Lately, I’ve been focusing a lot on productivity. I want to use the time available to me as productively as possible and have an overview of all my open tasks. I stumbled upon the term Bullet Journal and quickly realized that this was a system that could meet my requirements. Said, done, I started to do a Bullet Journal and was hooked. If you want to know what a Bullet Journal is and want to know more about the most important concepts behind it then you should read on!
The Bullet Journal is a system developed by Ryder Carroll. Interestingly, like me, he was born in Vienna. Although it is always associated with a notebook, it is actually a system. It is about focusing on the essentials. Characteristic is the regular reflection on whether a task is still worth your time and thus it supports a productive and meaningful life.
In practice, you use a notebook that you can design according to your personal requirements. There are no limits to your creativity. You can find very creative and innovative designs if you look around on the internet.
But it’s not necessary to be creative and invest hours in the design of your bullet journal. You can keep it very simple, like me, and still get all the benefits.
A core element of the Bullet Journal is the so-called “Rapid Logging”. Basically you briefly write relevant information in a list. Whether appointments, ideas or events, everything that is relevant to you should be written down in this way succinctly.
In order to make your Rapid Log clear and structured, there are some symbols in the original system that make this easier. Of course you can also use your own symbols. Since I use the original symbols for my Bullet Journal, I will introduce them briefly.
Tasks are indicated by a simple dot in front of the corresponding entry. When the task is done, you can mark it with an X.
Events are represented by an empty circle. In the original system, these are either entered as a reminder (for example, birthdays) or after they have occurred. I use events only as a reminder.
Good ideas, thoughts and similar information are marked with a – in front of the entry. You can collect information that you do not want to forget that way.
In addition, you can use 2 symbols to indicate the importance of some entries. An * in front of a task can be used to mark particularly important entries. A ! is used for very good ideas. I only use the ! in my Bullet Journal. But watch out: just mark REALLY important things. If too much is “important,” then in the end, nothing is important.
So much for the classic symbols of the Bullet Journal. Another important part of this method are the so-called collections. This is where the personalized part of your Bullet Journal really starts. With collections your imagination knows no bounds.
Basically collections collect associated information. Classic collections in the original system are the Index, Future Log, the Monthly Log and the Daily Log. The index is a table of contents and serves to find your entries faster. The Future Log is created for the whole year and contains relevant entries for the future. You can divide 4 pages of your journal into 3 sections each. That’s 12 sections, one for each month of the year.
The Monthly Log serves as a monthly overview and is created anew for each month. Usually, an entire page is used and a row is provided for each day of the month. That way you can see at a glance what your month looks like.
The Daily Log reflects a view of your day. For this you can simply claim as much space as you need with the above explained Rappid Logging. When the day is over, just write the date of the following day in your journal. Your days are thus written down one after the other. The next month will be started with a new monthly overview, followed again by the entries of your days.
For everything relevant to you, you can create your own collection. For example, I have collections for each of my projects, for the books I want to read, important quotes and much more.
Many creative people have shared their ideas with the world, and so there are some “classic” collections (you could almost call them standard collections) that have become established for the Bullet Journal. I myself use the following:
- My Year in Pixels
- Level 10 Life
- 100 Ideas…
A core concept of the Bullet Journal is the so-called migration. At regular intervals (for example, monthly) you go through your past entries and check if you have open tasks. For each unfinished task, you consider whether this task is still relevant to you.
If so, it will be migrated to another log. A > before the task that was not completed shows that it has been migrated to another suitable collection. I usually migrate tasks to the next week, or the next month. Occasionally, I also migrate some entries to my scheduled blog posts or my book collection.
The process of migration serves to focus on the essentials. Things that are no longer important or immaterial to you will be deleted. What remains are the really important tasks and deadlines. You should also focus your time on these.
I have no problems memorizing and finishing “big” tasks in my life. But with the small, seemingly unimportant task that is different. I postpone such appointments or tasks for a long time and sometimes do not even finish them.
My main motivation was therefore to record such tasks and to complete them in a timely manner. Also, I wanted to combine the information that I had distributed through various media (calendars, notebooks, mobile phone) in one place.
Often, throughout my day, I also had a spontaneous idea about a certain topic, which I wrote down in various places. Unfortunately, many of these notes have been lost over and over again. With my Bullet Journal I now have a place where I can collect all this information.
Do you also feel like starting a bullet journal or are you already having one? Let me know in the comments!
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