Similar to a lot of people I’ve experimented with many planners in the past all in the pursuit of productivity! The Bullet journal is the planner I’ve been using for the past few years, and in this post I will share tips on how I use the journal to plan a gratitude filled day and a manageable to do list.
But first, what is a Bullet Journal?
The bullet journal is a planner system created by Ryder Carrol. It is a blank journal that combines different elements such as an index, daily to do list and a future log. What I love about the bullet journal is its flexibility. It helps to keep a record of every thing and can serve as a task manager, journal or notebook. You can read more about it on the website here.
How I currently use my Bullet Journal
Over the years, the way I write my to do list has changed according to my needs. I developed the format I’ll be explaining in this post during my final year of university because I needed to take pro-active steps to take care of my mental health. Creating a manageable to do list and planning my day in a way that helped me to practice gratitude made a tremendous difference.
This system is all about priority planning – figuring out your top three tasks for each day. It is not fancy or super colourful (although you can do this), it’s intended to be practical – at best you should be done in five minutes. This method perfectly works for my lifestyle at the moment but my best advice when using a bullet journal is to experiment and see what sticks!
Features of my daily to do list
- I use a two page spread in my bullet journal and I start by writing the date on the first page.
- Then I identify my top three priority tasks for the day and categorise them. In the sample above, the priorities are categorised under Spirituality, Health and Career. Other days the categories might be – Relationships, Writing and Work. If you haven’t come across the Wheel of Life, I strongly encourage you to read about it as it can help you to identify the different areas of your life you want to focus on.
- On the right hand side of the first page, under the bonus category I write everything else that is on my to do list.
- Then I list appointments or meetings that I have with the timings.
- The last category on the first page is the brain dump which is one of the reasons why I love using a bullet journal so much. This is the space where I write any thought or idea that comes to mind. And it’s extremely helpful because I don’t have to work so hard at remembering information.
- The second page starts with an inspiring quote or ayah. This can change on a daily basis (especially for weeks when I’m reading a lot) or stay the same throughout the week. My current favourite is from Maya Angelou:
“We may encounter many defeats but we must never be defeated.”
- The Highlight Reels section is a special feature of my bullet journal. This is where I document the things that happen during the day. What memories do I want to remember about the day? What made me laugh? What am I grateful for? There are several benefits to doing this. Firstly, it forces you to be more observant about your life. You can’t fill out this section if you’re not paying attention to what’s happening around you and to you during your day. Secondly, if you’re not someone that already journals, this is a quick and practical way to write things down in bullet form. Note: this doesn’t necessarily serve as a diary which means that my friends often pick this up and read through it.
- The last category is the Wins section. We don’t celebrate ourselves enough and I find that writing about the difficult things I did or actions I took has a great impact on my emotional and mental well-being.
And that in essence is how I currently use my bullet journal to plan my day! Remember, the best part about a bullet journal is the flexibility. You can plan your day using a time tracker, use it for weekly goals/ habit reviews, to outline blog posts, whatever you want to make it, experiment and see what works.