Bullet Journal

The Bullet Journal – A Quick Guide to Über-Efficiency


Bullet Journal

Be sure to check out my new bullet journal post, one year later!

Right around the start of the new year, a friend of mine introduced me to this note-taking system, which he promised would “turn me into an efficiency machine”. Consider that I’m a 20-something from the Silicon Valley – I work in high-tech, I grew up with high-tech, my entire world is basically dominated by the tech industry in one way or another. So I was admittedly a bit skeptical when I checked out Bullet Journaling for the first time. Having a bullet journal seemed like a lot of upkeep, and really, who has time to write things down anymore? Well, me, it turns out. True life, I am a bona-fide bullet journal convert. This is my story.

Bullet Journal

I’m a pretty type-a person. I live and die by my to-do lists, and having an efficient system of reminders and lists is important to me. Lately, though, my endless task list has devolved into a series of post-its, phone reminders, and emails. Not what you’d think of when you picture efficiency, no? I’ve run the gamut of to-do list apps for both my phone and iPad, but nothing seemed to stick.

Enter the bullet journal. At first glance, the concept seems a bit complex: different symbols (a circle, a square, a bullet) denote different items, and another lexicon of symbols represent importance. At the beginning of every month, you put down an ascending list of dates with corresponding days, and outline the general tasks that you’d like to accomplish during that month. Seem like too much effort? Well, I thought so too at first. But you’d be surprised.

Bullet Journal

The whole idea behind the bullet journal is that it helps you chronicle your day-to-day with the goal of helping you meet your goals. There’s something to be said for the staying power of a task when it’s actually written down, not just logged somewhere and forgotten about. I found the entire process remarkably easy to learn, and seriously guys, nothing is more satisfying than placing a little check-mark after a task.

The bullet journal isn’t just a daily calendar, either. You’re encouraged to use your journal as a sketchbook, a place to log observations, track short and long-term goals, and as a repository for ideas. I use my journal to log my dreams, and often write down little observations that I’ve made throughout the day. It’s pretty cathartic to end every day by looking at all the things I’ve accomplished, what I still have to do the next day, and what I’ve learned. As the creator of the concept explains in this super cool video, your bullet journal is, among other things, a lovely way to chronicle your life.

As with any productivity aid, this tool is essentially what you make of it. Use your bullet journal for whatever you like. I like the idea of a choose-your-own-adventure journal because it feels very personal, but that’s just me. I’ve never been more inspired to do great things, and I hope that you feel the same after using your journal.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the ultra-informative website. You won’t be sorry!

Anyone out there using bullet journals? How do you keep yours organized?

  • http://cocoandmingo.com Jessica (Coco/Mingo)

    This is such an awesome post!!! I’m constantly writing everything down, taking and making notes…Thanks to my phone, I put a lot of notes in there, but I also carry around a small notepad too. It’s weird because I’ve been introduced to a lot of efficient note-taking shorthands, etc in college but never followed any of them. I have this weird thing where I feel like if I do it the short way, I’ll look back and not remember what any of it means. lol!! I’ll try this out though!

    • Amanda

      Thanks, Jessica!! I used to be addicted to writing notes in my phone, but then I looked at my notes app around the turn of the new year and had something like 43 incomprehensible notes. It was nuts. My method is to stick to a few symbols – maybe 3 for notes, events, and tasks, and 3 for level of importance, so I can basically surmise what’s going on even years later. PLEASE let me know how you like bullet journaling! I’d love to hear how you like it :)

  • http://www.luckynumbersevenblog.com/ Danielle

    I use the bullet journal method and I absolutely love it!! I wish I would have thought of this back in college. Would have saved me a lot of time ;) Like you, I use it for everything. I used to have post-its everywhere now I have one central location for all my madness. I’m glad you are using and enjoying it!

    • Amanda

      Isn’t it the best? I’m in my last semester of college, and I lament the fact that I didn’t discover it sooner. I found that I became quite addicted to my bullet journal within a few days of use. Won’t it be fun to look back in a few years to see, in great detail, what our lives were like back when?

  • http://www.katrinasophia-blog.com Katrina Sophia

    I use this method, started early last year and I am so glad I did!

    • Amanda

      Isn’t it the greatest? What do you use yours for?

  • http://starcrossedsmile.com Nnenna

    I think I saw this mentioned a Fast Company article and thought it was interesting! Thanks for the reminder- I want to give this a try!

    • Amanda

      That’s where I heard about it, too! Definitely give it a go – you can make it über personal, which I like a lot :)

  • http://studio-404.com Angel Y.

    I didn’t know that bullet journaling was a concept since it’s been the way I write notes/ideas down for years. Good to know it’s actually effective and I’m not just making things up! I’m off to check out this video. Thanks for sharing Amanda!

    • Amanda

      Hah you’re just way ahead of the curve, Angel. What did you think of the video? Anything you liked/disliked?

  • http://mooi-by-winny.blogspot.com/ Winny

    I use this method too! But I keep it daily :) it really helps me to be more I-know-what-I-have-to-do-next, instead of thinking for a long time what I should do after this, after that.

    • Amanda

      That’s awesome! I definitely have been better able to organize my day-to-day since I started using my bullet journal. I think you’re right, it gives you a sense of perspective, especially if you go over your tasks at the end of each evening!!

  • http://www.mysmallbusinessbranding.com Temmy

    Thanks for this insightful post! I checked the bullet journal website but can’t find any download or purchase link?

    • Amanda

      No problem!! I think it’s meant to be a DIY type of deal – my recommendation is to acquire a squared moleskine and use that for your bulleting. Let me know if this helps!

  • http://www.atinyrocket.com Erika Lee Sears

    Yes I love a list! and now i have another reason to purchase more little journals! :)

    • Amanda

      Right? Never enough reasons :)

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