How to use a bullet journal to organise your life

bullet journal online courses May 19, 2020
A bullet journal is open, revealing two pages with daily planning information written on each page

One of the ways I love to plan my days, stay on top of tasks and record all of the cool stuff that happens, is using a bullet journal. Grab a cup of coffee and sit back - I’m about to introduce you to your new, healthy obsession.

What is it?

A bullet journal is a notebook that has a dotted grid printed on the pages, instead of lines. They come in a few different sizes. I like my bullet journal (or bujo if you want to use the lingo) to be A5, so it can sit inside most of my handbags.

Now… if you’re already sitting up a little straighter at the mention of notebook (I love beautiful stationery and diaries too), you’re about to get really excited. Where traditional diaries fall down for me is the dates… if I don’t write in them daily, I always feel a bit guilty and embarrassed when I come back to them. Because bullet journals are undated, they offer the ultimate flexibility. I often joke that my bullet journal doesn’t judge me if I don’t use it for a few weeks; that there are no disapproving dates eyeballing me as I turn the blank, unused and now useless pages to find the current date.

Because the pages have faint dots instead of lines, there is enough structure to be able to write in a straight line. And the absence of lines makes doodling a dream. No more creating a masterpiece (I use that term loosely as I am not artistic, but I do love to doodle) only to be disappointed by heavy printed lines detracting from your work.

Months, weeks, days and more

You can use a bullet journal however you want - it’s just a notebook after all. But if you want to move into organisational powerhouse territory, here is a quick run down of how a bullet journal can take you there. The backbone of the bullet journal is the “spread”. A spread is a layout that uses one page (known as a single page spread) or two pages (known as a double page spread) in your notebook. Because there are no dates, you have complete freedom with how you choose to create your spreads. Here’s how I do mine:

At the beginning of the month: I draw up a monthly spread - basically a calendar view of the entire month. I add very basic information about appointments and key dates, and some must-do task information.

At the beginning of the week: I draw up a weekly spread - a calendar view of the week ahead. I add a bit more detail about appointments, and add more reminders about tasks I’d like to tick off.

At the beginning of the day: I draw up a daily spread - one page dedicated to what is happening that day. I go all-in on the detail about appointments and tasks.

At the end of the day: I come back to my daily spread and add any notes about the day (like a journal). I update the task information and add notes about the cool stuff that happened during the day.

Staying organised

Staying on top of your to-do list becomes a cinch. You use a key to identify which items are tasks and which are appointments - it’s a bit like shorthand! Then you use different symbols within the key to keep track of the tasks you have started, completed, postponed or cancelled. This key allows you to quickly move between monthly, weekly and daily spreads, moving your tasks through the pages as you need to. Once you become adept at bullet journalling, you’ll notice how few things are forgotten and missed. And as a result, your productivity goes through the roof!

Are you keen to learn more about bullet journalling as a tool to stay organised and crank through your to-do list, every dang day?

My course, Bullet Journalling For Adults, will teach you everything you need to know about monthly, weekly and daily spreads, and how to move your tasks across pages to make sure no task is left behind. I provide you with 18 printable templates so you can hit the ground running and save time drawing up the spreads. So you don’t even need a bullet journal to get started!

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