Two Months with the Bullet Journal: A Game-Changer in Personal Productivity

Two months working with bullet journal method. Thoughts and evolution of my personal organizational tool.

This is my first blog post in english (please, be mercyful for my mistakes). I decided to do this since I wish to present this topic to a broader audience as a test, then in a few days I’ll post as well an italian translation of this writing. After a period of study, two months ago I embarked on a journey with the Bullet Journal (BuJo) method, a decision that is helping transforming my approach to personal and professional organization. The BuJo method, developed by Ryder Carroll, is a customizable organization system that combines a diary, to-do list, and journal into one. Since I’m studying method and concept of prductivity since a few years, I adapted my BuJo integrating Cal Newport’s Time Blocking method, to enhance productivity and focus. Here’s a deep dive into my experience, the setup, and the impact it has had on my life.

The hardware: tools and notebooks.

Let’s talk first about the hardware. No smartphone or computer here, just a simple Moleskine Classic Dotted Notebook, a pencil, an eraser and a 4-color BIC pen. it may sound silly in 2024 but physical hardware is an important part of the method as writing, erasing and report is essential to reflect on tasks and work, to re-arrange thoughts and be effective, acting with awareness. There are apps for BuJo but I’ll not cover those in this post, as I didn’t have any experience with it myself.

The Basic Setup: Future Log, Monthly Log, and Daily Log

At the core of my Bullet Journal are the Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, and Daily Log. These components allow me to capture tasks, events, and notes with ease.

  • Index: as all the pages of the BuJo are numbered, index allow to keep trace of every collection so that every part of the BuJo is easily in reach.
  • Future Log: This is where I jot down events, goals, and tasks for the upcoming months. It’s a broad overview that helps me keep an eye on the future, ensuring that I’m aligning my daily actions with long-term objectives.
  • Monthly Log: At the start of each month, I create a Monthly Log. This includes a calendar and a task list for the month. It helps me break down my Future Log into manageable, monthly chunks, providing clarity and focus.
  • Daily Log: The Daily Log is the heart of my BuJo. Each day, I list tasks, appointments, and notes. It’s a dynamic space that adapts to my daily needs, allowing me to capture and organize my day at a granular level.

Integrating the Weekly Log with Cal Newport’s Time Blocking

And now a twist compared to the basic setup. As I am following Cal Newport’s inspirations for a while, I struggled to use his Time Block method. So, integrating a Weekly Log inspired by Cal’s work took my productivity to new heights. Every Sunday, I sketch out my week, allocating blocks of time to specific appointments already blocked activities, tasks, and goals. This not only ensures dedicated time for work, personal, and political activities but also enhances my focus and efficiency. The visual representation of my week helps me balance various aspects of my life, ensuring that I’m not overcommitting in one area at the expense of others.

Color-Coding for Clarity: Work, Personal, Politics

To further organize my notes and tasks, I use a 4-color Bic pen to divide them into three categories: work (black), personal (blue), and politics (green). I keep red for significant and special notes where I want to focus attention and priorities. This color-coding system allows me to quickly scan my logs and identify the nature of each entry. It adds an additional layer of organization, making my Bullet Journal not just a productivity tool, but a colorful and visually appealing record of my life and thoughts.

The Importance of Reflections and Review

An essential aspect of my Bullet Journal method is the regular reflection and review process. At the end of each day, week, and month, I take time to review my logs. This practice helps me assess my progress towards my goals, understand what worked and what didn’t, and adjust my plans accordingly. Reflection ensures that I am not just going through the motions but actively learning and evolving my approach to productivity and personal growth.

Looking Forward: Simplicity and Refinement

As I look ahead, my goal is to continue refining my Bullet Journal method while keeping it simple. The beauty of the BuJo method lies in its flexibility and adaptability. I plan to experiment with new techniques and strategies to enhance my productivity and organization. However, the core of my approach will remain grounded in simplicity. The Bullet Journal has not just helped me manage my tasks and time better; it has changed the way I think about productivity and personal development.

In conclusion, these two months with the Bullet Journal method have been transformative. It has taught me the power of organization, reflection, and intentional living. As I move forward, I’ll see how further refinements will enhance my journey; I know it won’t be easy to be consistent and regular but so far so good. The BuJo method by itself is powerful but personally I found other readings and suggestion very useful as well, that’s why Cal Newport methods and ideas are taking flesh in my personal life since some years and find a good proving ground on my Bullet Journal and I suggest everybody not to stick on a simple method but to study and reflect further.