How to use a bullet journal to boost your productivity

With our heavy workload, it seems to be getting more difficult to successfully organize our lives—to keep track of everything we currently have to accomplish and to plan the things we want to do in the future. This is where mastering the bullet journal can be useful. You might have bought a journal to record your thoughts and ideas or a planner to keep track of everything. However, you might have used online project management tools like Asana or Trello or have Post-It notes on your desk. The problem is that we often decide what we want to achieve and make a commitment to do it, but then life gets in the way and our enthusiasm and dedication wanes.

How to use a bullet journal to boost your productivity

In this article, the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • What is a Bullet Journal?
  • Steps to take in setting up a bullet journal?
  • How can you effectively use a bullet journal to boost your productivity?

What is a Bullet Journal?

Ryder Carroll developed a technique or approach called a bullet journal that enables you to arrange your life however you feel fit and according to your requirements. It functions essentially the same as an agenda or planner would, but it is incredibly flexible and completely configurable, allowing you to add or remove anything that isn’t working for you. According to Ryder Carroll, a bullet journal can keep track of the past, plan the present, and create the future with a bullet journal. Ryder Carroll is an author and digital product designer residing in Brooklyn, New York. He developed the Bullet Journal method after being pushed to find alternate ways to be productive and focused after receiving a diagnosis of learning difficulties early in life.

Steps to take in setting up a bullet journal?

The following are the steps to take in setting up a bullet journal:

  • The key
  • Index
  • The Future Log
  • Monthly Log
  • The Daily/Weekly Log
  • collections

The key

You should have a key near the front or back of your bullet journal to keep track of the meaning of each symbol. The page you will use as a reference for adding tasks or other information into your bullet journal is the crucial factor. Although, most popular symbols are a bullet point for tasks, a cross for tasks that have been finished, an arrow for tasks that have been migrated, a line for tasks that have been canceled, and a triangle for appointments. To make it suitable and tailored to your needs, you can also add more symbols. For example, I use a dot for notes and a square for school.


All of your plans and collections should be arranged here so that you can refer back to the precise page number. The list is down from the top of the page. September, for instance, might be on Page 6. Just include in your index the items that are significant to you and that you wish to remember. Plans for each month, long-term objectives, weekly timetables, a gratitude journal, motivational quotes, and other items will all be included in my index.

The Future Log

Your long-term priorities and distant commitments, such as upcoming medical appointments, significant project deadlines, etc., should be recorded in a future log. You need a page where you can keep track of everything that will happen in the future and that you will include in the current month whenever you are building up a new one, since the Bullet Journal method only allows you to write chores and set up one month—or week—at a time.

Essentially, this is how you use bullet points to list your priorities, obligations, and events for the upcoming months. It may be six or twelve months from now. Next, decide how many things to list each month. If you want to prevent getting overwhelmed, try to keep it at ten.

Monthly Log

A monthly log functions similarly to a conventional calendar, enabling a broader and more comprehensive overview of the month and its most crucial duties. It is also a wonderful place to list your present priorities, upcoming activities, and scheduled appointments. Simplicity is the goal here. Some folks will include the date and day for each day of the month down the left hand side of the page. Others will design boxes that must be filled out and checked off each day. Add the real event, assignment, or project after you’ve chosen whatever option works best for you. Instead of beginning the following month at the beginning of the current one, the goal is to do so at its conclusion. You can edit and add to it as the month goes on.

The Daily/Weekly Log

All of the activities and occasions indicated under the day’s date can be included in your day. Many people find the bullet journal to be interesting in this situation because you can use the rapid logging technique and the symbols (from the key). A simple X is used to mark off jobs as completed. The tasks, events, notes, deadlines, etc. will be written here and each will be tagged with the appropriate symbol from the key page. You’ll put everything on your countless disorganized to-do lists here, and as the day or week progresses, you’ll check things off as you complete them.


Pages used to keep track of items, compile lists, or produce art are called collections. Master to-do lists, habit trackers, expense trackers, and fitness trackers are helpful page ideas that can help you become more organized.

How can you effectively use a bullet journal to boost your productivity?

The following are ways you can effectively use a bullet journal to boost your productivity

  • Clearly define your goals.
  • Keep Things Simple.
  • Customize it to your needs.
  • Review Quarterly
  • Plan and prepare ahead of time.
  • Set up Your Layouts
  • Quit things that are not working and try out new things.
  • Start with a single collection.
  • Create a habit tracker.
  • Make a Habit
  • Don’t Compare
  • Try not to overdo it.
  • Don’t try to be a perfectionist. Give it some time.
  • Include exciting activities as well.

Clearly define your goals.

Clearly define your goals for utilizing the bullet journal. The journal’s primary goal is to boost productivity, but is that really why you use it? Is it to compile all of your thoughts, notes, and tasks in one area? Do you wish to combine your personal and professional objectives to monitor your development? Do you wish to live a more mindful day? Do you have a better memory? Knowing what drives you will increase your chances of making something last over time.

Keep Things Simple.

Many people begin with a basic pen or pencil to get started, while some choose to make a small investment and purchase supplies like washi tape, artist pens, midliners, and fineliners. The next step after getting your notebook is to number each page in your bullet journal. Follow your initial instincts regarding what is convenient.

Customize it to your needs.

Make sure you understand why you are using the bullet journal and adjust it as necessary to achieve your goals. Additionally, You can reserve room by leaving blank pages for things like a vision board or bucket list if you wish to keep them in one spot. You can also keep track of certain habits, such as how many hours you sleep each night or how often you exercise. The planner might cost as much or as little as you choose. To fit your aesthetic, you can keep it straightforward or be a little more inventive by using colored gel pens, highlighters, or washi tape.

Review Quarterly.

We always create 90-day targets and often review them when I coach private clients. One of the keys in this situation is that the goal must remain constant, but the way to get there may change. This also applies to your bullet journal. Every three months, take a seat and evaluate what’s going well. What do you enjoy doing, and what doesn’t work so well? Consider how you might enhance the positive aspects of your bullet journal while minimizing the negative ones to maintain interest.

Plan and prepare ahead of time.

Like everything else, planning ahead will save you time in the long run and reduce the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed, especially when you are first starting out. Preparate in advance your weekly or daily spreads (I personally do my weekly journal on Sunday night). The following week will be crystal clear to you, but there will still be time for additions. Click here to read on ways you can manage your time

Set up Your Layouts

The two primary layouts are those that practically everyone will employ. These are the monthly spreads, which provide you with a detailed picture of the upcoming month. Frequently, each day is displayed in large blocks close to one another, like a calendar. As time goes on, you can decide to draw and color-theme these months. The weekly spread is the next one, in which you outline your week on two pages and fill it out like a diary. Even while you might feel more at ease with horizontal layouts, it can be interesting to try out a vertical listing of each day of the month. What you are documenting is crucial. Prioritize substance over fashion.

Quit things that are not working and try out new things.

You might begin by applying the standard Ryder Carroll approach or start by imitating one of your pals. Finding a style that suits you personally is crucial in this situation. If nothing seems to be working, stop and look for something that works. This might evolve into a combination of conventional planning and more innovative collections and trackers.

Start with a single collection.

The monthly, weekly, habit tracker, and daily spreads are the foundation of future planning and life management in the bullet journal because, at its core, it is a productivity method. It serves as a home for your dreams and goals as well as a location to house your major ideas, self-discovery, and self-awareness. A collection is just a grouping of items under a single category that are significant to you. This could be a wish list of destinations to visit, a gratitude journal, a reading or listening list, a collection of motivational quotes, an exercise routine, or a list of objectives and aspirations. Enjoy it and move forward from there.

Create a habit tracker.

A habit tracker can motivate you to accomplish certain goals since it forces you to be honest with yourself. Many people who utilize bullet journals claim improved mental and physical health as a result of tracking. Whatever is important to you right now may be tracked. List all the behaviors you want to monitor on the left side of a spread. This might be connected to things like meditation, journaling, blogging, running, or sleep. List the months’ days 1-3 in alphabetical order at the top. Then, for each day, against each behavior, indicate with a different color if you “executed” that habit. You can track your progress in relation to the behaviors you wanted to develop by the end of the month.If you’ve missed a few, consider how you can do better next month.

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Make a Habit

Make a commitment to working on your journal for a set period of time each day to prevent the immediate enthusiasm from fading after a week or so. You’ll quickly grow bored if the jobs you’ve submitted haven’t been marked as finished or if your collections aren’t updated frequently. Setting up your weekly pages ahead of time can help you stay on top of things. You will establish your own unique rhythm that will aid in better time management if you make updating your bullet journal a daily ritual and enjoy the process.

Don’t Compare

Because there are so many beautiful pictures of other people’s notebooks on Instagram and Pinterest, it’s crucial to keep in mind that your journal is particular to you. Don’t compare yourself to others; you’ll find your own style as you go. Your motivation may wane, and you might start emulating other people’s behavior. Remembering your initial motivation for wanting a bullet journal is crucial. If the goal is to improve your ability to plan, then as long as it works for you, that’s all that matters. Procrastinating and seeing other planners’ will prevent you from simply starting.

Try not to overdo it.

Start off modestly and expand from there. Learn what works for you as you use your bullet journal gradually. You can entirely give up on the bullet journal if you overwhelm yourself in the beginning with numerous collections, daily trackers, and fully drawn vision boards.

Don’t try to be a perfectionist, give it some time.

Give yourself a whole month if you’re not used to utilizing a calendar or notebook to settle in. Don’t worry about your creative skills. Every time, functionality should come before appearances. You can just use a pencil or erasable ink if you’re concerned about making mistakes at first.

Include exciting activities as well.

Use the bullet journal strategically to include both work and home life to stay inspired and motivated. The daily, weekly, and monthly work plans will be balanced out by adding items like dreams, memories, ambitions, and motivations. Bullet journal’s ability to capture your entire life and provide you with memorable moments and accomplishments to reflect on is one of its many wonderful features.


Do you have an unfilled notepad lying around your home? If so, start immediately and convert it into a productivity machine. If you’re someone like me, they’ll make you a thousand times more productive than your phone or your laptop. Though some bullet journals can have vibrant colors, attractive layouts, and exquisite illustrations, all you really need is to start a bullet journal—which only requires a pen and an empty notebook. Once you start using the bullet journal, you’ll see how effective and useful it can be. You should make journaling a habit because it has so many positive benefits in your life.

That is all for this article, where the answers to the following question have been discussed:

  • What is a Bullet Journal?
  • Steps to take in setting up a Bullet Journal
  • How can you Effectively use a Bullet Journal to boost your productivity?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!