Grab a brand new notebook, a pen, and a ruler, and start a bullet journal. It will change your life.
I was introduced to bullet journalling by a coaching client last week. I have found it to have a dramatic impact on my habits, productivity, and creative thinking.
If you’re not an especially visually-led individual then the original Bullet Journal introduction maybe your best starting point (see below).
If you get excited by doodling et al, then be sure to take a look at this rather pleasing alternative. NB: there are hundreds of thousands of variants on YouTube.
Where the idea comes from
This isn’t new. The person behind the system – Ryder Carroll – devised the analogue notebook-based relational database years ago as a way of combating his attention deficit disorder. Be sure to watch his TedX talk for a bit more background information.
How it works
Bullet Journalling introduces a new systematic way of notetaking, planning, and prioritising, that actively engages the mind.
Dedicate specific future planning, logging, and subject-based lists to individual notebook spreads or pages. Keep a running index at the beginning of the notebook. Style it the way that appeals to you in the moment.
Importantly, everything needs to be documented in the bullet journal with three or four words, no more.
Each monthly, weekly, and daily log is regularly reviewed and values ascribed to each accordingly. This process helps eradicate value-less tasks/information and therefore declutters the mind.
What you capture, how you document it, and how you prioritise is down to you. There’s no right or wrong way of going about this.
The experience of a long incomplete to-do list beating you over the head will be long gone. The Bullet Journal offers accountability, ensuring tasks are prioritised and completed, and distractions kept to a minimum.
How it’s benefited me
Because we’re all busy people, I’ve drawn up a list (in my bullet journal, as it happens) and shared it here:
- Bullet journals helps capture everything going on in my head and keeps it in an ordered notebook
- Helps me prioritise exactly what I need to get done and what will bring me the most value
- Eradicates distractions – means my mind is more focussed on the task when I get down to it
- Fuels creative thinking – I can note down ideas and return to them/recall them later with more confidence
- I feel more organised, less reactive, and more in control, more of the time
- The tactile-ness of the notebook takes me back to my schooldays.
- Makes regular/periodic goal-setting habitual
- Provides a level of day-to-day accountability that is strangely addictive
- Helps me remind myself of strengths that often go overlooked
- Updating a notebook has a meditative quality to it.
- Tracking, acknowledging, confronting, and valuing thoughts puts many things into perspective
- A lot of mental energy is conserved.
- Bullet journalling is brilliant for raising self-awareness, and for building new habits.
- Curating information in an analogue linear fashion is the perfect foil for the digital world and its ills.
Where to go next
This handy reference guide builds on the introductory video above.
Assuming you’re not a minimalist journal writer, Pinterest is awash with visual prompts to ‘pimp’ your Bullet Journal.
There are also endless bloggers who offer layout ideas. This may seem a distraction in itself, but for some, the opportunity to enhance future plans with illustrations/layout helps reinforce commitment to the plans themselves.