5 Reasons You Need a Bullet Journal

  •    Rob is a creative content strategist from Detroit. When he’s not developing integrated marketing campaigns, he’s probably watching Netflix.

Ask any entrepreneur what they want most and the odds are they'll say more time. Whether it's time to plan for the future, or simply time to sit back and relax, the daily pressures of running a business don't leave free time for anything. But what if there were a way to get some time back in your day? The answer may be found in the newest productivity trend sweeping the nation: Bullet Journals.

According to its official website, the Bullet Journal (or BuJo for short) was created by Brooklyn-based digital product designer Ryder Carroll to be the "analog system for the digital age." In other words, it's an old school way to keep yourself organized using simple pen and paper.

Based on a system that Carroll developed over many years, the Bullet Journal includes a key section, an index section, a future log and monthly and daily sections.

  • The key section explains the symbols you use to track your notes.
  • The index section is where you list all possible things you might be planning for, from birthday parties to work projects.
  • The future log is where you write tasks that are coming up in the future, anywhere from 6 to 12 months.
  • And the monthly and daily sections are where you keep short descriptions of your progress on each task.

While this might sound a little complicated, a quick Google search will reveal countless articles with tips and best practices on how best to use a Bullet Journal (there's even a handy video explaining how it works) so this article won't focus on that. Instead, it will help you figure out if you're the type of person who might benefit from a Bullet Journal. Read on to see if you suffer from any of these five productivity and planning issues, consider investing in your own Bullet Journal.

1. You're Not Good at Long-Term Planning

The Bullet Journal's future log section forces you to write down upcoming projects so you can't forget them. From there, you can use the monthly section to keep track of specific deadlines for any interim steps you need to complete. Finally, the daily section lets you track progress of your day so you can mark if a task is complete or needs to be carried over to the next day.

With this system, you break down long-term projects into manageable chunks and see in real time whether you're making progress.

2. You Don't Remember What You Just Did

Nothing is worse than working your butt off and having nothing to show for it. With the Bullet Journal, your daily tasks are organized and tracked so it's easy to see whether you've made progress or not.

Plus, because it's as simple as jotting down a quick note, tracking your daily tasks isn't time consuming. This daily practice can help you spot tasks that might otherwise slip between the cracks, as well as remind you of what you actually got done.

​3. You Have a Lot of Different Things to Plan

Because it's so flexible, a Bullet Journal can help you plan for a variety of different events. Whether it's a website redesign or a surprise Birthday Bash, everything is treated equally in a Bullet Journal. This is especially useful for small business owners, who are rarely able to separate their work and personal lives.

By keeping all of your potential events in one place, you can be sure that nothing goes unaccounted for and also prioritize them accordingly. Speaking of which...

4. You're Bad at Prioritizing

When prioritizing work, it's important to consider each task in terms of both its urgency and importance. Some things may be urgent and important, meaning you need to get them done right away or else. Filing your taxes is a good example. However, there are other tasks that are important, but not urgent.

For example, spending time with your family or planning a date night are both important things for your overall wellness, but don't need to be addressed immediately. This way of thinking comes from former President Dwight Eisenhower and is called the Eisenhower Decision Matrix.

One advantage of the Bullet Journal is that it forces you to write down everything you need to get done, regardless of priority. For those who have a hard time differentiating whether a task is urgent or important (or both), daily tracking can provide some interesting insights. If a task is being carried over day to day, that might be a good sign that it's neither and you can remove it from the list.

5. You Hate Technology

If you're the type of person that hates technology, or at least hates using a bunch of different apps to track their day, a Bullet Journal could be a good lo-fi approach that keeps you on task without requiring you to stare at another screen.

While there are countless organizational tools available on your computer or phone, the simple act of writing down each thing you're working on can be very powerful. Studies have shown that using a pen and paper improves memory, so bullet journaling is not only a way to stay organized but also could help you remember more of what you need to get done in the first place. There are also countless ways to personalize and decorate your Bullet Journal, which makes it appealing from an aesthetic perspective as well.

Whether you fall into one (or all) of these categories, a Bullet Journal may be the perfect way to boost your productivity and put your professional and personal life back on track.