What is a bullet journal? It's the analog planner system made for the digital age, according to its creator Ryder Carroll. It's a system that you can use to organize your calendar, your tasks and your thoughts all in one place.
All you need to get started is a journal and a pen. At first, I balked at the idea of using an analog system. Why would I write things by hand if I can use the amazing functionality of Google Calendar? But I've found that using a bullet journal actually improves my productivity and focus — much much more than it ever did when I used an entirely digital organization system. This is precisely because my task list is on paper.
The best feature of the bullet journal is that it is an analog system. I personally enjoy taking time to plan because I can take a break from my computer screen. It's soothing to spend time with pen and paper after clacking away on a keyboard all day.
A bullet journal starts with four modules: the index, a future planning spread, monthly page and the daily log. The index helps you keep track of everything in your journal. The future planning helps you, well, plan the future. Your monthly page is for all your events and tasks for the current month. And your daily log features all your tasks and events for a particular day.
It'll take a little bit of time to set it up in the beginning, but once you get going, it'll feel as easy as typing in a task on Google. Writing down each task and event for the day on the page helps you mind focus on your goals. It can also help you eliminate unnecessary tasks. If you can't manage to complete a task from day to day to day, the process of re-writing it on the next day's log reminds you about it. If the task isn't crucial, you probably shouldn't be worrying too much about it. But if it the task is important, then maybe you should prioritize it instead.
With a bullet journal, you also have a lot of freedom creatively. You don't have to make your pages incredibly artistic, but you do have the freedom to create different color schemes. You can doodle almost anywhere you want. And you can even set aside pages for some personal journaling or fiction writing. The flexibility and fluidity of the system lets you personalize your journal to look and feel however you want, even if your mood changes from week to week or day to day. How many other planner systems let you do that? If you're looking for inspiration, search #bujo on Instagram or Pinterest. You'll be greeted with tons of different designs to inspire your creativity.
Another aspect of the bullet journal system that has me hooked is its flexibility. Unlike a printed planner, you can skip a day or a month in a bullet journal without feeling like you've wasted pages. Have a month where you don't really need a lot of planning? Don't worry about it. Those pages will be ready and waiting when your schedule picks up again. You also have complete freedom to change how you set up each month or each day at any time. You can even create a weekly spread if you need to plan out an entire week at once. It's all up to you.