Bullet Journal® (or BuJo® for short) was created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer living in the US. It’s a fully customisable, analog organisation system.
It’s basically a diary, a to-do list, sketchbook and notebook all-in-one. I’ve used the system now for nearly 6 months and thought it worthwhile sharing with anyone who manages projects and a multitude of tasks in their lives.
“The analog system for the digital age”
The system is based on a simple ‘language’ called Rapid Logging and consists of four components: topics, page numbers, short sentences, and bullets. A good way to look at the Bullet Journal is as a framework. This framework consists of modules. Modules are methods designed to help collect and organise specific kinds of entries. The power of the Bullet Journal is that you can mix and match these modules to best suit your needs. The five core modules consist of: The Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, Daily Log and Collections. It’s really easy to do, but incredibly difficult to explain! So I suggest watching this short video produced by the creator Ryder, before continuing to read this article and exploring the subject more.
Having been an account manager and progressed through the ‘ranks’ in my 20+ years in marketing departments and in agencies, I know, through hands-on experience, that it’s a role that demands keeping at least a couple of dozen plates spinning, while also being super-organised, meeting deadlines and making everyone happy! And that’s all before your morning coffee!
The Bullet Journal is a wonderful asset for anyone who needs to bring a greater degree of analog organisation into their lives. While online calendars, project management software and gadgets are essential tools nowadays for the job, many of us still prefer a pen and paper-based system, and while not exclusive, can indeed enhance productivity and efficiency.
I think it also helps restore some work/life balance as you can easily use the system for your work and personal goals and tasks.
The guys at bulletjournal.com were keen to investigate how many project managers used bullet journaling (or a version of it) and this report & survey provides statistical proof of the Bullet Journal’s ability to significantly improve task management for professionals whose jobs depend on it.
The system is great for account managers because…
- It helps you handle multiple clients/projects and deal with daily, weekly and longer planning requirements all in one place
- Lets you retain and log ideas (and helps you find them again easily!)
- Provides space for note-taking, mind-mapping and ‘sketches’
- Helps you produce content plans and project checklists (using ‘Collections’)
- Supports SMART goal setting, monitoring and completion
- Enables you to improve efficiency and productivity
- Gives you a creative outlet! (if that’s want you want)
A bullet journal is generally great for…
- People who have LOTS of to-do lists floating around
- People who like pen and paper to-do lists or task management
- People who are into habit tracking
- People who like stationery, journaling, scrapbooking, beautiful pens, etc.
- People who really love planners
- People who want to really love planners, or who want to be more organised
- people who work with several ‘paper-based’ books (diary, notebook, sketchbook) and want just one!
Although I’ve been using my ‘own version’ of bullet journaling for years, this simple set of rules created by Ryder’s system, refined and improved my existing method significantly. I don’t use the system exclusively, but instead combine it with BaseCamp, G-Suite and SmartSheets to ensure I get things done. But, I think it’s important for people to understand that bullet journaling isn’t for everyone and if you want to keep things really simple you can. It doesn’t have to look good (unless that’s your thing!) as long as it’s functional and not too time consuming. You do not have to be creative , but if you are, your bullet journal could become your creative outlet and a work of art in itself. I suppose the key is not to become too obsessed by the visual aspect of it, otherwise you’ll end up putting more effort into the design of it rather than planning your days, weeks and months.
If you want to learn more about the ever expanding world of bullet journaling, then just use #bulletjournal to search in Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram to find lots of inspiring uses for this simple but clever analog system.