I recently took a friend of mine planner shopping. He really wanted to up his game and had realised that his current way of keeping track of his life just wasn’t cutting it. He didn’t know what he wanted and I am always looking for an excuse to go to any kind of paper store, so off we went.
Guys, it was a disaster.
The poor guy got so overwhelmed that he was about to step up to the cash register with not one, not two, not three—with five different types of planners with that look in his eyes—you know, the oh-my-goodness-I-need-something-but-I-don’t-know-what-so-I’ll-take-them-all.
Thankfully we had the good sense of realising that this would have been the most ridiculous way of starting him up on his planner journey, so we put all the planners back and went to grab a coffee. We came to realise that basically, while he knows that he wants to organize himself and is willing to put in the time and effort into it, he really doesn’t know what kind of system would suit him best.
We did a little research and came up with something that would really suit him: bullet journaling.
What bullet journaling is
Bullet journaling is a personalised planner system that can be as basic or as elaborate as you need it to be.
Need a to-do list? It’ll have one.
Need a yearly calendar? It’ll have one.
Need a page to list all the books you’ll be reading? It’ll have one.
It seems that the belief central to this system is that life changes and so should the way you keep track of it. It’s a flexible system of keeping track of things because life isn’t always predictable and can’t be easily contained within the sometime rigid formats pre-printed planners offer.
The pros and cons of bullet journaling
Pro: All you need is a notebook and a pen. I suggest (for now at least until I complete the second part of my review) a hard cover, dotted, classic Moleskine notebook.
Con: It is a lot more work than buying a ready made journal.
Pro: When you take the time to actually go through the process of putting together your bullet journal, manually writing items, marking others according to their status, and migrating others as needed, you put a lot more thought into the worth of what you are doing that you would with a digital system. By the mere act of going through your journal, you are questioning if a task is worth the time you are putting into either inserting it in the first place or migrating it. So it might seem like more work on the short term, but it’s a great reflection process that will help make you more efficient overall.
Pro: It is the most personalised planner you will ever find. It can be very plain at its most basic just like it can be very elaborate. If you are artistic, you can definitely decorate it yourself. If you are less artistically inclined, you can get stickers and washi tape to decorate it (check out these journal stickers Mae Badiyan recently released!) And for the really not artistically inclined, you can find a lot of printables online. Whatever you choose to do, it will be suited to what you need and will help you constantly reflect on what you are doing, making you not just increasingly efficient, but also increasingly productive.
For tips on how to start a bullet journal and some ideas of what it can look like and a few keys that go from simple to elaborate, visit my “On The Blog – Bullet Journaling” Pinterest board.
Images courtesy of Bullet Journaling.
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