Bullet Journaling

Get Organized–Get Things Done

One of my aims for this year was to become better organized to find a system.

And Heureka! Whoohoo! Happy Dance! I have found it.


From beginning:

I have a myriad of journals which I write for different purposes and with varying consistency. One for projects, for meetings, for messy ideas, for tidy ideas, for professional reflection, for MindMaps, for taking notes when reading et cetera et infinitum … However, most advice I found on organizing notes suggests to have it all in one place. I am using Evernote daily. They teamed up with Get Things Done and created a digital system that works

… well kind of sort of …

I do my thinking in handwriting, often on the white board in my office or in one of my journals; pacing up and down, listening to music, audio-books, running some 90s TV show in the background–you get the picture. Additionally aesthetics (as in αἴσθησις: aísthēsis) is one of the most important aspects for me to work successfully. So the texture of my notebook, the way my fountain pen runs over the paper, the colours of my Stabilo pens, the wide arm-movements drawing MindMaps on the whiteboard. All this is actually thinking.

Nevertheless, the thinking things needed some sorting.

The Solution? Bullet Journal.

My colleague @GU_SLS_Writing who runs our Writing Centre suggested to try out a Bullet Journal. The brief introductory video explains the system really well. It is indeed:

One journal to rule them all

If you are someone who enjoys the satisfaction of ticking things off a list, in its most simple form, using the bullet journal as a To Do List Diary, with monthly, weekly, daily tasks, and some collections for long term planning is great. However, you can do so much more! Here is my way of approaching the bullet journal:

First Step: Create an Index

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Left hand side: Cross references to other journals
Right hand side: Index Symbols for Bullet-points, Marks, Fills, Colours, and Highlights

No the bullet journal did not get rid of ALL my other journals but it significantly reduced the numbers.

Second Step: Monthly Plan

I created a monthly plan for 6 months, and then a monthly overview for the current month. You can check the Pinterest Board above for ideas on how to do it.

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Third Step: Go Wild!

You can create collections, To Do Lists for projects etc seriously have a look in Pinterest there are so many ideas (and yes I copied some of the styles, too). One blog about getting organized suggested to first write everything down, every single idea, project, piece of writing etc that is floating in your mind, then categorize, prioritize etc … So I set up a space in my Bullet Journal for Everything!

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I sorted the Everything things into various collections. The suggestion for regular tasks and ten minute tasks is really helpful, particularly when trying to establish routines.

Step 4: Tips

I found a variety for helpful tips online and I also added some notes to myself.

There are some Problems:

The bullet journal wouldn’t work in meetings as it would fill up too quickly and it would make the sorting and indexing very messy. My colleague suggested to simply transfer the action points from meetings into the journal.

While I am using it for project management, ‘thinking things through’ and MindMaps have no space in this journal. But the action points, deadlines, monthly, weekly, daily tasks and goals do fit in well. Therefore, the cross-referencing to other journals. So I am down to 4 journals now. One of which is a massive scrapbook I am using for MindMaps.