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An introduction to Bullet Journalling – how I have become more organised and less stressed

Last year I found myself lost. I was forgetting about things left, right and centre and my work was suffering. My blog rarely got updated. I had to-do lists coming all over the place and would find them half complete three weeks later having forgotten about the other half. I needed to do something about it, so I decided to try out bullet journalling. 

Bullet Journalling

T started reading The Bullet Journal Method book by Ryder Carroll at Christmas 2018. He said it was fascinating and thought that it would really help him organise his life. I watched him follow the method for a year and thought it looked a bit stressful in itself. But he assured me it was easy to follow and relaxing. 

My reasoning for bullet journalling 

It got to the end of 2019 and I had realised that the year hadn’t really held a lot of anything productive for me. I’d moved house and started hoop, I had a stressful few months of arranging moving and Spike’s school start and that was it. I felt it was a wasted year and everything got to me easily. So I thought I’d give The Bullet Journal Method a read and see if I could take anything from it. Especially as I was planning on starting my Digital Marketing course. 

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll 

The book itself is a quick and easy read. It outlines the reason that the author came up with the Bullet Journal, and how it is used. It’s like a guide for your bullet journalling and designed to dip back into when you need guidance on how to do something. From learning about what rapid logging is, to the different signifiers for each ‘thing’ you log, then your future log, monthly log and index. The book tells you all the basics in an easy to digest read. From there, you make your bullet journal your own. 

My bullet journal 

I’m not going to lie. I don’t actually bullet journal to the exact science that Ryder Carroll outlines. I don’t really rapid log – as my brain works in full sentences the majority of the time, I find it easier to write in them. But I migrate my tasks, create collections and most importantly, keep everything indexed. I use it as a place to lay out my thoughts, tasks and gather together information that I want to act on. 

The best way to bullet journal

When you go online and search bullet journal, you will find hundreds of articles about how best to bullet journal. But the truth is, its entirely personal. You do whatever you want to do with it and find what works best for you. Ryder Carroll suggests trying out the structure he sets out for migration for 30 days, but if it doesn’t work; tweak it. My bullet journalling method is completely different to T’s and to many others I have seen. 

Creativity and the bullet journal 

The other thing worth mentioning is the fact that you don’t have to be creative with the bullet journal. There are a lot of people out there who use it as their creative outlet. Just search Instagram for #bujo if you want to be intimidated. I was put off when I first looked into it because I am not creative. I can’t draw and even when I try and do things with colour it usually ends up looking a bit rubbish. But You don’t have to be fancy with your bullet journal at all. I’m not, T isn’t and even the creator of the method himself, isn’t.  

More organised  

I use my journal to set out my days. To store my tasks in one place and to gather thoughts about my day. I have a monthly gratitude spread where I log one thing I am grateful for that day. I have recently started logging my blog post ideas and a monthly blog schedule into it to help organise this site and my book blog into something a little more structured too. In addition, with lockdown currently underway I also have a weekly spread for homeschooling. 

My collections 

In addition to my daily log I have a number of collections in my journal to help me remember things, reflect on things and keep up with habits. I have mentioned my gratitude page, but I also have a daily habit tracker and a monthly goal spread. These help me see I am on track to reach my goals. I have reading log pages which I note down books I have read. I also log the dates I read the book and a short, 2 to 3 line sentence about my thoughts. Then I have a ‘hoop moves’ collection so I can remember what moves I‘ve learnt in my aerial hoop classes. These often have odd names and I found I kept forgetting which I liked and didn’t like so writing them down helps with that. I also have a Mexico planning prep collection. I will be building on that in the run up to our holiday next year. 

Work and personal journal 

My journal Is mainly used for my home life. I don’t take it to work with me, instead using the app to log things I remember while I’m out. Then I store in the journal later. I toyed with the idea of using it for everything – which some people do – but I figured that things might get a bit messy. Instead I have bought a second notebook (though not a Leuchtturm1917 like my main journal as they are pricey) for work. I use that in a similar way to log tasks. Once I get back to work after leave I am going to work on making it into a proper bullet journal with index. Mainly because I feel it helps with my creativity – something required when you work in marketing! 

Reasons to Bullet Journal

You may be thinking about bullet journalling and thats why you have found your way to my page. If you are asking yourself “Should I bullet Journal?” then I recommend youI give it a try. You wont know if it works for you until you do. The reasons and benefits of Bullet Journalling are interesting as it helps you become more creative, gives you change to think and makes you more mindful. Writing tasks and notes down uses a different part of your brain than typing things out too, so you are more likely to recall them and act on them. If you have a goal, I have found that Bullet Journalling offers a great way to spread that goal out into many smaller tasks and helps it become more achievable too.  

What do you need to start Bullet Journalling? 

All you need is a notebook and pen/pencil, though a ruler may also help. You don’t need to create anything fancy at the start. I love stationary so I treated myself to my Leuchtturm1917 (here if you want to check it out) to start because it looked so pretty. I also bought some nicer pens than I had in my drawer… opting for the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner (here). Since then I have bought more pens, some glitter highlighters (here) and stickers to make it more me. But you can keep yours simple if you want. 

Slowing it down

Bullet Journalling is the perfect way to slow down. When you write, you have to think about what you are writing to engage your brain and hand. There is more control required for writing than typing. My Bullet Journal, or Bujo, allows me to slow right down and think about things. To think about what I want to achieve, what my reasonings are for acting a certain way or how I feel about being in a situation. I love it for this reason and I think in a world where everyone is so busy – its good to slow yourself down. 

To find out more about the Bullet Journal Method I recommend heading to Ryder Carrolls website or picking up the book. If you already Bullet Journal, feel free to drop your tips into the comments below.