Bullet journals: Let's get practical!
Now you know why a bullet journal could help you tame your to-do list and I’ve outlined the basic structure, let’s look at how you can make it work for you in reality.
As I’ve said before, it isn’t necessary for your bullet journal to be a thing of beauty. Having said that, I have perfectionist tendencies and would get cross if I needed to scribble things out. My solution? Use a pencil with a rubber on the end! I have one within grabbing distance at all times.
The journal you choose doesn’t need to be fancy, but if you’re planning to take it everywhere with you it does need to be durable.
The key to making this work, is to make sure your bullet journal is always with you. When I had a proper job, mine lived in my handbag.
When you think of something you need to buy the next time you’re in the supermarket, write it in your journal (perhaps on a ‘shopping’ page). If you hear a great quote that you want to remember, write it in your journal (perhaps on an ‘inspiration’ page). Spot someone online that could be a great contact for your business but don’t have time to contact them right now? Pop it in your journal (perhaps on a ‘useful contacts’ page?).
When you’re in the supermarket you can grab your journal and check your list. Feeling ‘meh’ and in need of some inspiration? Check your journal and fuel up on some good vibes. When you’re at your computer and able to send some introductory emails, your list of useful business contacts is there waiting for you.
I used to take my bullet journal into meetings with me, much to the amusement of some of my colleagues! It wasn’t always possible to write tasks into my journal during meetings, but it was useful to see how much I had going on so that I could make sure I wasn’t over-committing myself. Previously, I would just say yes to everything as I had no clear picture of how much was already on my list. But one of your bullet journal’s super-powers is its ability to show you, quickly and clearly, exactly how much you have on. You can then say no with confidence if you need to. That in itself is a game-changer!
If you take notes during meetings, action points can easily get lost. I got into the habit of marking all my action points with an asterisk as I took notes. Then, straight after the meeting, I’d transfer anything with an asterisk into either the monthly log or the future log of my bullet journal. Boom. No more tasks lost in meeting notes, never to be seen again!
Lastly, although the bullet journal was designed to be an analogue system in a digital world, it is possible to digitise it if you’d like to. My husband doesn’t enjoy working with pen and paper, so he uses Trello for his bullet journal. He has a board for each type of log, and works from that.
Do what you need to do to make it work for you. As you get used to the structure, you’ll make tweaks and adjustments that fit with your own circumstances. How you use your journal will evolve as you figure out what works.
Take the basic principles and get creative (just try not to get distracted by calligraphy pens and colouring pencils)!
Can you see bullet journals working for you? Do you think you might give it a go? I’d love to know your thoughts so do leave a comment below!