Bullet Journaling 101

Not too long ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a concept called bullet journaling. It instantly appealed to me because the Tube of You personality who outlined it, well, his character is appealing and he presents the idea in a very straightforward and succinct manner. But it also touched very closely to a few points I could really use work on. Have a look and I’ll give you a few thoughts after.

~ ~ ~

First of all, while I love the idea of journaling, I’ve never been good at it—the discipline aspect, that is. I have about a dozen books with a smattering of entries within and the timeline bounces back and forth between them, depending upon which journal appealed to me on any given day I picked it up, having not touched it for months, even years.

I am fairly decent at list making, however, and this may be where my strength and bullet journaling meet. Because I make lists every day, at work and home, and my ability to stick with them is reasonably developed, I can boast some longevity. Bullet journaling takes it a step—perhaps many—further because it’s also got the element of journaling designed into it, an activity I really wish I could develop. In this way bullet journaling becomes more than just a list, but also a reflection and history of one’s life.

Here are some advantages to this technique of journaling as presented by A.J. Kallas, the YouTuber – in bullet form, of course, in the spirit of our topic:

  • There is no limit to the ways in which people can use their bullet journals
  • Bullet journals can help people increase perspective and grow in patience
  • Utilize a bullet journal to track what you are doing: if unsatisfied, you can change that

The ways in which I see straight away that bullet journaling might work really well for me:

  • I can utilize my bullet journal for my to-do listing as well as record my activities
  • Even if keeping a master to-do list, I can write in just a few specific tasks for each day
  • The above allows me to add and cross off the bigger list and avoid becoming overwhelmed or forgetting anything
  • I can record what I did on a daily basis in just a few words and refer back to these entries if I want to pursue them further in writing
  • Making lists and crossing off the to-do portions bestows on me a sense of satisfaction, which in turn can help motivate me to continue on this path
  • The sticky notes—lost and in random, unorganized piles—are forever a thing of the past and my date book is promoted to something more than just a heavy to-do list

I’ve only been utilizing the bullet journaling technique for a few days and, admittedly, have not been 100% on top of it, but I can say I do already see an improvement. Because one of my major goals is to promote accomplishment—even small and even if not everything—things have begun to shift, and I do believe it is because what I am completing is presented as a visual for me, which enables me better to keep in mind things I’ve done from day to day because I can see them, or at least the big blocks of text. Somehow, perhaps, my brain also had recorded the feeling, the serotonin coursing through it or whatever it may be, that comes from this act of writing, preserving the knowledge that I’ve accomplished, even if I have to look to see the precise details.

The reason I highlight accomplishment right now is because of two things:

  • I have a teenage son who is terrific, smart, kind and hopelessly messy, which means I’m spending way too much of my rare spare time cleaning up after both of us
  • My brain has difficulties with filters: if my environment is cluttered, I have a difficult time focusing—and I’ve got paid work to do as well as writing projects (and that doesn’t count all the myriad other things I have to do)

For various reasons we have a lot of cleaning up and clearing out going on in our house, and we’ve also made a few changes to how we approach things. So as we are getting things physically settled and organized, I have celebrated the things we’ve accomplished to get us as close to back-on-track as we can be (nothing is ever 100% perfect, and that’s ok). Simultaneously I’ve been trying to do other things so it all doesn’t become mere existence—recall Kallas’s bullet entry regarding having a life. To that end, here’s a sample from a recent bullet journal entry:

Wednesday, November 11—Accomplished

  • Made master to-do list in back of date book
  • Started blog entry for bullet journaling
  • Paid bills
  • Cleaned under stove and managed to get broiler drawer put back in on the track
  • Helped Turtle make Flädlesuppe for German class

Saturday, November 14—To Do

  • Hang remaining framed pictures on the wall in bedroom
  • Clear out piled-up stuff on other side of the bed
  • Read one poem
  • Finish blog entry—bullet journaling
  • Read [this comes after posting!]

Ah, yes, poems…one of the forgotten beauties of life. I’ll have more on this and how my bullet journaling is progressing in an upcoming blog. Perhaps more thoughts about how to do it and use my journal will further develop. I think I will let anything occur organically rather than trying to brainstorm further changes or additions, but whatever the case, I will let you know. In the meantime, I hope I have inspired you to something that will be as beneficial (or more) as I think this will be for me.

Click to like and follow the blog, and be sure to follow and check out more content at our developing Instagram and new Twitter!

Many thanks to Stephanie for the vid suggestion,
and A.J. Kallas for creating it.