Productivity 101: Why You Should Use the Bullet Journal Method

journal notebooks

If there’s one thing that everyone loves and hates in equal measure, it’s the to-do list. Feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment can arise after crossing off task after task and seeing all the progress you’ve done. You’re also less likely to forget something significant, whether it’s applying for a debit card online or the date of your parent’s anniversary. However, to-do lists can also be overwhelming, especially if there are a lot of things happening. It serves as a reminder of the mountain of work waiting for your attention, instead of helping organize the chaos.

In some cases, the to-do list becomes massive, that you need a system to navigate your way through all the pages. It seems ironic that you need a tracker to keep track of what you’re tracking. Ryder Carroll, a designer working in Brooklyn, had the same dilemma. He wanted an organization method that does away with long lists and is flexible enough not to be boxed to a specific template. With this thought in mind, he created the bullet journal method — or BuJo for short.

Making sense of the BuJo method

All you need to start your BuJo journey is a pen, a notebook, and bullet points. As the name conveys, BuJo is all about writing down short phrases in bullet points over long sentences. The key here is that when you look at a page, you already know what the main idea of that section is. Any further explanations can be done in a separate segment like a diary.

The beauty of BuJo lies in its customization. Anyone can include whatever area they want to track, be it the books they’re reading for the year or the number of glasses of water per day. What makes this possible, compared to a templated planner, is the index or a table of contents. It serves as the guide to what themes can be found in your notebook and their page numbers. Having this index means you can fill up your journal without needing to divide the pages into parts. The page numbers will steer you to the right area you’re looking for.

An exercise in self-reflection and mindfulness

taking notes

Another key feature is the symbol key, where you can assign shapes to each task to signify the action you need to take. An open circle means it’s an event, a dash for an idea, or an arrow to show you’re migrating the task to the next day. The method is simple, but it helps to get your thoughts everything on the page in a clean way while not worrying about logistics. You’ll also have a clear picture of what happened in your day. That is why the BuJo method has also been lauded as an effective mindfulness exercise.

The methodology can help people make sense of their emotions and jot down their thoughts all in one place. Days won’t feel like a blur of activity and chaos because every event is written down in your bullet journal. You’ll also see tasks that you’re procrastinating on when you find yourself continuously migrating it to future dates. If that happens, it’s an opportunity to be honest and learn why you’re not accomplishing it or whether it’s essential.

Bullet journaling has become popular, with pages of resources and aesthetic looks uploaded on social media. Everyone loves the method’s simplicity, customization, and mindfulness nature.