Bullet Journal

I am a highly organised person, there is no doubt about that at all. Not only am I organised, but I like to get organised, and if people wanted me to I would be more than happy to help them become more organised too, from stripping down their wardrobe, to sorting out their inboxes and massive to do lists. I am a proponent on inbox zero and I get stressed out on behalf of people when I see their inboxes full of hundreds of emails. I know, I think I have a slight problem!

I own a copy of Getting Things Done and I generally read it about once a year. I learn new things each time and although I don’t follow it slavishly, I do find it helps to order my mind.

I have lost track of the number of different tools I have used to get and stay organised, from going completely electronic, to small Filofaxes to HUGE Filofaxes to multiple apps, multiple note books, to all sorts of things. I am a digital person, however I have recently reverted back to a paper diary. I do find that I like to think on paper.

The main reason for this, is as I work for ROH 3 days a week, plus I am self employed and I am trying to look after my health I found that 2 electronic diaries was just a recipe for disaster. It is far too easy in an electronic diary to keep adding things into to it – the day just keeps expanding. It is also quite difficult to get a single glance at the whole week and getting a good understanding of what is going on. Which means I could easily book a week of major travel on most days and not realise, this is not good for anyone’s health, let alone mine.

To get things done I need time where I am just sat at my desk and not running out to meetings all day. I like whole stretches of time to get things done in, the big, thinking, strategic and IMPORTANT things. It is far too easy to end up in a very reactive situation where I am just firefighting. I try to do this between meetings, but I do like big chunks of time to think.

So, now I use a paper diary and cross out days and write NO MEETINGS across them. As I can’t delete them I have to stick to it, unlike electronic diaries.

The other day I was reading a year of creative habits and she mentioned in passing that she uses the Bullet Journal system. Of course, I had to immediately investigate. It turns out this is a very interesting system! Up to now I have been using my morning pages journal (which I have recently stopped – I will write about this soon), creative writing journal, sketchbook, ROH notebook, to do notebook, diary, planning Filofax, and then a new one where I am attempting to monitor my spoons (Spoon theory is a way of understanding chronic illness).

This is a lot of notebooks, and of course I still use my faithful Evernote to capture online things. I do admit to have a stationery fetish, but even so this is slightly ridiculous. You can find details of how to use it here – lots of useful hints and tips and a great video too.

So, I have condensed everything into the one bullet journal, except my creative writing and the sketchbook – they are very different things.

I have also changed it slightly from what they said – my monthly calendar page is over three pages as I want to be able to comment on energy levels too. I have also added a daily habits checklist for the month as I can track how I am feeling from a health perspective.

Within a day of using it I already have a blog posts to write page and lists dedicated to each working relationship, which is what I would expect really.

I am interested in seeing how this works out and I will come back and write an update at a later stage.

Join the conversation


  1. Wow, it sounds like you have a lot of systems in place to keep you organized, Jen! I have been working on getting my inbox to 0, or at the very least, down to five newsletters/blogs that would feel more like “presents” than “must reads.” I, too, love to read an inspirational book on this subject at least once a year. Mine is The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. Thanks for sharing your process.

  2. thanks for the mention Jen! I can’t wait to see a follow up post about how you are liking the bullet system…I’ve tweaked it a bit too but I think that’s one of the best things about this system, it’s easy to change it to fit you. I also like that I don’t need any special notebook, I can use what I like and have already. I’m on my second notebook this year and often find myself referring back to my old one. I’d suggest leaving a few blank pages at the end for an index or summary of things you might need later.

  3. Thanks for visiting Sue.

    I use an RSS feeder rather than subscribing to blogs, then I can choose when I read them, if I want to rather than they come into my email and demand my attention!

  4. yes, it really is very flexible and I like that a lot! I use the index at the front quite a lot, so that I can easily reference where things are. I really do prefer it over the filofax system, not least because I don’t have the annoying rings in the middle!

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