Amp up your productivity with the Bullet Journal

Keeping a work diary can improve focus and patience, while strengthening your ability to set goals and plan ahead. However, for those who get overwhelmed by a blank page, that work diary might seem daunting. That’s why many coaches, productivity seekers, and professionals recommend using the Bullet Journal – a journaling technique with a minimal structure that encourages free flow of thoughts without overwhelming the user.

What is a Bullet Journal?

As its creator, Ryder Carroll, explains, the Bullet Journal, or BuJo, is a system that helps you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.

At work, it can help you capture and organize a large variety of information without using multiple software, and get the most important (not just urgent) things out of the way.

A blank notebook is best used for this task, so you can create “logs” or lists of ideas, notes, reminders, and appointments for the day, for the month, and for the future. While the day list lets you manage fine-grained scheduling, the future list helps you set long-term goals and incorporate them into your monthly and daily logs. It also helps you measure your progress. As you write daily logs, you can also fill in notes, ideas, thoughts, and doodles, making it a diary.

How does the Bullet Journal help you work better?

Though the concept of the Bullet Journal seems complex, in reality, it is very simple and leverages some basic human insights to boost productivity.

It clears your mind

A dozen things could be running through your mind at any given time, even while you are at work. With all these thoughts scrambling for space in your brain, you won’t be able to concentrate on the few things that matter right then. By gathering all your thoughts, trivial and important, out of the brain and onto the sheet of paper, behavioral neuroscientist Daniel Levitin suggests that your brain externalizes your memory or clears it out. This gives you room to think of new ideas and focus on tasks that need to get done.

It strikes a balance between deliberation and free thinking

Since your Bullet Journal offers space to both list out your to-dos and doodle to your heart’s content, it lets you mentally refresh by finding a single space, at least on paper, where your mind can balance focused work and free play. Those moments spent doodling or writing a quick thought help your brain reset to productivity mode.

It compels you to do more than write

By encouraging you to fill the pages with doodles, colors, and stickers, it lets creative oxygen enter your mind. This improves your ideating and problem-solving abilities. The blank pages of a Bullet Journal require you to make a system that works for yourself. Therefore, it trains your mind to develop an internal structuring system, getting rid of much of the mental panic that has become part of our work lives.

Most importantly, the method and the psychological benefits it offers translate to more informed decision-making at work and from a larger life-and-career point of view. Reasons compelling enough to get you started on Bullet Journaling, right?

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