Bullet Journal for Productivity and Mindfulness

I started my bullet journal journey about two years ago, at a time in law school where I was overwhelmed with assignments, co- curriculars and managing my everyday activities. I had tried some standard journals before, and though they weren’t effective, I used to purchase one every year to keep up with my new year resolution of being more productive. While I was looking for journals on Amazon, I came across this book called “The Bullet Journal Method” by Ryder Carroll. Upon further research, I thought that a bullet journal might be a fun activity to start – and so I began my bullet journal journey.

A Bullet Journal, or BuJo is a customisable journal that is used “to help you track the past, organise the present, and plan for the future”. It is based on a system developed by Ryder Carroll, who describes it as “a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system”.

How it can help?

Bullet Journaling has been one of my favourite activities. It has also been the most effective journal I’ve ever had. It’s a great way to keep track of tasks and has helped me manage the demanding schedule at law school.

If you are wondering whether this is a crazy and over-the-top organising method, the answer is NO. The best thing about a bullet journal is that it can be whatever you want it to be. It is essentially a custom made journal tailored to your needs.

Is it difficult and what do I need to start one?

The bullet journal system may seem daunting to a first time bullet journal-er. You don’t need to have any artistic skills or a great handwriting to begin one, and you can start one at any time in the year.

All you need is a pen and a notebook (yes, it can be any kind of notebook. Most people prefer a dot grid notebook as it helps keep things aligned without being distracting. I started my first bullet journal in a ruled notebook, and it worked perfectly fine).

Step by step (illustrated) guide to starting a bullet journal:

While you can customise your bullet journal as per your requirements, the following are some standard elements (aka “collections”) that you may want to incorporate in your BuJo:

  1. An Index page: This page helps you keep track of the different sections in your BuJo (don’t forget to number your pages!).

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  2. A Key: This lists the set of codes or symbols that are used for rapid logging in the bullet journal. This can be modified to your convenience.

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  3. Future Log or Yearly calendar: This is an overview of the important events of the year.

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  4. Monthly Log: This is an overview of the important tasks and events in a particular month. It helps in organising and planning for that month.

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  5. Weekly log/ Daily log: This is where you can rapid log your daily tasks and events.

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In addition to this, one may add more collections to their bullet journal. Some interesting ideas for customisation are:

  • Goals page: To list down yearly/ monthly/ daily resolutions
  • Gratitude page: To note down things you’re grateful for. Can be created for every month/ week/ day.
  • Reading list: To catalogue all the books you’ve read in that particular year/month.
  • List of Expenses: To keep track of how much you’ve been spending.
  • Trackers page: To effectively complete activities that you struggle to finish. Ex; working out, reading everyday etc.

It may take a few weeks for you to get used to the rapid logging method and to find your optimal method of organisation. But remember, you don’t have to be perfect – you just have to use it in a way that works for you!

-P

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4 thoughts on “Bullet Journal for Productivity and Mindfulness

  1. Journal writing indeed has been a daunting job especially for someone like me and honestly for the longest time (probably until I came across your blog), I have a sort of stayed away from keeping any kind of a personal planner or journal. Mostly because my perception about this thing has been that, it is too time-consuming, wouldn’t provide any actual benefits, and I can always rely on my ‘outlook’ calendar or MS todo list!! Let me admit, despite having these MS tools and reminders, I have still missed any meetings, calls and tasks and have had to apologise to people😊 (-:

    Going through your article and seeing your creative illustrated methods followed by you, I have started to see the benefits of Bullet Journaling and fun or satisfaction of writing our journal rather than using the standard mundane /automated tools which have not worked for me to the fullest so far!

    It made me think that the creativity and personal touch of writing our journal can not only help for managing our calendar but also in long term retention, improving our mood/cognitive ability, getting things done, a sense of accomplishment and also gaining an interesting insight into ourselves when we look back into our past entries!!!

    I tried your above method to give it a quick try and I think this would work better for me. Through my trial, felt that I was able to think better on paper, visualize my plans and I’m able to remember my schedule without having to wait for the reminders from my Outlook Calendar! The fault is not entirely with the online tools after-all, but it is about our brain and memory!

    Thank you and by the way, I learned a new word ‘BuJo’ from your inspiring article and step by step illustrations!! Very neat, precise, clear and motivating stuff!! Brilliant and look forward to seeing more!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re so happy that you tried it and loved it!
      Yes, standard journals can be boring, and the good ones can be expensive! A BuJo is a good (and effective) solution to that problem. You’ve rightly pointed out that it helps with long term retention, and perusing a BuJo from time to time helps us understand ourselves better.
      Thank you for this amazing comment and for taking the time to share your experience with us 😄

      Like

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