Why A Bullet Journal Increases Productivity
In this day and age of being able to be more productive, why is it so hard?
We have so many tools that are supposed to make life easier – phones and computers and e-mail reminders….
But instead of being super productive, we spend time moving from one task to another, eternally busy, and never getting anything accomplished.
That is why the Bullet Journal can help you be more productive!
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Multitasking is not a real thing.
We have convinced ourselves that we can multitask, but the reality is that we’re really not doing any one task to the best of our abilities.
Our brains are simply not set up to pay attention to multiple things at once.
Heck, my brain jumps from one idea to the next so fast it even surprises me.
Now that’s not to say that you can’t talk on the phone and do dishes at the same time, but having a conversation and typing an e-mail at the same time is another matter entirely.
Our advanced brains work better when we are engaged in only one task, when our minds can focus on the one thing that needs our attention. The problem is that our minds have a hard time focusing when we have so many thoughts floating around in our brains.
In my house we call this “monkey mind”. It’s when our brain can’t settle down and focus because there are too many ideas trying to get our attention.
Believe me, monkey mind can be a perpetual state if you don’t learn how to have some control over it.
Have you already read What Is a Bullet Journal and Why do I need One?
Start by Writing Things Down
I will be the first to admit that I will write a note on any piece of paper that is handy. It can be a portion of mail, the back of a receipt or even a gum wrapper in my purse. I will make a note anywhere just to get it out of my brain.
You have to get all those tasks and distractions down on paper and off your mind. Think of your bullet journal as your second memory keeper. It takes the pressure off of your mind to remember every little thing, and it makes it possible for you to be more focused on the one thing that needs your attention.
Did you know that you don’t even have to complete a task to be able to stop focusing on it? Just writing the task in a safe place frees your mind to move onto other tasks. I guess that explains why the gum wrappers don’t work. Not a “safe place”.
The bonus of bullet journaling is that writing things down helps your brain recall the information faster. It’s definitely not the same as typing. When you write, your brain connects all those lines and swirls with memories, making it easier to recall.
The beauty of a bullet journal is it can take the place of all of your methods of “keeping track of things”. You can keep your calendar, your grocery list, your upcoming projects, really, you can keep anything organized in a bullet journal.
And if you add an envelope to the back of it you can put your gum wrappers and receipts in it so that they have a safe place to be stored!
Bullet Journal Pages to Be More Productive
When I first started using a bullet journal I had all the things in it. Decorations, every tracker I could find, and very little of the things that I really needed.
This caused me to stop using the bullet journal. I am a real life bullet journal flunkie.
But when I picked up a planner to try again I realized that it was missing key components that I wanted to make it work better. And then I started the bullet journal process again.
Now I know which pages work the best for me. And I know that I need lots of room for notes. I really like to just jot down notes so I leave plenty of blank areas in my journal’s for the random thoughts that I just have to get down on paper.
And, as I mentioned before, I glue an envelope in the back of my journal to tuck notes into. Well it also has some fortunes in it, but it’s a great place to keep them!
Here are some of my favorite pages to use. By no means should you copy my bullet journal, you should use the pages that are going to make you more productive. Sometimes theses will change and the beauty of the bullet journal is that you can change it to match.
The monthly spread helps me lay out all the important dates that are coming up and get them slotted into the calendar. From there it’s easy to see where to plug in smaller goals and have the time and energy to achieve them.
Those smaller goals easily fit into weekly and daily chunks, and writing them down is the first step in completing them!
I like to sit down each week and spend some time laying out the goals for the week, and then breaking them down by day. Sometimes it reads a bit like a task list but each step is a means to an end. Each step is leading me closer to my monthly goal, which is leading me closer to my yearly goal. Which is…..you get the idea.
Wanna be productive? Start by getting those goals down on paper and then move on to achieving them.
This helps me to be intentional about how I spend my time.
I think that some people believe a schedule is binding and doesn’t leave them room to be creative. For me, getting everything down onto a schedule frees up time for me to be more creative. I add creative projects to my calendar and make time to do them because they are important. This way I’m not waiting for some magic time to appear so that I can create.
By scheduling in my creative time I let my mind know that it’s important, but I also know that it fits in with all the other demands on my time.
The daily goals section is where I put in my big goals for the day. There are also tasks and to do lists but I try to limit my daily goals to something I feel is achievable each day. This can be just one step in a project or one section of business. It can be as small as making sure that I have all the gear that I need for an upcoming project, then I can check it off and move on to the next task.
I find that it’s much easier to reach my daily goals if I am smart about setting them. If I don’t make the goals too big to be achievable, but big enough to need my attention.
Remember, the goals are different than the to do list. The to do list is important but it consists more of chores and errands than goals.
Trackers are great for task management. You can have a basic tracker for each daily activity or you can have trackers for certain projects and goals. These can be long term or daily. It all depends on what you’re tracking.
I like to keep my trackers on one page. I have found that if I spread them out all over my bullet journal I don’t really use them. If I keep them limited to one page it makes it much easier for me to check off all those little boxes.
Right now I really only use a water tracker and a fitness tracker. The water tracker is just a fun one to check boxes on. The fitness tracker reminds me to schedule time to move every day, even when it’s raining.
Now this might not be practical for some big scary goals. For those goals I make a poster and hang it on my wall! I need those front and center in my workspace, not in my bullet journal.
You can set up your goals and trackers however works best for you. That’s the point of the whole system, making it work for you. If it doesn’t fit your life, you won’t use it and then you’ve defeated the purpose of using a bullet journal anyway.
And yes, I know this from experience!
Truthfully, you will likely switch up the way you use your planners and trackers at different times. That’s another one of the fun things about the bullet journal. You can change it up – everyday, every week, every month.
Things you might include to make your Bullet Journal be more Productive
- Monthly Overview
- Weekly Overview
- Daily Overview
- Task List
- Habit Trackers
- Gratitude Journal
- Spending Log
- Meal Planning
- Cleaning Log/Routine
- Mood Tracker
- Sleep Tracker
- Workout Tracker
- Meal Planning
- Savings Log
- Gratitude Log
- Inspirational Quotes and Thoughts
- Doodles and Drawings
Be Sure to Make Your Bullet Journal Part of Your Routine
A routine will make you be more productive if you let it. A bullet journal is a great way to be more productive, and making it part of your routine is the best way to use it.
As with any system, this only works if you use it!
Your journal doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to look organized. It only has to work for you and your schedule. To make your bullet journal be more productive you have to have a system to use it.
Plan a few minutes each day to update your logs and your journal. What needs to be added, moved and checked off? Keep a few sticky notes on hand that you can relocate from place to place if that helps keep you organized.
Whatever works for you, make a plan and use it.
Keep it Simple (Stupid – the KISS Method)
There’s no need to put every tracker, log and plan that you can find into your bullet journal. Your bullet journal should contain the organizational tools in it that will make your life easier. It’s as simple as that. Start off taking stock of the items that you’re already using and add from there. You’ll get a feel for it once you start using it.
I promise you, my bullet journal would be a disaster for anyone else. I doubt if most people would even be able to follow it, but the system works for me. And really, that’s the whole point!
If you’re a creative type then by all means decorate that baby to your hearts desire. My bullet journal contains mostly checklists, arrows, and print. I don’t spend time decorating, but sometimes I doodle in my journal. I mean, if it’s open while I’m on a phone call it’s going to get some smiley faces in it.
Stick With It
You may have to set a goal to stick with it for a certain period of time. Just like any new habit, using a bullet journal may take some effort. It helps to schedule some time to work in your journal – either each day or once a week.
I update mine at the end of the day. Well, most days. It only takes a few minutes to scan over what I’ve done for the day and plan for the next day. It’s become part of my evening routine now so that makes it a lot easier.
Have you seen these other Journal Hacks yet?
How do you use your bullet journal to be more productive? Share it with us in the comments below and be sure to save the pin for later!