Why I am loving my bullet journal

I’ve been working with a bullet journal for about a month; it might not seem long but as it had been something I was initially so against that I thought I’d share my thoughts on my initial experiences. Is a month sufficient time to assess effectiveness? I’ve had such a good experience and feel so positive, that I’d say yes.

In the run up to the end of the year I was reflecting on the best way to plan and organise myself in the year ahead, so while others were thinking about New Years Resolutions, I was thinking about diaries, planners and calenders. I decided that a bullet journal was a good option to replace the diary, planner and various notebooks I’d been trying to work with previously. It was fine while I was working from home, but once we started hybrid working it was becoming too awkward to carry around all the different notebooks and diaries etc.

I felt there had to be a better way of working – rather than having notebooks for classes, notebooks for general work, hobbies, plans/personal projects etc. I was trying to work across too many books which wasn’t really very effective, so as I was thinking about diaries and planners for 2023, I looked at bullet journals. Before really looking at them, I had the idea that they were just a book full of fancy To Do Lists. I’m glad to say that I now have a better understanding of what they can do – how versatile they can be, and that they can be tailored to your own specific needs. That’s what I’ve done.

Once I decided what I needed my bullet journal to do, I was able to design a blank notebook to meet my needs. So far, even a month in, I’m loving it. I feel much more focused and better organised. I also like the fact that I’m not hunting about for different notebooks in the morning before work – I just grab my journal and I’m ready to go. Its also made my bag a lot lighter as I’ve just got the one book with me. The photo I’ve shared is the journal I’m currently using plus the one I’ll be using next.

The benefits I’ve found from using the bullet journal approach are:

  • I am more organised. As I have everything together its easier to access and monitor what I’m doing. I can see everything at a glance rather than trying to tie up information across different notebooks etc.
  • I believe because I am better organised and I have everything more easily to hand, I can be more efficient.
  • I have a more realistic assessment of my daily productivity/progress
    • I can see/mark off what I achieve
    • I am able to identify what I don’t complete – but rather than simply being things on my to do list that aren’t ticked off I can see why I’m not achieving because I add comments to explain what happened etc. What I have also learned is that its not always my fault. Having some notes written up as I go allows me to evaluate the day more honestly. Consequently I’m being more realistic, less hard on myself and as I’m less stressed, I’m actually doing more.
  • Overall, as well as enjoying using the bullet journal, I feel more focused, organised and less stressed

I like the fact I can create a bullet journal that I can tailor to my own needs. I am including all areas of my life – work, family, home, blog, hobbies etc all in the one place and am creating the journal in a blank notebook; I need a couple of pages for most days so I’ll be getting through a lot of notebooks – but if it works for me, its worthwhile. I guess I’ll be keeping stationery companies in business.

I do have to say I’m still using a separate book for project/long-term planning, but it feeds into my bullet journal.

I’m still learning a lot about using the bullet journal, but already I’m loving it; its making such a difference for me. My next focus, as I develop my planning (and implementation skills) is to create and follow an exercise programme, using the bullet journal to keep me on track.

What about you? Have you/do you use a bullet journal? How does it work for you? What planning techniques work for you if you don’t use a bullet journal?


  1. Bullet journals are, as you say, very adaptable for personal tailoring. I did intend to use this recording model. For planning projects I was going to use the questions related to the Gibbs model for ‘reflective analysis’ when nursing. Use a substitute theme though. Not the emotional what went right (euphoric) what went wrong (angst). Gardening individual projects involved in an overall garden planned makeover. Like Alan Titchmarsh dies on the telly. For example, clearing and digging over a piece of garden full of brambles/weeds/grass. Describe facts (the plan), initial feelings (is it a realistic aim), evaluate (yes, nice and ready for planting or no, I was biting off more than I could chew), analyse (what went right, ground was nice and soft to get at/wrong it was full of roots around ricks and stones), conclude (honest reflection of why it was that what went right/wrong) and action (next time I will). Links to nursing could be too negatively strong psychologically. Take me back to those stressful days. But content is of a more fun filled nature so should be okay. Great for organised projects like the gardening plan, decorating the house, mending a fountain pen, developing camera film at home, using specific tools for the job, planning, ordering and buying equipment, required items, etc. I suppose it is not a day to day ‘diary model’ in content though. At work is was working related experiences. So similarly it would involve separate project bullet journals. I do have three blank dotted A5 journals and other plain/notebook lined ones intentionally awaiting and ready for this year’s activities. As yet? Not started despite great intentions. Currently, I have an A4 Monograph system which gets all the projects under one ‘stationery’ roof and it’s easy to take away from and add single A4 written work in it’s system. Thanks for the ideas and information. All the best.

    • Morning Gray. Thanks for your detailed thoughts. I think when you have to work reflectively, as you have done as a nurse, it becomes second nature in everything we do.

      • You’re spot on. And the bullet box format limitation means you focus only on the necessary inclusions too. Cheers.

  2. Being retired and single means I can wing it a good portion of the time! However, I do use a good old-fashioned wall calendar for appts and reminders because I can glance at it while I’m in the kitchen, either morning or night, to see what’s coming. My online calendar has the same entries and I get a daily reminder at 5AM. I keep a running list of happenings throughout the week in a notes type app as a reminder of newsy sorts of things for when I video chat with my Colorado daughter.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Deb. I like your idea of your list of happenings to.share with your daughter.

  3. Amazing blog post Brenda. I really enjoyed reading it and as I was browsing through I was able to see that owning a bullet journal is one of the best tool a writer needs and this notebook is one of a kind. I too like journals but I usually use College notebooks at home when drafting my fashion blog posts but once I get a good job I will have to buy this bullet journal , the benefits seems worth it to me and I too like writing down my tasks to do lists and doing so reminds my brain of what I must concentrate or focus on.📒🔥🔥

  4. A timely and useful post, Brenda. I, like you, have been working across different books and journals for different projects, and have been considering some different ways of working. I have always had a ‘seat of the pants approach’ but as my writing projects increase I feel a deadline or other may be missed. Are there any particular sites or articles you would recommend for bullet journaling?

    • Hi Davy. I spent quite a bit of time just thinking out/mapping out what I needed to be able to do and what I thought that might look like. Beyond that, I just did a lot of research, just exploring what a bullet journal is, what it might look like etc. The two bloggers I’ve found most insightful and helpful were/are:

      Bournemouth Girl … who was looking at planners and planning generally and was really helpful and supportive
      Laura at Keeping It Creative. She shares her own monthly bullet journal designs and gives some insight into what works for her. The fact that she designs her own pages gave me the confidence to not be restricted.

      Keeping It Creative

      Bournemouth Girl

      Sorry I can’t get the links to work right now on my phone

  5. I’m so glad you’re enjoying and benefitting from your bullet journal Brenda. The ability to customise depending on your particular needs is definitely one of the major benefits.
    Thanks for your lovely comments about my blog and I’m glad you found my posts encouraging.

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