The first time a coworker showed me the Bullet Journal system, I was really hesitant.
How can such a manual, analog centered process be more efficient than buying a planner?
And it’s a question I get asked regularly as well. Even recently, there was an article on Buzzfeed about Bullet Journaling, and many people took to the comments to state things like:
“if these people spent nearly as much time doing the stuff on their list, as they did decorating their list, they’d be done with it by now”
And who knows, maybe there is some truth to that. But I have been exponentially more effective and efficient since switching from a traditional planner system to this one. I forget less. I do more. I always have what I need instead of finding myself saying ‘gosh, I know that little sticky note is somewhere in my bag’.
Do I spend time making my journal pretty? Yes, I do.
Not every page, and never to avoid doing something else I need to be doing.
Here are a few reasons it works for me:
- It can be what I need it to be. I’m not trapped by what was pre-defined for me on a page. If I need a TON of room to write on Tuesday, Tuesday has a ton of space. If I have no major tasks or appointments on Wednesday, Wednesday has a small amount of real estate. Need a brain dump? I can create a spot for that? Working out this week but don’t want to feel guilty for missing a week on vacation? I can include it on one week, but not on another.
- It’s an outlet. I can relax and color on a page while I unwind at night. It’s a way I am able to feel like a kid again by coloring, ‘stickering’, and overall decorating something that is mine.
- When something looks pretty, I look at it more. When I look at it more, I am more often reminded of what needs to be done. The more I am reminded to do something, I do it.
- I prefer pen to paper. As digital as I am (I worked in digital marketing for almost 10 years), there is something so rewarding to me about putting pen to paper. I feel like I am accomplishing more, getting more out of my head, and even retaining more when I know I need to remember something.
- It’s all-inclusive. I have my notes with my calendar with my brain dump with my list of projects with my go-to meals, and so on. I don’t have multiple places I need to search to find something.
- It’s easy to carry. It’s small so I can fit it in my purse or work bag so I know I always have a central place to capture things on the go.
- I don’t feel bad messing up. If I screw up on a page, I can turn the page and start over. I’m not stuck with whatever the page was originally intended for and won’t throw off the overall flow of my planner.
Honestly, I could come up with so many more but I want to go play with my journal now. 🙂
It may not be a system for everyone, and I know that. But I promise you, it’s worth a try before you rule it out if the only reason you are ruling it out is because you think it’s not an effective use of time. You may find yourself surprised, like I was.