About a month ago I found an article introducing the Bullet Journal, which is an old-school pen-and-paper method for organizing tasks. The original system put to the public three years ago was designed to be minimalist and quick, allowing one to track past tasks completed and progress toward goals, organize current schedules and priorities, and plan for future efforts or upcoming issues.
The Bullet Journal is essentially your brain in a notebook
…except it remembers everything perfectly.
It’s quick to start and manage, and flexible enough to adapt to any number of specialized uses.
The “Bullet Journal” concept has since grown into a large community of people who incorporate a wide variety of artistic designs and complex tools into their bullet Journals. Instagram, Facebook, and the bullet journal site linked above all have an array of photos and ideas ripe for the picking.
I started mine in a cheap notebook to get used to the idea, then upgraded to a long-term version.
I decided to give it a shot for a month before posting my thoughts on the process, along with an intro of my journal and an explanation of what I found worked well for me.
The system feeds off the satisfaction that comes from the visible reminder of task completion, the mental reward of checking off tangible lists, and the relief of jotting down notes to reduce the busyness in our scattered minds.
All those efforts go back to one concept:
- You can’t make progress when you’re not aware of your current circumstance.
- You can’t be aware of what you don’t monitor.
- You can’t monitor what you don’t track.
- You can’t track what you don’t measure.
Similar to the year-long word count spreadsheet (which I posted about at the start of the new year), my Bullet Journal gives me more insight and detail on what I’m doing that is or isn’t intentionally moving toward the goals and desires I say I want to achieve.
In the end, after a month, I looked back and discovered I had done the following:
- I watched 10 movies with the wife and/or the kids.
- I recorded and posted 8 songs with my wife or on my own (not counting instrumental jam sessions).
- I wrote 32,887 words and kept above the 1K / day goal I set for this year.
- I did 1,140 push-ups, 2,180 sit-ups, and 39 minutes of plank.
- I filled a gratitude log with daily entries and several bonus lines.
- I logged 24 of 31 intentional morning routines.
- 17 of 31 days writing 1K words or more.
- 25 of 31 days logging all food intake for weight loss
- 26 of 31 days walking 5K steps or more
- 17 of 27 days drinking >64 oz of water (added this a few days in)
- 10 of 21 days doing 100 push-ups (added a week and a half into January)
- 10 of 21 days doing 200 sit-ups
- 7 of 21 days doing strength workouts
- 7 of 21 days doing 5 minutes of plank
- and 10 of 12 days being intentionally outdoors for >15 minutes (not just walking to my car, etc)
Looking back over the journal entries, I saw trends and thoughts that needed repeated emphasis. I also saw places where I came up with a solution or plan, and found that it worked.
All in all, like many systems, gimmicks, and gadgets, it comes down to individual preference.
A Bullet Journal is great if it works for you, and if you keep it up.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and intend to continue using the system. In my next post, I’ll show some ways I adapted the journal to my interests and needs.