Do you love the idea of keeping a bullet journal to keep your daily life organized? Me too. I have so many half filled journals lying around though.
The idea of journaling for daily productivity is great, but in practice, things get messy. You want to journal about your personal, business, managing your house, finances and how to you keep them all together in one notebook?
That’s where bullet journaling comes in.
The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.
Here are some steps we can all take to keep the system productive.
Add Your “Why” Statement
Why are you even bothering with a bullet journal to begin with? Write that down to help keep you on track. This should be the whole reason you’re trying to keep your little world organized. Make it your first page in your journal and spruce it up.
Need some inspiration with your why statement? Watch Simon Sinek’s Ted talk that really brought the concept to light. And remember, you are the leader in your world, so this will work for you as well.
Keep it Simple
You can definitely get as elaborate as you want, but the main goal of the whole thing is to keep your life organized and to keep track of it. If you have to lug around all these stickers, pens, and tape then you might not keep with it.
You can start out as simple as you want to make sure you stay on track.
Once you have everything setup, then keep it going and use your system to journal your life and goals.
As you get better at keeping track of things, your next move can be to make the journals a little more fun and creative. Below are more items to help you do that.
Track Your Accomplishments
Do you keep track of your achievements? Knowing all the great stuff we’ve accomplished and keeping track of them in one spot is a great way to boost confidence when things feel like they’re not going well.
This is a hack that I will immediately incorporate into my bullet journaling. I have a box of old Navy documents and awards that I recently went through. Just by looking through those past achievements really gave me a confidence boost that lasted for several days.
In the daily to do list, it’s easy to forget all the things we accomplish.
Add a Habit Tracker
There is something very powerful to the simple system of adding an X to your calendar when you’ve accomplished your daily habit. I first heard about this with a story about Seinfeld. A fellow comedian asked him how he’s able to come up with so many great jokes. He said he had a wall calendar and he makes sure he writes his jokes every day. When he’s finished writing his joke, he adds an X to the calendar.
And the only thing you have to do is “don’t break the chain”. This could be a simple one page in your journal with the months and days lined out where you can track your Xs so you don’t break the chain.
The Petite Planner on Instagram: “I LOVE when the month starts out with lots of filled in boxes. It’s motivating. What are you focusing on this month?”
610 Likes, 5 Comments – The Petite Planner (@the.petite.planner) on Instagram: “I LOVE when the month starts out with lots of filled in boxes. It’s motivating. What are you…”
Index and Color Code
Ah, this is where I was getting derailed with my journals. One day I’d want to track how my business side of things were going. then I wanted to track my personal. I’d give myself a few pages in between so I’d have room to write for both, but then it would all become jumbled and I didn’t know where my business area was in relation to my personal side.
I was too. To get around this, just create an index page in the front and label what you want to talk about with a color. Then color code areas of your bullet journal so you can tab over to it when it’s time to write about that topic.
Ok, looking at some of these bullet journal ideas makes me a bit self conscious because I am not a designer or artist. I can’t draw very well so when I see all these beautifully laid out bullet journals, I initially felt like I couldn’t participate.
Then someone suggested stencils.
I can definately get into that. There a ton of stencils to use to help keep the bullet journal organized and going smoothly.
Use Washi Tape
Washi tape is decorative tape and you can find all kinds that will help organize your journal. They even have washi tape with calendar months written on them so you can layout your calendar in a decorative fashion.
Do a search for washi tape and see how else you can use it with your journal. There are dozens of ways to integrate it with the journal.
Use Sticky Notes
I love post-it notes. You can move things around so easily with them. Get colored sticky notes so you can keep things organized and move things around easily.
Sometimes when you use colored markers, that makes things way more permanent than what you were expecting.
Choose What to Track
The main pages or modules of the bullet journal are the index page, future logs, monthly logs, and daily logs. With that you can add collections, or things that are important for you to track. These might include
- Activities you love doing, like movies you’ve watched or books you’ve read
- Things that you laughed at
- Favorite sayings or quotes
- Business Ideas
- Favorite podcast episodes
If you have things you want to track on a monthly or daily basis consider adding a monthly section for things like
- Miles walked
- Mental health
- Things you ate
- Spending log
Have you ever done a vision board? It can be fun. But it can also take up a lot of mental energy to come up with all the things you want for the year. Instead, use cutouts from magazines or printouts throughout the year to give vision to your thoughts and desires.
When you find what you want, just add it to your bullet journal for that month or day.
miki on Instagram: “really breaking feed for this but i love it too much to not post 😉 had lots of fun cutting up old magazines for this!”
236 Likes, 12 Comments – miki (@mikinotes) on Instagram: “really breaking feed for this but i love it too much to not post 😉 had lots of fun cutting up old…”
Add Your Budget
This might not be much of a hack, but keeping track of your budget in your bullet journal is a great way to make sure everything is flowing smoothly. You can color code line items for income and expenses and keep track of your big goals that you’re saving up for.
Want a vacation?
Keep track of all the things your selling online that can go towards your vacation fund.
Do you have a mental list of weekly, monthly tasks you need to do? Add them in your bullet journal so you can check them off when you’ve completed them.
Best thing about it is you can get those tasks out of your head and free up mental space for better things.
Keep Your Key Super Simple
The, um, key to staying on track with your bullet journal is to keep things super simple. And that includes your key. Your key is the part of your journal that tells you whether you have a tasks, events, notices.
“Don’t ask how long it took me to get this right.. I’m obsessed with this #bulletjournal fun. #bujo”
Give your bullet journal space for doodling. This helps keep your mind creative and on track when you’re just free drawing and need some time to let thoughts percolate without the need to know what’s coming next.
Anita Piątek on Instagram: “W nowym bujo nie mogło zabraknąć instagramowego trackera. Tym razem padło na Instagramową mozaikę 😍 Którą pierwszy raz zobaczyłam u…”
313 Likes, 7 Comments – Anita Piątek (@tosiakowo) on Instagram: “W nowym bujo nie mogło zabraknąć instagramowego trackera. Tym razem padło na Instagramową mozaikę 😍…”
Don’t Compare Your Bullet Journal
Looking for a good doodle example I got sucked down into a rabbit hole of all these amazing bullet journals. It’s easy to feel like you’re not doing it right if your bullet journal doesn’t look perfect.
The point of the journal is to keep track of your life in a meaningful way.
It’s great to get inspiration on the web, but don’t compare yours to others. You’ll be much happier.
I know I have several half filled journals I can use as inspiration to create my next bullet journal and get some supplies to make the process fun.
If you try any of these hacks out, let me know how they went for you.