Research says you are more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. But success requires more than just documentation. Bullet journals are a trend making its rounds on Instagram to help you break down your goals to lists and steps. The magic of the bullet journal is it's flexible instead of traditional calendar planners or school notebooks you design your bullet journal.
You are the expert of you! Who knows better how to inspire you to review your goals regularly? If you've never heard of it, the bullet journal is ideal for nontraditional business professionals, multi-taskers or anyone who wants to make the most of their time. It combines strategy with a focus on execution and tracking your progress. I'm still a digital girl, but this is an excellent tool if you are motivated by feeling a hard copy of your goals to check off.
What is a Bullet Journal?
A bullet journal is essentially a journal that you use to organize your to-do lists, as well as to keep other notes and a log of things that you've already done. You do this by using bulleted items, which is the origin of the name (makes sense right?). My favorite part of the bullet journal is it only requires a blank book so you can pick a size, color, and style that will help you remember to keep your goals in front of you.
Hold on Meredith, is this just a book of lists?
Well kind of, but it's also more organized and useful than a book of lists. You don't need to get a specially formatted notebook; any journal can become a bullet journal. I've personally found lined, or graphic paper works best. To decide the best book to get started, consider the components of a typical bullet journal and how you might go about setting one up for yourself.
How To Organize Your Bullet Journal
+ Daily Log and Key. The bulk of your bullet journal will consist of a daily log. Each day, you'll create a list of items, which will act as a to-do list as well as a place to keep your general notes and ideas you want to jot down.
You might be wondering how you make sense of your lists when you keep all this in one place. You use a key to distinguish different types of notes.
+ Instead of only bullets, you use crosses, circles, dots and other elements that you define. You also create a key for reference which will explain what each of these things means. This allows you to customize down to the details of how many bullets, where and what will inspire you.
While it's up to you precisely what kinds of items you want to include, you'll typically have a way to indicate: To-do tasks, Tasks already completed, Tasks that are deferred for later, and Notes to yourself. You might also include quotes and other items.
+ Tracker. Many people include a tracker for their daily logs, which will track habits like nights that you got more than 7 hours of sleep, and more. Remember it takes 66 days to make a habit!
+ Future Log. At the front of the journal will generally be a page for you to plan out your year. You use this similarly to the daily log, except here, you might place important key events, things to remember, or goals to achieve. Trackers for things like ounces of water or workouts completed can also go here.
+ Monthly and Weekly Logs. These operate just like the future log, except they break down your goal by month and week. Take your big goals and break them down into practical steps. Notice where you can manage your time better by prioritizing when you start and wrap up projects. Mindfulness tip: How do you feel when you see your goals on paper?
+ Module. A module is a page that you dedicate to what you want. These typically take the form of checklists but don't have to. You can make a list of potential clients you wish to contact, fresh gift ideas, recipes that you want to try, inspiring quotes, rules to live by, or anything else. Think of this area as your parking lot and a place to sort out what's top of mind for you.
It's up to you how you organize your modules. Some people prefer to go between their daily logs and turn to the next blank page to insert a new module. Others like to separate by starting their modules at the back of the book.
+ Index. Before you finish, go through and include an index and page numbers at the front of the journal. You'll be glad to have a quick reference to quickly and easily finding the items you want when you need to explain your ideas. Remember, your system only has to make sense for you!
The best part about the bullet journal is that it's uniquely yours. Design your bullet journal around how you want to use it and what you want to accomplish. Get creative! Add inspirational quotes, pictures, and positive thoughts to make your bullet journal attractive and encourage you to use it. There's no point in creating it just to put it aside, so commit to taking it with you daily and make a note to use it at least twice a day.
Still got questions? Drop me a note on LinkedIn, and I'm happy to help you in your quest to take your career and life to the next level.
Was this article helpful? For more exercises like this one, check out my book on success and finding your purpose in life. Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Moving Your Career Forward tells the story of how one woman found the time and energy to overcome the battle for advancement in corporate America.
Author Meredith Moore Crosby shares unwritten rules and the advice of her mentors to evolve your dream job into your dream life, taking control of your time and designing a set of values to lead you onward.