The Bullet Journal method is a more thorough planning method that is very much like a catch all planner. With this system, you are more likely to improve on your productivity, not miss important appointments and events, as well as make your dreams become more realistic with extensive goal planning. I first sought out this planning method because I found my planning system lacking substance. Initially I started it to be more creative, but have since reached goals I never thought I would, became more focused and aware of what needed to be done, and have become a part of such a welcoming and creative community. If you are looking to give your life a planning boost, then a Bullet Journal may be the right method for you. It’s not only because of the basic premise— planning your everyday life. The future is involved, too. And remember that time you lost an important number, appointment, or even thought? Yeah, you can include that in a Bullet Journal, too. Want to go to Europe for vacation? Or buy a house? You can plan for that, too; and, it can become more possible to get there!
IMPROVE YOUR ORGANIZATION SKILLS
First things first. This method can get you organized like nobody’s busy if you actually use it. When I first started using a Bullet Journal, I struggled. I didn’t know what to include other than my weekly plans. Little did I know, once I started to really delve into the foundations of this system that I became more organized and intentional with the way I planned for things. I created to-do’s that I could easily refer to. I made plans for the future; setting goals that I could actually reach. My work life so improvements, too. If I had something come up, I was able to just grab my journal and write it in; later developing a more thorough organization method with dedicated pages and sections.
You don’t have to nail your organization system down in one go. Quite the opposite actually. It’s all about finding what works and what doesn’t work for you. Are you a person that writes a lot on sticky notes? Create a notes section in your journal; or, as the Bullet Journal calls it, create a brain dump. Once you start there, the next steps come quite easily. What tasks can you accomplish when and when? You can start scheduling steps to reach your goals. Create lists you actually use. The world is your organization oyster. Your Bullet Journal is that oyster; how you use it can redefine your world.
INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
In tune with improving your organization systems, you can become more productive. I say “you can” because of two things; first, you may not use the system the “right way” whereas you don’t use it to be more effective in your life, but more because you want it to be a simple creative outlet for you. Secondly, I say this because there is such a thing as overplanning which can severely hinder our abilities to be productive. I hate the word “I’m busy”. What are you so busy with that you can’t do that one thing on your to-do list that’s been there for two weeks? What are you so busy with that you can’t work towards one personal development goal? We all have 24 hours in a day. Yet, we all use our time differently. Some of us work two or more jobs. Others balance work with having a family.
I don’t have a family, but I have two jobs. Being busy just isn’t an option for me. I need to be productive in my everyday life. Having a Bullet Journal to refer to for my tasks, events and appointments I need to go to, and the extras, like my trackers, goals page, and my gratitude pages. How you choose to use your time is up to you. Better yet, what level of productivity you reach is just as easily personal. Nevertheless, you can find the guide and push you need from a Bujo. Because, let’s face it, we all need an accountability partner. Think of your Bujo as one you create; an imaginary buddy that can be more useful than a person--sometimes!
If you decide to make one change in your life, focus on how you are being productive. Maybe you don’t put enough energy into your personal goals. Or, even, you find yourself planning action steps, but not actually taking them. I am completely guilty of that. What I have started using my Bullet Journal more for is keeping a record on what I have done each day in regards to my side projects. I can look back each night and see where my time was spent. Did I focus on the area I wanted to? Maybe I got a little side tracked. You can create a time tracker that is color coded to help you see these things more clearly.
PLAN YOUR DAY BETTER
So, you got organized; your productivity skills are improving. Why? Because you plan your day better! You know how I said you can plan too much? Well, it turns out you can plan too little too. Another way to Bujo your way into a better life is approaching your day differently. If you haven’t read about creating an ideal day layout, then you are missing out on the potentially life changing routine. I’ll be honest, when deciding what your ideal day would look like, you need to be realistic. This is where basic planning comes into play. When you have created a weekly schedule, you can start to see trends. On Mondays, you could have less time in the morning for stuff, but more time at night. And then, on Wednesdays, you are out with friends and the like. How can you spread out your time to fit the needs and responsibilities you already have? It is so easy to write your ideal life and then never following through. It’s a thing I struggle with daily. Your ideal day will never happen everyday. Things come up; life gets in the way. So, you need to take it all with a tiny grain of salt.
Try to set time each morning and night to include some sort of planning. Whether it be a nightly review of what happened; or, what didn’t happen. In the morning you can review your to-do list and plan accordingly. Once you get into the groove with your methods, you should only need about ten minutes each day and/or night to keep you organized and productive. It is suggested to review both in the morning and at night, but you decide for how long. There are no requirements here. You don’t have to spend one hour on a set up. That’s too much in my opinion. Spend the amount of time you feel comfortable with. Plan your day at what time fits your schedule.
REACH MORE OF YOUR GOALS
Here at One Night Plans I talk a lot of goal setting. When I was in my early to mid twenties, I wasn’t goal oriented; as many of us weren't back then. Now that I am older, setting goals have become very important to more; in more ways than one. Founder Ryder Carroll talked about how important creating goals, and then achieving them, is so crucial for our personal growth. In his book, The Bullet Journal Method, he touched upon the 5,4,3,2,1 goal setting plan. I won’t get too much into it (you should read the book!) however I will say this idea has made me likely to achieve important short term goals; as well as setting me up for achieving my longer term ones. From setting a five year goal up to a goal to complete in one hour, this concept can help kickstart your goal planning.
On top of that idea, big yearly planning has become a huge topic within the Bullet Journal community. Since I started a Bullet Journal in 2016, I have kept up with the tradition of keeping the same number of goals as the last two digits of the current year. This year I set 19 goals for 2019. You can also do 20 before 2020. These may be a lot for some people, but I found if I list some small, medium, and large goals I can feel more well rounded as I complete them. Of course, you can set as many or as little as you want. Know this, your Bullet Journal will be there for whatever ones you set. Like I said earlier, it’s more important to use your Bullet Journal to plan those steps and cross it off than to make a huge plan of action step by step and not doing any of it because you got too worn out from the planning process.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR HABITS
One of the last main ways you can bujo your way towards a better year is habit tracking. Habit tracking can become overwhelming to some. In the past, I have seen people track anywhere from fifteen to twenty habits. Frankly, that is just too much to keep track of; and, highly unnecessary. Currently, I track nine habits weekly. Tracking habits can be important not only for your physical health, but your mental health, too. As you become more set in your ways, your habits won’t feel like chores. Hey, you may even stop tracking some because they have stuck so well. I track my specific habits because they haven’t entirely stuck yet. Furthermore, some of them are financially based so I can watch my money more closely.
Habits aren’t the only things you can track. Mood trackers have become really popular; as well as support a good mental health check-in. In conjunction with your habit tracker, you can also track how productive you are. The less habits you filled in, the chances are your mood wasn’t so great that day. You can also add time tracking and sleep tracking to further see how you are doing. These check-in’s are so important. Both for your well-being and because they allow you to see what areas you need to improve on.
Well, I hope you were able to take something away from this. If I have learned anything from my three years of keeping a Bujo is this: one can plan their days, goals, and lives but one must take action to see it all come true. Start a Bullet Journal, use it, and live a better life. Remember, it’s all about planning one night at a time.