Bullet Journal: It’s Real And It Works {NaBloPoMo} Day 4

Social media’s exploded with bullet journaling. If you still don’t know what that is, check the #bulletjournal in Instagram  or google and try and not let your jaw drop. It’s a visual feast for sure. There are colors, and squiggles and designs and words and various fonts and it’s just incredibly fancy and you’ll want to own it right away.

However, spend more than 10 minutes gazing and what it can also do is to make you feel super intimidated. It’s normal, and you wouldn’t be alone.

My Toastmaster mentor mentioned it to me way back in August when he saw the various things I do and occasionally look like a mad woman while I do them. He had immense faith in me and always encourages me to NOT stop. Many ask me to stop.

Do one thing.

Stop getting distracted.

Focus on one, you’ll make progress.

etc. But he never ever suggested I should stop. Instead, he knew what it was, coz he was similar, with a bunch of careers on his resume and all the richer for it. Over summer, his mentor had introduced him to this wonderfully organized thing called the Bullet Journal.

So, he explained and I listened and realized I was doing about 75% of it in my own way. The 25% lack was that it wasn’t all organized in a book to refer back to and well, it so wasn’t pretty. I always wrote down my to-do list. Not digitally or on an app,

I always wrote down my to-do list. Not digitally or on an app, but on pen and pencil and on a blank side of an already typed scrap A4 sheet (am anal about recycling/reusing paper). I’ve on occasion stapled a bunch of days tasks together to allow for some continuity in work or when there was a monthly goal. I’ve had one separate log of my cycling miles over summer. ..and so it goes on.

I am trying to hard to think back on when this habit started and I can’t place it. Maybe when I started working about 13 years ago and I was new and 10 years older than my colleagues and I sure didn’t want to slip in any which way. I remember mentioning this to my kids, then in 7-8th grades and they have picked up on the habit wonderfully. Flipping between digital and paper, they record, check off and record progress and it has helped them remarkably well in school and to get things done on time.

What I particularly root and endorse is the fact that maintaining a Bullet Journal is NOT digital. I love the clear focused effort of the finger on pen/pencil and the scratch of it over the paper while it reinforces the word and the task associated with it into our heads and brains better. It does.

My Bullet Journal

Look, there is research, and then there is this article here  (scroll down to 6) and then this one on memory .

Watching the explosion of Bullet Journaling has made me regain hope for all of us. No, not being snobbishly gracious or condescending, but I do believe that this is a great hack to raise productivity and the end justifies the means, always. So, yes, as long as your productivity rises by even 50% by using this method for even one month, that’s 50% better you than what you were a month before.

Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t google for more than 15 minutes to get the hang of it.
  2. Read only 3 articles or hacks (excluding this) – Buzzfeed is simple. Lavs has one and here’s the original one. 
  3. Keep it Simple Silly – is THE most excellent, apt philosophy to adopt right now.
  4. Focus on the bigger picture of the WHY you are doing this.
  5. Start small, just do one month.
  6. There is NO right or wrong. The only wrong is when you are focusing on what color you want your squiggle to be than on completing the task it’s squiggling under.
  7. Stay consistent for a month to see results.
  8. It works for all attention levels and all domains and all sorts of people. Make it your own.
  9. It’s a productivity drill and hack. Nothing more. Keep it that way.
  10. Guard that journal like your life depended on it. (Coz there is no backup copy)

Here’s mine. Cute doggies no? 😉

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