What are Bullet Journals?
A BUJO (an abbreviation for bullet journal), is an organisational system created by designer "Ryder Carroll". Carroll states the goal of a bullet journal is to help you to "keep track of the past, organise the present and plan for the future". A bullet journal can be used as a journal, a record of your goals, a sketchbook, a daily/weekly/monthly calendar, a notebook, a mental health diary, etc. The beauty of a bullet journal is they can be personalised to fit your needs.
Another reason for the growing popularity of bullet journals is the simplicity behind them. All you need to get your life back on track is a dotted notebook and a pen. Is there a simpler way of organising your thoughts? This sort of simplicity allows you to take notes in an efficient manner without having apps or adverts distracting you from utilising your organisational system. Furthermore, the fact that everything is kept in one place instead of having random piles of notes adds to the simplicity.
Bullet journals are also an effective way to log your own habits and record your daily thoughts. They therefore allow you to learn about yourself, your habits and make adjustments to your daily actions if you want to better yourself. Similarly, a bullet journal can help your time management skills and trim some of the unneeded time wasting activities out of your day.
Bullet journals are usually broken down into sections which are then broken down into three segments:
- The first segment is usually a future journal where you can note down your plans for the future. Examples include: long term goals, future activity dates and any aspirations you may have. The aim of this section is to give yourself an idea of where you want to be and what you want to be doing in the future; by mapping out your aspirations, you are much more likely to achieve them as you now have a clear goal to work towards.
- The next segment is the daily logbook. This is where you can track your daily activities, habits and appointments. The aim of this section is to learn more about how you operate on a daily basis. Then you can look at where you can improve when it comes to meeting your future goals from the first section. For example, you may be able to make a habit out of setting aside a few hours every day to work towards your goals.
- The last segment is the weekly or monthly calendar. This is where you can set out your short term goals, your list of tasks you want to accomplish and your upcoming deadlines for the week/month. The aim of this section is to set out the tasks you need to accomplish, whether it be work related, family related or goal related. By doing this you can set out a plan of what needs to be done and how you are going to get it done, therefore increasing the likelihood of getting it done.
A bullet journal often begins with an index where you can log the contents of the journal and where the contents can be found. There are many different ways to create a detailed index. Examples include: a page numbering system, utilising symbols for different sections, a colour coding system and coloured tabs. The organisational system you use is completely dependent on your personal preferences and how you best operate, therefore it may take some trial and error to find the perfect index system for you.
5 Benefits of using a Bullet Journal
Benefit #1: Time Management
Regardless of how you utilise your bullet journal (whether it be as a personal planner, calendar, exercise log, etc), you're time management skills are bound to improve. Through consistently tracking what you're doing each day, you can identify gaps in the days/weeks/months and schedule activities that you want to do or get some work done that you've been meaning to get done. Furthermore, by setting aside a specific time to get these tasks done, you are more likely to accomplish the tasks.
Furthermore, research from Minot State University has found that a sense of time management not only increases productivity but also provides a sense of well being and happiness. This is due to the control that proper time management can provide you with; this control can combat the stress you feel when your day is chaotic and unorganised. Another reason why good time management can increase happiness is due to the better work/life balance it provides through scheduling time for yourself and time to spend with your loved ones
Benefit #2: Reduces Stress & Anxiety
The feeling of planning out goals and plans in your head can be very overwhelming due to external factors distracting you from these plans and deterring you from what you're trying to achieve. This can ultimately lead to you spinning your wheels and the fact that you're failing to achieve your goals can cause you to stress out further. Therefore, writing down all your plans and goals in detail can give you mental clarity.
Another way that bullet journaling can reduce stress is through methods such as gratitude logs or planning out activities that you like in your personal planner. Often we can feel like our lives do not compare to others' due to social media only showing a snapshot of their best moments, however noting down everything you're grateful for and can be a great reminder of how much you do have in your life.
Benefit #3: The simplicity
In a digital world where we experience constant distractions, bullet journaling can provide you with some much needed clarity and simplicity; after all, all you need to start bullet journaling is a pen and the actual journal. Furthermore, you can design your bullet journal to be as complex or as simple as you want. The logs you create may only require simple, few-worded input or it may require complex, long-worded input.
Furthermore, through using methods such as habit tracking, personal planning or goal setting, you are indirectly making you're life more straightforward. The benefits of these systems is they give you clear and concise tasks to complete, instead of spending more time not really knowing what to do.
Benefit #4: The Customisability
Instead of having to conform to templates and tables, you can create the exact table/grid/log to fit your needs. You can control exactly how detailed you want your bullet journal to be, how easy it is to fill in on a daily basis, how much thought is required, what variables are being tracked, etc. You can measure your progress in things that really matter to you.
Furthermore, you can design your own bullet journal. By making your bullet journal more aesthetically pleasing to you, it's more likely to hold sentimental value to you and therefore you're more likely to keep it closer to you, take care of it and utilise it.
Benefit #5: You learn more about yourself
Through logging your daily habits, ideas, actions, thoughts and moods, you're creating a log you can look back on. Once you've used your bullet journal for a longer period of time, you're able to identify and analyse any changes in the variables you've been tracking. For example, you may find that over time your mood has significantly improved or that you're productivity has gotten a lot. This can then give you further motivation to keep working towards your goals and to keep using your bullet journal.
Furthermore, this information can be used to look at how good you are at setting goals. If you're consistently hitting your goals, you can think about increasing the difficulty. Or on the flip side, if you're consistently missing your goals, you can think about making your goals more reachable.