The organized beauty of a Bullet Journal

“What’s something that you’ve heard or read lately that caused you to think about something differently?” is one of my favorite conversation-starters. Sometimes I get really deep answers, and sometimes it’s practical. Today, I’d like to discuss a practical one, the Bullet Journal.

I’m a huge fan of notebooks, I have a notebook for work, a gratitude journal, a general notepad book, and inspiring quotes notebook….you get the idea. So when I heard that the Bullet Journal was essentially “one notebook to rule them all,” my first thought was, “That’ll never work” and my second thought was, “That’s such a simple solution, why didn’t I think of it?”.

One of the barriers that has kept me from combining my notebooks is my concern of not being able to find the information I want quickly. And again, the solution was so simple I was embarrassed that I didn’t think of it: an index and page numbers. With a Bullet Journal, every page has a number and you add any information you may want to refer back to in the index with the page number.

Top benefits of the Bullet Journal method

  • It helps you start and stay organized
  • All of your information is stored in one place, making it easy to find and use your information.
  • It encourages planning ahead. Before the beginning of the next month, you map-out the month at a macro level, helping to ensure you don’t miss important things during the month.

Top drawbacks of the Bullet Journal method

  • If you lose the journal, you lose everything.
  • You’re combining personal and professional information. For example there might be times when you don’t want your personal notes visibly showing at work. In these cases, it’s easy enough to just start a new page for work, but it’s something to keep in mind.

How I structure my Bullet Journal

For my Bullet Journal, I combined my work task list, my gratitude journal, my general notebook. and my “book of inspiration”notebook (a book I keep of quotes, magazine clippings, etc. that I find intellectually stimulating or inspiring).

Key components of my Bullet Journal

  • Index in the front
  • Monthly overview
  • Daily log
  • Random notes pages that are indexed
  • Book of inspiration in the back (working back to front)

My daily log

  • 2-4 self-improvement reminders. For example I wanted to increase the amount of eye contact I made with others and so I wrote “eye contact” every day to remind me.
  • Gratitude journal
  • Daily tasks
  • Notes taken throughout the day (with any I may want to refer to indexed for later)

Make it your own

The most important thing to keep in mind with the Bullet Journal is that you can make it your own. I recommend starting with the structured format and seeing what works for you and doesn’t. Then you can modify after you’ve given it a try for a while.  I also recommend subscribing to some blogs, social media feeds etc. related to the Bullet Journal to give you new ideas.

Some people really make their bullet journals beautiful. I admire these people greatly, but I also know myself, I’d spend a ton of time making it beautiful and then get frustrated that it was taking too much time and stop doing it. So mine is very plain. Design it however will encourage you to actually use it.

I also found the 6 month planner didn’t fit how I organize my life; I use a calendar and my budget to remind me of important dates and tasks, so I dropped doing this.

But after I made it my own, utilizing what worked for my needs, the Bullet Journal has really made a drastic improvement to how I organize my life. So pull out a notebook and give it a try.

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