Maybe you’ve heard of the bullet journal. Maybe you know it exists but just don’t quite understand how it works. I was like you once. I wanted to know the secrets of the bullet journal and be part of that cool kids club.
So I watched YouTube videos, read blogs, visited the official Bullet Journal page, and learned all I could about this new fangled way of planning your day.
I quickly learned that I am not cut out for strictly using the bullet journal system for organising my life. But I did learn that there were aspects of it that I wanted to implement.
I guess the first place to start is to explain what a bullet journal is. It’s a way of organising your day, week, and month and all of your to do lists and activities by only using a blank notebook. The idea is that you can be more efficient in how you organise your thoughts. The bonus is that you can be extremely creative when mapping out your bullet journal. You can look up bullet journals on Pinterest and see how intense they get.
I’ve started my own bullet journal that takes only a few of the ideas that I’ve found in my bullet journal research. Some things I didn’t include are:
The weekly and monthly planners. In a typical bullet journal, you’re only working with one month and one week at a time, which means, if something comes up that you need to make a note of for next week or next month, you compile a list that will then get transferred to the next weekly and monthly list once it finally gets drawn up. This sounded exhausting to me, and also not practical. I am always planning a week, two weeks, months in advance. All of those appointments and events need to be on the calendar right now, so I still use a normal day-planner.
The creativity part. I am amazed by how beautiful some bullet journals are. They are so inspiring to look at, but that’s about as far as I go. I am not so skilled in the visual art department, and don’t really take pleasure in trying to learn. My bullet journal is pretty blah compared to the other masterpieces out there.
The things I did decide to use in my bullet journal include:
The daily tasks. I had been writing to do lists on random sticky-notes for a while before I decided to try my own version of the bullet journal, but now they’re all in the same notebook. This appeals to me because I can see day by day how it’s going getting through my lists, and I can look back as far as I want to see all the things I’ve done. Looking back on completed to do lists can be very reassuring. It also helps me figure out if there are some uncompleted tasks that got left behind that should be brought back to the present list.
The habit trackers. I don’t think this is an official part of the bullet journal concept, but has become a common house rule. The habit tracker is a pretty common part of bullet journals, and one that has been really helpful for me. I’ve used it to track my productivity, to help me keep track of my wellness challenges that I’ve been posting on Thursdays, and to open my eyes about my other habits I want to build or break. Drawing out these charts is also a weirdly soothing part of my day. Where some people find stress relief in creating a beautifully drawn and creative calendar, I find it in whipping out the ruler and mapping out boxy and boring charts. To each his own, right?
And that’s the point of bullet journals. You can take what you need and leave what you don’t want. You get to create this organisation system that works best for you, all from a blank notebook and a few ideas.
Happy writing, friends! Keep spreading good vibes.