How to Use a Bullet Journal to Be Productive
By Sabrina Petrafesa
As someone who has struggled for a long time with being productive, one of the best tools I’ve found to keep myself on track is a bullet journal. Bullet journaling is using a blank notebook to create your own planner. There are really no rules when it comes to a bullet journal, you are in charge. All you need for a bullet journal is a blank notebook and a pen. The basics on how to use a bullet journal can be found on this website, but these aren’t strict rules, more of a starting point.
In its true nature, a bullet journal is just a series of to-do lists. Bullet journaling is a place to keep all your to-do lists organized in whatever way you want. Typically a journal is organized through monthly, weekly, or daily logs. You can decorate these pages however you want. Monthly logs can be one page with a list of the date or a full-blown calendar month that takes up two pages. Logs are used to plan your month/week/day and set goals for yourself. In my experience, weekly and daily logs can accomplish the same thing. You can make your daily lists within your weekly logs or you can use both. It’s all a matter of what works for you.
Initially, I started bullet journaling when I needed a planner to keep myself organized for school but I hated planners because inevitably there were months where I wouldn't use it at all. I’ve been using the same notebook for nearly two years now and now I have a great structure that works for me. Experimentation and evolution when using a bullet journal is key. What you did this week might not be how you structure your bullet journal next week. That’s okay. Nothing needs to be pristine and perfect it just needs to work. When you reach the end of your journal you can see all the ways you evolved in style and as a person.
Because of the flexibility in a bullet journal its use doesn’t stop at being a planner. You can modify it to be an actual journal to write down your thoughts, track your meals or your exercise goals, or track your mental health. The multi-purpose aspect of a bullet journal keeps you on track because you can create a space where you can be creative and thoughtful while still getting your work done.
It’s important to note that bullet journals don’t work for everyone. The lack of structure isn’t easy to manage and if you’ve experimented every which way possible with your journal and it still doesn’t work maybe other pre-printed journals or journaling apps will work better. However, if you choose to use a bullet journal the most important piece of advice is: don’t worry about how other people journal. You can use other people’s journals as inspiration but don’t get bogged down by how much nicer someone else’s layout looks. It’s your journal and no one else’s, work with it how you want to.