This is article is part of The 30-Day Challenge series. See all articles here.
A bullet journal is a simple notebook – that can change your life. If you don’t know what a bullet journal is and if you’re curious about what you can do with one, this article might be useful for you.
What is a bullet journal?
Let’s start with this one first. A bullet journal is a type of notebook that has dotted pages (hence the name I assume). Since the bullet journal is blank, you can personalize it and use it for whatever reason you like.
Why should you use a bullet journal?
I think that the main reason why using a bullet journal is a good idea is that it helps you become more intentional. The fact that it is fully customizable already prompts you to think about what you want to do with it. That is totally up to you and it’s part of the fun.
You can use it as a planner, a diary or both. You can use it to track or plan anything and this helps you be more intentional with your thoughts and time. It might also encourage reflection and motivate you.
The bullet journal is a great tool to plan your days, year or life. It’s the perfect notebook to scribble, make plans, track progress and write down whatever you are thinking about.
How can you use a bullet journal?
As I said before, you can use it as a planner, a diary or both. You can use your bullet journal for whatever you want and this will influence how you actually use those pages.
You can use it to make plans for 2020, track your goals and your habits and see how much progress you are making.
You can use it to write about your day and your thoughts. You can use it to reflect on what you are grateful for today or what is your intention for tomorrow.
You can use for work: to keep track of projects, write down ideas and make plans.
Different people use their bullet journals differently and I absolutely love that. Here are some things that people use their bullet journal from:
- goals and habit tracking
- lists of books they are reading and want to read
- lists of movies or TV shows they are watching and plan to watch
- blogging and social media analytics
- business analytics and plans
- for any personal activities
- monthly calendar and plans
- random ideas
These are just a few examples, but you can use a bullet journal for whatever you are interested in. Whatever you want to record and measure works well!
Some people use their bullet journals also to express their creativity and abilities. They draw beautiful pictures or write quotes in beautiful styles. Other use stickers, washi tape and colored markers to make their pages interesting.
But if you are not good at drawing or calligraphy, don’t worry. Some people use their bullet journals in a very minimalist, simple style. I do that too because I’m not that talented at making mine very pretty and I am more interested in its practical use. Even so, making a simple design with glittery pens still feels great sometimes!
You can also use a bullet journal to write down lists or make tables – and because the pages are dotted this is so easy and fun to do!
How I use my bullet journal
I think I bought my first bullet journal some time in 2018. I’ve used 2 so far and I experimented a bit with them. I wasn’t always happy with my pages or how I planned them, but this was the only way for me to try and see what I liked.
While I had periods of time where I used one daily or did not use one for months, I wanted to start again in 2020. So I got a new one and started planning how to use it. I kept this one very simple and I only worked on a few pages so far. As the year goes by, I think I’ll add more pages based on what project I’m working on or what I need to keep track of.
I’ll share how I designed my pages and what I use them for. I hope this will give you an idea of what you can do with a bullet journal. Keep in mind that I took the pictures after I designed the pages, but they are not filled in yet because I do this gradually. And I wanted to show just how I organize it, not every thing I write in mine.
I always use 4 pages as an overview of the entire year. I divide the pages into sections for each month. I use these pages to record the most exciting or notable events of the year. I either mark them here before they happen or after they do – depending on the situation. I love this section because it’s great to see what you have planned in a glance.
Goals for this year
Then I use 1-2 pages to write down my main goals for the year. I simply make a list where I write down a few clear goals I want to work on over the next 12 months.
I usually add a few goals at the beginning of January and I regularly check the list to remind myself what I want to work on. As the year goes on, I may give up on some goals (if I am no longer interested in them or if they are not achievable or take too much time). I usually do not give up on these goals, but it may happen. Sometimes I add new goals to focus on as well. But I think it is a good idea to keep mainly the same goals (if possible).
Books I have read
I also keep a list of the books I read throughout the year. I reserve a few pages for this and I simply write down each title of the books I’ve already finished reading. This helps me see how much I read in a year and what types of books I read the most. It’s great if you want to become more intentional with your reading.
I also keep track of analytics related to my blog, social media channels and anything else that interests me throughout the year. I check these numbers once a month and write them down here.
What I usually measure are:
- number of website users
- social media numbers
- email subscribers
- other numbers I am interested in
I like to record analytics once a month. Doing this often helps me see what I am making progress on, what I need to work more on and how fast I’m getting closer to reaching my goals. And it’s great to see all the growth at the end of the year!
However, even though I keep track of several numbers, they are not all equally important all the time. I care more about some than about others and this may also change thorough the year depending on my goals and projects.
I use just one page for monthly goals – one for each month. This way, I also make sure that I only set a few goals so I prioritize the ones that matter the most and focus on those only. At the beginning of each month, I sit down and think about a few goals that I want to achieve that month. At the end of the month or when I reach one goal, I simply circle the ones that I already achieved. I really like that this helps me see how my month is going just with a glance.
I use a monthly habit tracker and I put this on the page next to my monthly goals. This way, once I set a monthly goal, I can also add the habit that I need for that goal in my habit tracker.
I like to use a simple table for this where I write the habits I want to keep or develop and I add the dates for the month. Whenever I do one activity that is on the list, I can simply mark this with an “x” below the date. I usually cross this out at the end of the day or the next day to make it easier and less time-consuming.
While I also add habits that are not daily, I think this habit tracker is great for activities you want to do daily or very often. If you want to do something once or twice a month you don’t need to add that the habit tracker (but you can if you want to).
The habit tracker is one of my favourite pages in the bullet journal. It helps me see if I am consistent or not or if I postpone some activity a lot – which shows me I need to make time for it soon.
I sometimes add other pages to my bullet journal too. I won’t show them here because they are either not finished or a bit personal. But I’ll mention a few that I am using or have used in the past:
- a list of the values I care about the most
- a list of life goals
- article ideas
- ideas for social media posts
- to do lists
As the year goes by, I think I will add more pages to my bullet journal – depending on what I want to focus on.
Should you use a bullet journal?
That’s totally up to you. If you have certain goals for 2020 and you want to keep track of them, use a bullet journal. It’s also a good idea to use one if you want to be more intentional with your time, build better habits, track your progress, reflect on your life and plans, channel your creativity.
If you want to use a bullet journal, do this in your own way. Design your own pages, track whatever you care about and experiment to see what works best for you. The idea is to use one if it’s something that you enjoy and that you find valuable. It’s not meant to be a chore and it’s not meant to be perfect either.
You can also use any type of notebook for this, but I would recommend a bullet journal because it is more customizable because of its design. Here’s an affiliate link for the bullet journal I use – bullet journal.
Do you use a bullet journal? What do you use it for?
This article is part of The 30-Day Challenge series where I’ll share an article every day. I will mainly focus on goals, success and habits and I hope this series will help you have a higher chance of achieving your meaningful goals in 2020!