more fun. They can be used for anything from sketching out your personal goals, managing client information, to tracking what you eat, or cataloguing the books that you read. You are never too old or young to try something new, so why not give this technique a shot?