A few years ago, I came across an article on Lifehacker about a new productivity tool using only a pen and a notebook. The creator of the new method, a designer called Ryder Caroll, created a beautiful video to explain his method, along with a companion website. He called his tool the Bullet Journal. At first, I really liked the idea of writing bullets next to my tasks in my notebook of choice and to check them off as I went. It took me a whole year before I decided to really implement his method and I am now a fervent advocate of the Bullet Journal.
A brief overview of the Bullet Journal method
The Bullet Journal is essentially composed of a notebook that will hold your tasks, appointments, ideas and projects, organized into different “collections”. A collection is a page in your journal dedicated to a specific subject.
I would highly suggest that you watch the official Bullet Journal video to have a complete overview of Ryder Caroll’s method. The video is fairly short but so well made that it is the first step is would recommend to anyone interested in trying the method for themselves.
Particularities of the Bullet Journal
What makes the Bullet Journal different from other notebooks are a few different components.
You can use any notebook to Bullet Journal. It is how you will setup your notebook that will differentiate it from other systems. Every Bullet Journal starts with an index. The Bullet Journal pages are numbered, and each collection you will create will be indexed in the first few pages of your notebook. This will allow for easy access to your most important informations. Write down the page number and the subject and make sure to index your journal as often as possible. I try to index my new collections as soon as I create them.
The Future log
The Bullet Journal can be used to hold notes, tasks, but also upcoming events. The future log is an overview of the next 3 to 6 months. I like to draw a small calendar of the months coming up and to write next to it the birthdays, tasks and events that will take place in the near future. You can also create a monthly log for the current month, a simple numbered list where you can write day-specific events.
The Bullet Journal uses signifiers to identify the type of entries that you log. Ryder Caroll proposes a legend that you can use, or you can choose your own signifiers. Here you can see my own signifiers. I like to use boxes to signify tasks, a circle for events, a triangle for accomplishments and a simple bullet for notes.
This is the part of the Bullet Journal system that I most enjoy. I am a very enthusiastic list maker and the collections allow me to create lists for everything that I like. I have a list of books I would like to read, a wishlist for fountain pens and ink, a travel bucket list, lists of topics I would like to research, a list of articles I would like to write, and so on. I just love that I can create a new spread for any new interest that I have.
To me, the dailies are the backbone of the Bullet Journal system. Everyday, I write down the date and list the tasks and events that need to take place that day. During the day, I jot down any thoughts, ideas or note anything that comes up. You can process your new notes at the end of the day and migrate them to any relevant checklist or collection. Any open tasks can be migrated to the next day, or later on.
Each day, the first thing that I do after my Miracle Morning is to set up my daily. I look at my unchecked tasks and write down the things I need to do today. I check my calendar and write down the events and appointments that I have to attend. I also like to write down the weather forecast for the day and the moon phases. During the day, I check tasks as I accomplish them and write down notes as I go. I also like to decorate with washi tape and stickers, or add inspiring quotes that I come across as I read or research. Here are examples of a few of my daily spreads.
Integration with other systems
I use my Bullet Journal for many more things than tasks and appointments. A huge part of what I create in my BuJo is related to health or personal development. I’ve talked before about my Level 10 life spread, an overview of the different areas of my life and my degree of satisfaction in each area. I also use my BuJo to keep track of my Miracle Morning and I write down my affirmations and inspiring quotes for each month. Recently, during my latest silent retreat, I also used my Bullet Journal to go through Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map workbook. Also, I like to track my weight using a very simple diagram and my workouts in my weekly spread.
My notebook helps me also to keep a posting schedule for the blog, a detailed calendar on which I track my social media publications and my upcoming articles. I created an ideal posting schedule that I use as the backbone for my monthly planning.
Lastly, I find that the Bullet Journal system is the perfect match for the Getting things Done methodology, both as a planning and capture tool. I posted a detailed article to explain how I use GTD in conjunction with my Bullet Journal.
I love the Bullet Journal methodology for the versatility of the system, but also for the amazing community on Facebook and especially on Instagram. I love to see how others adapt the system to their taste, their creativity and their needs. I could go on and on about my beloved notebook, so if you would like to know more, please make sure to leave me your questions in the comments below or on my Facebook page. See you next Tuesday!
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