How to: Bullet Journaling for Productivity and Organization

Writing things down can help organize your thoughts on something that you know needs to get done. But taking it a step further, using bullet journaling for productivity can truly change and improve many aspects of managing your to-do’s, from personal to professional.

Bullet journaling is a planning system to help you get things done. Here is all you need to know about bullet journaling, including how to set up your own helpful system for productivity and organization.

What is Bullet Journaling?

A bullet journal is a way to help you customize and plan things out. The method is credited to Ryder Carrol as a way to allow you to organize as many aspects of your life as possible, including work, home, and more. 

The bullet journal acts like a planner or notebook system. You can set things up in a weekly planner or type them out on a spreadsheet; whatever method works best for you. The idea behind the method is that you can customize the journal however you’d like; you can even experiment with different ways of tracking, creating to-do’s or checklists to figure out what method is more motivating.

Creating Your Bullet Journal

Regardless of how you decide to go about bullet journaling, there are some specific steps that you can take to help you get started. Before you even write anything down, your first step should be to clear your mind so that you can focus on the present.

Start With a Blank Page

Before organization, there is usually some chaos. You can start with what’s called a “Brain Dump” page, where you just write everything down that comes to you that you know either has to get done, that you’d like to get done, or that you want to do.

Some things you can do on the page include the following:

  • Write out different categories
  • Divide your thoughts into sections or areas of life
  • Doodle out an idea that you have
  • Make a list of to-do’s
  • Write down anything that comes to you – thoughts, feelings, etc.

With this blank, open page, the possibilities are endless. You can just get everything that you have going on in your life all out there on paper. It can help you with feelings of overwhelm and stress and help you begin to break down your everyday tasks.

Creating Your To-Do List

Your bullet journal should technically be a list of what needs to get done for the week. You can create another list of things you’d like to tackle or a goal you hope to reach. These lists will help you prioritize and sort what tasks need to get done first.

Tip: If you try to list out what needs to happen each day, it can be counterproductive since you won’t always know what you wrote down days prior. That’s why writing out your entire week at a time is more productive.

Then, at the end of each week, you can evaluate how much you accomplished and what still needs to be done.

Bullet Journaling

The bullet part of your journal breaks down your list from weekly to daily and then tracks what you’ve done. You create little dots to “bullet” each specific task. When you complete them, mark the task with an “x” or a checkmark to see what’s been accomplished.

Being specific about your tasks and goals will help you to be the most productive and get the most out of your journal. For example, instead of writing “clean room” on your list, write out each part of the room that needs cleaning, such as “make bed,” “organize dresser,” or “clean out closet/drawers.” 

Writing out things in more detail helps you be more mindful so you can evaluate and see what is actually getting done and completed each day.

If you utilize the bullet journal for your work schedule, you can break things down into time blocks for how you will tackle a task for each hour of the day. You can color code tasks based on where they fall in your priority, and it helps you to manage projects more effectively. 

Don’t forget to include events and deadlines. Keeping track of important dates, appointments, and upcoming promotions will help ensure that you don’t forget or miss out on things. 

Benefits of Bullet Journaling

Keeping a bullet journal can aid you across many aspects of your life, from work to time-block projects to keeping the house clean and even managing your budget and expenses. Having things written down is also the best way to recall and look back on information that you have because you won’t forget it!

Mental self-care is important, and with a bullet journal, you can efficiently organize projects, to-do’s, and be more organized and productive throughout each day.

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