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?