During breakfast yesterday I happened to mention to Lizzie that I didn’t understand Bullet Journals, and so began a long, animated discussion about what they are, how they work and explanations of examples from Lizzie’s own Bullet Journal. From there I spent the rest of the day researching different styles and approaches. Needless to say I was SUPER EXCITED about the possibilities for organisation.. while I think Lizzie ultimately got fed up that I was spending all day on YouTube and WordPress.
Okay, hold it there.. this sounds a lot like-
Yes it is! It’s my latest amazing thing that i’m really excited about at this moment. I’m totally not going to abandon it after a couple of days, promise! Pinky promise!
Hmm we’ll see..
In all seriousness, i’ve talked about organisation methods before. While I like organisation and structure, I regularly struggle with this. I’m a chronic procrastinator and commonly find myself bemoaning the lack of enough hours in the day. I’ve tried numerous task managers and read books and blogs on productivity, Getting Things Done, and time management techniques. Some have been more successful than others however I fall into the trap of spending more time on the organisation system itself rather than the things i’m trying to organise. Ultimately I can only blame myself for not sticking with it.
Oh! Although not part of my current workflow, i’d highly recommend the Todoist app and their blog post entitled ‘The Ultimate Guide to Personal Productivity Methods’ – both are fantastic!
At work especially, but also with my own personal projects, I want to be more productive and organised. I want to capture everything I need to do (i.e. everything that, unchecked, ends up causing me anxiety) and lay out a plan to get it done. I also want to form good habits and see a record of the progress i’m making.
Enter the Bullet Journal.
The Bullet Journal, or BuJo for short, was created by Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll as an adaptable, customisable, and fast, organisation system. Ryder’s concept has been around for a number of years and this certainly isn’t the first i’ve heard of it, however I always found it a bit intimidating. Helpfully, Ryder demystifies the system in his introductory video over on the official website.
I won’t cover a Bullet Journal in detail here as much of it is covered fantastically elsewhere, however the core principles behind the Bullet Journal are Rapid Logging and Modules. By rapid logging you are able to capture information fast – tasks, events, notes, anything – and use Modules – The Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, Daily Log – to organise that information. There are also built in methods for gathering related ideas (Collections), highlighting notable items (Signifiers), and making sure nothing gets left behind (Migration). Read more about it here.
The appeal of the system for me is its potential for flexibility and creativity. A quick search on Pinterest or Instagram yields a fantastic variety of approaches to the bullet journal: styles from minimalist to full blown artwork – even comic book style! – and hacks and upgrades to add more modules, collections and layouts beyond Ryder’s original concept.
Starting in March, I plan to keep two Bullet Journals: one for work and one for home. While I know this might be biting off more than I can chew first time around – and I do like the idea of everything in one place – i’m concerned about the privacy of both sets of information. Plus, I work in a very corporate office and my Bullet Journal should reflect that. I wouldn’t feel comfortable or have the time to explore some of my more creative ideas at work. Whichever way I use it, so long as it helps me get organised, then i’m doing it the right way.
For my work bujo, I plan to mostly follow the original vanilla concept by Ryder. This should work well given that it will be quite formal and there will be minimal distractions, though I plan to add a Weekly Log since much of my work is concentrated week-to-week. After the first week, I plan to try out the Daily Plan Bar, a time-boxing like system that seems promising. I may still use custom signifiers and embellish the topic titles as I feel like it. The important thing is learning the system and actually using it. Given the large volume of tasks I have to get through at work every day, it will be a good testing ground.
For my home bujo, I plan to be a bit more creative with different layouts. I won’t have the pressure of my work life on projects but I plan to use it to map out my ideas and stick to timescales. A regular blogging schedule is a high priority – and on that note i’m bringing back Project Ghibli next weekend, promise – and it will be fun to create collections for Films to Watch, Books to Read and Games to Play. I may also track my savings goals.
During my research, I’ve found some fantastic Bullet Journal evangelists that I know I will keep coming back to. Their digital homes are brimming with detailed tutorial posts, video series, useful hints and tips.. you name it. Not to mention exciting-sounding challenges like the #PlanWithMeChallenge and #RockYourHandwriting.
Here are just a few links to some of their extremely good articles:
Kim @ Tiny Ray of Sunshine
- Thorough Guide to the Bullet Journal System
- Free Bullet Journal Reference Guide
- Layout Idea: Weekly Layouts
- My Blog and Business Bullet Journal
Kara @ Boho Berry
- Bullet Journal 101 series
- Future Planning in the Bullet Journal
- Task Migration in the Bullet Journal
Jess @ Pretty Prints and Paper
- Using a Bullet Journal at Work
- January Reflections & February Set Up Process
- So How Do These Challenges Work?
This post has been more for my benefit than yours: It’s my mission statement. My promise that I will give bullet journalling a jolly good go. I’m relying on you to hold me to it so feel free to call me out if i’m slacking. I’m hoping for a more organised professional life and a more creative personal one. I’ll keep you updated on my progress!
Do you bullet journal? Any hints and tips for a newbie?