Are you looking for ways to boost your productivity levels?
Have you considered trying a bullet journal to keep yourself focused and productive?
We reached out to the community to find bullet journal experts and productivity specialists to find out how to make a bullet journal work for you.
Keep reading for their answers.
- 1. Jordan Rolf, EposNow
- 2. Thomas Kanze, Nomadific
- 3. Alistair Dodds, Ever Increasing Circles
- 4. Robert Johnson, Sawinery
- 5. Kathryn Read, International Sales and Marketing Consultant
- 6. Rima Jalba
- 7. Tal Shelef, CondoWizard
- 8. Aaron Cambden, Fairview Estates
- 9. Monica Davis, MyStraightener
- 10. Susan Parker, PhD, Dreams Research Council
- 11. Yoel Farkas
- 12. Gerald Lombardo, The Word Counter
- 13. Rachel Cassidy, Animalso
- 14. Tianna Masters, Aster Sticker Co.
- 15. Nicole Graham, Womenio
1. Jordan Rolf, EposNow
Bullet Journals are an amazing way to become more organised and productive. My bullet journal works exactly as I need it to, it allows me to customise layouts, doodles, and lettering in a way that I understand easily.
I often found filling out printables and planner boxes just did not work for me in the past and with this new common practice in my life I seem to both complete and understand my projects so much faster.
I personally would recommend using these six steps when it comes to your bullet journal to maximise its effectiveness.
You should try to separate your journal into an index, project pages, monthly calendar and goals, weekly planning, daily pages, and lists and collections.
The six categories give me enough separation for my journal to not be overcrowded whilst breaking areas down into achievable objectives and tasks.
Forming a layout that works for you is the best step to take. Sketch a selection of layouts in pencil and make sure you are happy with the format in which they are in.
A bullet journal is a collection that is personal to you. Have fun creating it and make it work in whatever way works best for you.
There is no right or wrong way when it comes to making one so just have fun shaping it to be how you want it to be.
2. Thomas Kanze, Nomadific
Know what you want to put on your journal.
The thing about bullet journals is that there are a lot of aesthetic inspirations which will confuse you on the style you want to adapt, or use in your own journal.
But what’s really important is not the layout, but the notes you will put into it. Know why you want a bullet journal and what are the things you need to compartmentalize to narrow the layout best suited for it.
Always remember that you are making a bullet journal to be more productive which is why making it should not consume all of your time, or else you have totally ripped the purpose of the journal.
3. Alistair Dodds, Ever Increasing Circles
I use bullet journaling to keep track of tasks, meetings, projects and to take notes. It’s a great way to track how time is
being spent on tasks, which comes in handy for planning and workload management across the team.
Some of our team even use bullet journaling to keep track of their annual review and goals.
My top tip would be to keep it simple and give yourself time to learn at first as it’s a completely different way of taking notes and planning tasks out.
Making it a habit is key as well, as it’s only as useful as the information that you add in there (it can get confusing if it’s not kept up to date properly) and sticky notes are great for information that you want to add temporarily without committing it to the journal just yet. It works really well for people who look at things from a more creative or visual perspective.
4. Robert Johnson, Sawinery
Create one every month in a spreadsheet. Begin with daily logs.
Write down your daily goals and use signifiers to identify the progress of each. For example; put a check mark on the ones that are completed and cross out the ones that were not.
In this way it is easier to recognize your productivity as you could track your activities on a daily basis. Always keep it simple and organized, don’t make it complicated by using multiple signifiers.
5. Kathryn Read, International Sales and Marketing Consultant
Although the hand drawn masterpieces that you see on Pinterest or IG may look great, they weren’t part of the original concept.
For those of us who are either not arty at all or not everyday artists, I’d recommend a minimalist approach to the BuJo.
APPs like Dynalist or Goodnotes (or even Trello) make good online options and save the time of rewriting stuff again if you postpone or want to reorder your lists
6. Rima Jalba
What often happens with bullet journals is that we write everything we need to do. And we end up in endless lists of random notes and more things we feel need to be done. So here is what I STRONGLY recommend anyone using a journal to have:
*1. A NOT TO DO LIST:* I wrote it in caps for a reason: most people want to increase productivity and, thus, they pile up more things to do omitting that what is actually cutting down on their productivity is things that they’re already doing.
Science shows that people are and can stay productive because whatever you put your attention to-is what becomes the focus of your awareness. And when you shift your attention onto something- that means you consume energy on it. And your energy is your productivity. So cut down on what you are already doing that is consuming your energy and diluting your focus in hundreds of places.
*2. The priority tiers: * Split your daily tasks into 4 categories/boxes:
*Box A: *very urgent and very important tasks that need immediate action. Number the tasks in their order of action (deadlines) and only do one task at a time.
*Box B: *All the tasks that aren’t urgent but highly important and can wait to be done after the highly urgent ones are pushed back into this box.
*Box C:* is for tasks that aren’t urgent and aren’t important but would be nice to have. These should be filtered out on whether they will make any impact if completed, if not- move them to box D:
*Box D:* all the disregarded tasks that you filtered as not relevant enough to be completed.
These would be my 2 key ones.
7. Tal Shelef, CondoWizard
I would say that you must be *consistent* in order to get the best out of journaling. Do it every day and track every habit and thought that you think are important. You want to build *momentum*.
*Don’t make it complicated*. There is nothing wrong with designing it the way you want it. However, if you do it too much, you get overwhelmed. *It unnecessarily takes a lot of time. *
8. Aaron Cambden, Fairview Estates
A bullet journal can help to create a state of productivity which helps to ensure that you’re always moving forward and getting something done.
Whether you use a bullet journal for personal development, the future of your career or even on behalf of the business that you own, it is a quick and easy way to note down your progress and future plans.
In doing this, you’re keeping track of what you’re doing and how well you’re doing it. Referring back to these records can give you the insight that you need to stay on top of your productivity.
One of my best tips is to make sure that you’re not comparing yourself to other people, whether it’s online or in person. Some people will want to create a gorgeous journal that looks amazing and has a really organised layout.
If you’re not that kind of person, do it your way. Your journal can have scribbled notes and blocks of tasks, it can be as short or as long as you like.
Similarly, if someone else has been able to reach their goals consistently and you haven’t, don’t be afraid. Take things at your own pace and make your goals achievable.
9. Monica Davis, MyStraightener
I’ve been using a bullet journal for years for salon routine and personal life.
Here’s a perfect way to use the bullet journal for business and routines:
1) Develop the key of the journal. Make up a page with transcripts of all your symbols. This way you’ll never forget their meanings.
2) Use the second or the last page of the journal for recurring tasks. This way you will free yourself from inserting the full text of these tasks into your daily plans. Just create a quick symbol for them. For example, Ω1 is “Feed the dog” and Ω3 “Take the project blueprint.”
3) Make up the future log – use this tip to lay out all your appointments and priorities for the next 6-12 months.
4) Limit yourself to avoid overworking. No matter how productive you feel, you certainly have a daily limit of power. Make sure to limit yourself to, say 6 or 10 tasks per day, and don’t do more unless there is an emergency.
10. Susan Parker, PhD, Dreams Research Council
Bullet journals are great for boosting productivity when used correctly. It is easy to open up to your weekly or daily spread and make a to-do list a mile long.
Consistently seeing more tasks than you can possibly complete can be overwhelming and frustrating, hindering your productivity in general.
To boost your productivity, make a weekly to-do list rather than a daily list.
As you plan your weekly spread, assign tasks from your weekly list to each day of the week. Try to keep each day to no more than three major tasks.
Delegating the tasks to individual days will allow you to see your progress immediately and motivate you to keep going.
11. Yoel Farkas
Bullet journals are very personal, but generally they should include short-term and long-term goals for business and health, each separated by its own category. By short term I mean, daily and weekly to dos and long term monthly and yearly.
For instance, a daily goal for business would include the day’s tasks such as recording a video a day for social media, phone calls to be made and the like. A weekly goal may be a once a week invoicing day or a weekly meeting with team members.
Regarding health, it can include a daily meditation, exercise and diet plan. A week plan, for instance, can be setting a goal
for hours per day spent on daily health activities. Similar goals can be recorded for monthly and yearly objectives.
I also recommend doing a weekly, monthly and yearly audit on performance. For instance, take one day a week and grade oneself on productivity and performance in hitting bullet journal entries in both areas.
Bullet journals should include attainable and realistic goals and not be overly ambitious.
A separate section can be started for bucket list type of goals/dreams to keep that within attainable manifestation but should not be mixed up with the regular, to-do goals of the bullet journal.
Finally, one must be flexible and adaptive to changes or unexpected events that may arise.
Trying to stick to a bullet journal at the expenses of unanticipated opportunities, for instance, would actually undermine the intention of the bullet-journal which ultimately is about performance and productivity.
12. Gerald Lombardo, The Word Counter
A Bullet Journal can help you organize your thoughts and mind. You can start by listing tasks you need to get done.
This way you know they will be remembered but you can put it away from your mind until you’re ready to check it off the list. Then you can jot down some things you want to resolve or get off your chest.
This helps you face the chaos that can fill your head throughout your day. Then you can list a couple of goals you want to work on; seeing your goals makes them more practical and less of a dream in your head.
13. Rachel Cassidy, Animalso
I have watched Youtube tutorials on how to make bullet journals and one thing I learned is that there are no rules.
Your journal does not have to be pretty or Instagram-worthy, it just has to help you stay organized.
I generally have two to-do lists, one is less time sensitive, and the other is a daily checklist of things I must attend to.
14. Tianna Masters, Aster Sticker Co.
I’ve used a bullet journal for years now and find that it really helps me stay on top of tasks. Some things I’ve learned along the way are as follows.
Don’t be intimidated by all of the complex spreads out there. Your journal needs to work for you, so if that means you have a simple chart with the days of the week then that’s okay!
On the other hand, if that means you like to use your creativity to come up with all sorts of trackers and illustrations then that works as well.
And both can co-exist.
You don’t need to be striving for the ‘perfect’ bullet journal. It can look ugly, it just needs to be functional.
Some bullet journal spreads that I find to be crucial are: a breakdown of each day of the week, weekly to-do lists, monthly/yearly goals you have for yourself, a tracker page (or multiple) of habits you’d like to instill in yourself (i.e. drinking more water or exercise, and daily gratitude entries.
That last one is super important.
Many studies have shown that taking a moment in each day to show yourself love and list a few things you are thankful for has a large impact on your mental health.
So why not include that in your bullet journal! It can be simple as well.
You can have a spread with 3 slots per day where you can list 3 moments of beauty from your day. Or 3 things you’re proud of.
The biggest thing to remember is that your bullet journal is for you and you don’t have to abide by any set of ‘rules.’
15. Nicole Graham, Womenio
The bullet journal is mainly a productivity tool, beginning with monthly spreads, weekly spreads, habit trackers, and dailies is important for future preparation and life management.
It’s also a place to keep your big plans, a place for self-awareness and self-discovery, and a place to keep your hopes and aspirations.
A collection is essentially a grouping of items that are meaningful to you under a single heading.
A bucket list of destinations to travel, a thanks journal, a list of books to read or podcasts to listen to, inspiring quotations, a workout routine, or hopes and desires are all examples of this.
Start with one. Have fun doing it and see where it leads you.
If you’re ready to level up your productivity, then follow the suggestion above from our experts. And start at bullet journal today!