Do You BuJo?

Bullet Journaling in short is an analog method of being productive. Or as Ryder Carroll (the inventor of the Bullet Journal) says “Purpose powered productivity”. It’s a method of using your pen and notebook to track tasks, plan, keep the important things important and get things done.

Using pen and paper for productivity isn’t new. People have been doing that forever. What is new about “Bujo” is that it is a clear and simple system of turning any notebook into a powerful tool of productivity. Now if you are new to Bullet Journalling then you may want to pause reading this blog and watch the Official Bullet Journal intro video below (you can see the Official Bullet Journal Site here: https://bulletjournal.com. There is a lot of useful Bullet Journaling information, tips and techniques available on it).This is a great way of rapidly introducing yourself to the idea, concepts and method.

There are many productivity tools out there so what has made Bullet Journaling gain so much traction and become so popular? I mean so popular that a book has been written about it and you can even get an official Leuchtturm Bullet Journal. 

I would put down the rise in popularity to four things. 

  1. It is simple. Simple enough that anyone can get the hang of it quick. And simple enough that the setup does not take more work than you are intending to save. 
  2. It is highly customisable. Bullet Journaling provides a framework that is easy to build upon. Don’t like a signifier? No problem, create your own. Want to track exercise? No problem, it can help you do that. And we could go on. In fact it is so customisable that if you Bullet Journal and open someone else’s Bullet Journal I think there is a high chance that your notebooks would be different. It’s a framework that helps you build a method that works just for you.
Bullet Journal Key
  1. It has a powerful creative community behind it. From people helping with new ideas and methods, to people showing off their incredible creative spreads. The community is supportive, helpful and inspiring. 
  2. It is Analog. As more and more of our lives are engulfed in tech, phones and the constant connection to information I think analog tools are becoming increasingly popular as a means of disconnecting to help one refocus.

Are you intrigued? Interested in trying it out? So what do you need?

Basic Bullet Journal Supplies

At the simplest level, just a notebook and pen. Any will work. After all, the heavy lifting of the Bullet Journaling framework is done by bullets and signifiers which any pen in any notebook will handle. 

But who wants to make productivity that boring. So when you are ready to do some upgrading and move into something a little more suited, here are some tools we recommend:

Dotted Notebook – The dot grid of the notebook helps you with building the “layout” of your Bullet Journal making things a little easier than if you are using plain or lined paper. If you really want to take things to the next level then the Official Bullet Journal Notebook has a lot of added features such as built in Future Log Pages, An Index, Stickers, A Key/Signifier Page, Layout Grid guides and many more. Not to mention the beautiful 120gsm Leuchtturm paper. Wow. 

Pens – Of course we like a fountain pen for this. And because we are fanatics we have way too many inked in our many pen rolls ready to use at any time. But to keep things simple, one pen probably inked up with Black will do. A nice Preppy in 02 or 03 is a good starting point for this. The Black pen forms the staple of the your kit. Then if you are wanting to add colour to your spreads adding an accent colour pen helps. The accent colour helps with annotations, comments or just to make things stand out. 

Brush pen – While certainly not a requirement brush pens have become really popular for headings and adding creative flair to your Bujo pages. 

Extras – A ruler for straight lines, pencil for planning and an eraser can also be helpful. If you are on this blog reading this then I presume none of those will be a problem for you. 🙂

SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE BULLET JOURNALING PRODUCTS

Now that you have your tools, you’ve watched the official Bullet Journal video and you have an idea of what’s going on. But where do you start?

Don’t overthink this. Open that notebook. Put down today’s date and start writing. Or if you are fully into this then you can start to setup the basic pages, get the Future Log up and then just put in today’s date and start. Put down your todo, thoughts, etc. What you will find is that over time Bullet Journaling morphs to your way of being productive. So that overtime your Bullet Journal is quite unique.  Something beautiful, something practical and something that is hopefully helping you to achieve the goals you’ve set for 2022 🙂

3 thoughts on “Do You BuJo?

  1. Greig Timkoe says:

    Short answer: Yes, bujo is a very flexible, easy to understand and quick to use system. Everyone should give it a go at least twice.

    Long answer: (This is a shortened version of a post I’ve written that appears on my Peacemakers blog which you can find at: http://peacemakers.org.za/blog/). I’ve been bullet journalling for the past few years, with various levels of success. This isn’t because of a flaw in the bullet journal system, but more in what I need it to do and my often chaotic (and imperfect) workflow.

    I have a very process driven occupation that relies on me to keep things moving. I often have to attend to multiple processes during the day, across multiple disciplines.

    I find I get the most effectiveness from the bullet journal as a tool to help me reboot when I get those ‘I’m overrun with tasks and no idea where to start’ moments. So its basically David Allen’s ‘Brain Dump’ exercise from Getting things Done where you get all the things you’re juggling around in your brain, down on paper in a list. This helps me mentally unburden myself and allows me to fix a dynamic situation firmly in place. It relieves any additional background mental strain I might be under because of FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out, in this case anxiety from worrying about forgetting to do something important).

    I also find it extremely useful in conjunction with J.D. Meier’s Rule of 3, from his Agile Results system. If you’re struggling to be productive, just aim for 3 outcomes you want to produce for the day. Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘have a nice lunch today’. But aiming and completing 3 goals in a given timeframe helps to mentally unstick your gears and get moving again.

    I do sometimes find that I have trouble meshing my digital and analog lives together. The issue arises where sometimes I need to almost digitally duplicate parts of the bullet journal to be able to share and collaborate with others timeously (which takes time to do).

    And like most database managers will tell you, keeping everything up to date across multiple platforms is almost a job in itself (in this case the platforms are the bullet journal and my digital infrastructure). It works fine when my tasklist is manageable but spirals out as the tasklist increases. It starts to look less neat and then FOMO starts setting in again (I need to check both platforms to make sure that I’m not forgetting something).

    Don’t get me wrong, it works great for what its designed for (e.g. rapid note taking, etc), but I’m still finding my way in its application across my entire workflow. It’s mostly addressed a lot of issues I have in my workflow.
    I also don’t see anything wrong with only using bujo for certain parts of your life, instead of a complete life-wide implementation. Like for your personal life; your studies or hobbies for instance.

    As I’ve said before, the challenges I have are unique to me and not inherent flaw in the bujo system itself. This is on me in how I have decided to hamfistedly implement it. I’ll probably find the ideal mix eventually, given enough time.

    • Jamie Ternent says:

      Thanks Greig! This is great. I really enjoyed reading it. I am glad I am not the only one who has had “various levels of success” with the Bullet Journal system. I can so relate to what you have said. Thank you 🙂

  2. Andrea says:

    I do, and I love it. I’ve been bujo’ing since about 2017 and it’s really helped me unclutter my brain and keep track of the good progress I make and then would usually promptly forget. I have a work bujo and a private one for my hobby writing and non-work life. It’s been really great.

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