Where to buy journals?

The New Year is just around the corner, so it’s time to figure out how you’re going to organize yourself into a better person for the first few months of the year before you give up and go back into your old ways! I am (mostly) kidding; I am an avid bullet journaler (it helps me stay on top of my tasks so much!) and I’m here to help you choose which journal is the best for you. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best journals for bullet journaling, and what the pros and cons of each one are—take your pick and stay organized!

Leuchtturm1917 Dotted A5

This is a classic bullet journal starter and the overall best bullet journal notebook of 2018. The dotted layout allows you to make of it what you want; a spread with a grid? Just connect the dots with a ruler. A spread of tasks to do that day? just use the dots as lines. Habit trackers are very easy to draw with in this notebook. I personally used a pink Leuchtturm1917 during most of 2018 and it was great—the lack of lines allowed me to be more creative and free.

But beware: if you don’t like writing that is somewhat crooked here and there, I’d stick with the next option—or just any other option with lines. Another great thing about Leuchtturm1917 is that the pages are numbered and there’s an in-build index page at the beginning of the notebook, so you don’t have to design one yourself!

Leuchtturm1917 Ruled A5

This one is obviously similar to the dotted one, but it is ruled. It has the same features—numbered pages and an index page—but your writing will be less shaky and more complicated spreads will be more difficult to figure out. This is the one I am using now, just to mix it up from dots to lines.

Moleskine Notebook

My first bullet journal was a Moleskine, and while I’ve moved on, I don’t regret it. Moleskines are such classic, luxurious notebooks. You can find ruled or grid Moleskines, but their pages aren’t numbered and there’s no index in the beginning of the notebook.

Midori MD Notebook, A5 Grid Paper

Of all these notebooks, Midori has the best quality paper—so if your bullet journal is likely to have doodles or complex drawings that are likely to bleed through low quality paper, you should check this notebook out.

Miquelrius Soft Bound Medium Journal

This grid notebook is for those of us who need a lot more space than a Leuchtturm or a Moleskine—it has 600 pages!

BookFactory Ghost Grid Dot Journal

I’m not a huge fan of spiral bound notebooks, but I know some people are. This notebook will lie flat when you open it and it has an index page. At $8, it’s way cheaper than a Moleskine or a Leuchtturm1917, and it’s a dot grid journal.

The Official Bullet Journal Notebook by Leuchtturm1917

This notebook is the original Leuchtturm1917 but with specific bullet journal features, like a page for your key, as well as the usual index pages and numbered pages.

Northbooks Dot Grid Journal

This one has the feel and vibe of a Moleskine but it’s much more affordable at $10. It’s less luxurious and doesn’t have numbered pages—but could be a good option for someone who isn’t sure about bullet journaling yet and doesn’t want to invest too much money until they are sure.

Of course, bullet journaling isn’t strictly a bookish activity, but there’s definitely some overlap between readers and bullet journalers. Once you choose your notebook, make sure to check out Book Riot’s round-up of spreads for readers, a list of three spreads that improved a reader’s reading habits and these cool bookish ideas for bullet journaling.

Happy journaling!

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Having trouble sifting through all those notebooks for bullet journaling? I’ve rounded up some of my favorites to simplify your life.

|8 Swoon-Worthy Notebooks for Bullet Journaling|

Hobbies are notorious for the equipment and accessories necessary to keep them going. They’re great fun at first, but one day you look around and wonder how you ended up with so much stuff!

When I first picked up bullet journaling, I knew I did not want a hobby—I was looking for a solution. My blog, creative writing projects, submissions, reading lists, and family schedule were a hot mess, so the last thing I needed was a diaper bag full of equipment to organize my life.

Bullet journaling has only two necessities: a notebook and a pen. The type of notebook and pen depends largely on the user’s budget and requirements.

In an attempt to help you buy only one notebook—the right one—I’ve rounded up some of my favorites for bullet journaling. They all have pros and cons, so keep your needs in mind when considering each option.

*UPDATE* The official Bullet Journal notebooks are back in stock at http://store.bulletjournal.com! The official notebook is made by none other than Leuchtturm1917 (my personal favorite), and comes with a printed bullet journaling guide, key, index, three ribbon markers, and everything else you would expect from Leucchtturm (numbered pages, elastic closure, gusseted pocket, sturdy cover, smooth 80g paper). This notebook is designed by Ryder Carroll, the bullet journal inventor himself, so you definitely can’t go wrong with it!

Photo credit: bulletjournal.com

1. Leuchtturm1917 A5 Notebooks

My notebook of choice. I’ll refrain from reciting my “Ode to Leuchtturm.” I’m partial to the dot grid version, but Leuchtturm also makes lined, squared, and blank versions. As far as I’m concerned, Leuchtturm1917 is the ultimate bullet journal notebook; the paper is high quality, covers are durable, pages are pre-numbered, there’s a pre-printed index in the front, a pocket in the back, two ribbon markers, an elastic closure, and they come in every color of the rainbow. You can see my bullet journal in action here. Amazon’s stock fluctuates quite a bit. J*B Welly is my secret weapon; they always seem to have the color I need.

2. Moleskine Notebooks

Moleskine notebooks compare closely to Leuchtturm1917, and the brand is more accessible in the U.S. I’ve found soft cover versions with lined and dot grid paper at Target. They are smaller than Leuchtturm1917 (192 pages vs. 250), and some bullet journalists find the paper too thin for elaborate colored doodles. Still, this is a quality notebook that can take a lot of abuse.

3. Rhodia Webnotebook A5 Dot Grid

Rhodia fills their A5 notebook with 90g Clairfontaine paper, which holds up to fountain pens and calligraphy inks. With a ribbon marker, elastic closure, pocket on the back cover, and 192 pages, Rhodia’s Webnotebook is Moleskine’s twin, but with much better paper.

4. Midori MD Notebook, A5 Grid Paper

Midori makes smooth paper suitable for fountain pens and calligraphy. If paper quality is your biggest concern, you should give Midori a closer look. One thing to keep in mind is that the cover is thin paper, so you’d be wise to invest in a Midori MD plastic cover or stout paper cover.

5. Miquelrius Soft Bound Medium Journal, Graph

Even with 250 pages in my Leuchtturm1917, I find myself rationing pages. Having 600 pages to work with in the Miquelrius gives you plenty of wiggle room (and then some). On the downside, the binding is glued, not threaded. If you need a notebook that lies completely flat, this one might not be for you.

6. Moleskine Cahier Journal

Moleskine Cahiers are my pick for bullet journalists who take customization to the max. Sold in packs of 3, cahiers are small and lightweight but maintain the quality you would expect from Moleskine. They’re perfect for short-term projects or separating your journal into sections. I’ve even seen some bullet journalists use a fresh cahier for each month, and the brown paper cover creates a stunning backdrop for doodles and lettering art.

7. Northbooks Dots Hardcover Notebook

Northbooks hardcover notebooks are for no-frills bullet journalists. Just 192 pages of smooth ruled or dot grid paper, sewn into a hard cover—straight up, no chaser. It’s a well-made notebook, to be sure, and will suit those who prefer simplicity. No ribbon markers, pockets, pre-printed pages, or any other extras, but it does hold up over time, lies flat when open, and stays true to the simple spirit of bullet journaling.

8. Essentials Grid-lined Notebook, A5 size

The Essentials notebook has a sturdy cover and nearly 200 pages of quality grid-lines paper. Many bullet journalists who find Moleskine’s paper thickness inadequate are satisfied with Essentials, and it is less expensive than Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917.

Any notebook lying around your house will get you started journaling, but quality details make the process come alive. Any one of these notebooks would serve you well as a bullet journal; now, it’s just up to you to make it your own!

Oh, no! Did I miss your favorite notebook? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment with your go-to brands, and tell me how you use them in your daily life!

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Megan Rutell Writer & Creative Blogger Megan Rutell is the blogger behind Page Flutter. She’s also a writer, stationery lover, Air Force veteran, and homesick Colorado girl. She currently lives in Japan with her husband, 3 boys, and a fat cat who rules them all.

You probably have a friend that ditched her basic planner for BuJo years ago — and she’s not alone. Thanks to Instagram — and mounting stress levels — millions of people consider this method the best way to plan, reflect, and meditate. And while some of us may reduce it to a journal full of confusing symbols and shorthand, it’s actually “a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system.”

Start Now

Whatever you call it — a planner, journal, or otherwise — creator Ryder Carroll says this method will help you live a more productive and meaningful life. “When I was young, I was diagnosed with ADD and there weren’t a lot of tools or resources available, so I had to design my own,” he explains. “Rather than keep notes like other people, I figured out how to organize and sort information the way that my mind works.”

What is a bullet journal?

Equal parts day planner, diary, and written meditation, bullet journaling turns the chaos of coordinating your life into a streamlined system that helps you be more productive and reach your personal and professional goals. With sections to log your daily to-do’s, monthly calendar, notes, long-term wants and more, your BuJo is customized to your life. (Entries are tagged with bullet points, dashes, and other graphics so you can see their categories at a glance.)

The Bullet Journal Method amazon.com $26.00 $18.35 (29% off)

By updating it daily,“you learn how to get rid of things that are distracting you and add things you care about,” Carroll says. But it’s really built with you in mind: “The only thing that the bullet journal needs to be is effective, and how it can best serve its author is entirely up to them.” Customize your BuJo by selecting symbols that are easy for you to understand and creating sections (called “collections”) that align with your long and short-term goals such as a fertility tracker, fitness log, diary, and more.

And for everyone who’s panicking about their sub-par art skills, take a tip from Carroll: “Bullet journaling is always about function over form, right? And to be very clear about that, form can mean sloppy or beautiful. It doesn’t matter what your bullet journal looks like. It’s about how it makes you feel, and how effective it is in moving you towards the things that matter to you.”

That’s where the mindfulness connection comes in. Unlike traditional organizers and planners, this method encourages authors to examine how their goals, tasks, and responsibilities make them feel. Instead of a standard checklist, bullet journaling requires daily, monthly, and yearly reflections along with bullet points and asterisks galore.

How do I start bullet journaling?

Most importantly, don’t get ahead of yourself. “The best way to get started is to figure out what your challenges are,” Carroll explains. Ask yourself: What do you want the bullet journal to do for you? Once you have a general idea, build a system that suits your needs and art skills.

If you’re overwhelmed about the flexible format, he suggests starting with a monthly log where you can prioritize responsibilities to meet monthly goals. From there, flesh it out with a daily log, which Carroll considers the workhorse of bullet journaling.

For bullet journal ideas, check out these Instagram-worthy examples.

To save time, use rapid logging, the official language of bullet journaling where you trade full sentences for short phrases or keywords. Adopting this shorthand ensures peak efficiency and organization a.k.a. a prettier, more productive BuJo.

Every bullet journal should include these collections in the following order:

  • Index: This section is at the front of your notebook and serves as a table of contents with page numbers to different collections and a symbol key that you update as you go.
  • Future Log: This four-page spread is a year-at-a-glance calendar with future events, goals, and long-term tasks. Add birthdays, travel plans, and major holidays.
  • Monthly Log: This two-page spread includes a calendar with a bird’s-eye view of the month and a task page with things you want to tackle during the month. You can also add other monthly tracking pages (“modules”) including a food, fitness, finance, or book log.
  • Daily Log: This is your day-to-day to-do list.

While you should create a key that fits your needs, Carroll recommends using the following symbols if you want to be a BuJo pro:

  • Tasks: •
  • Events: O
  • Notes (facts, ideas, and observations): —
  • Priority: *
  • Inspiration (mantras, insights, and ideas): !

Can I start bullet journaling in the middle of the year?

100%. It’s customizable, which means you can start it today, tomorrow, or three months from now. Simply adjust the future log to fit your timeline.

What tools do I need?

While official bullet journals exist, any sturdy journal or notebook will do, says Carroll. Similar to Marie Kondo’s KonMari method, it’s about the process and not the final look. But if you want to merge function and fashion, check out these bestselling journals, ranging in style and price.

Shop The Most Popular Bullet Journals

Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted Notebook amazon.com $19.95 Poluma Dotted Grid Notebook amazon.com $8.19 Minimalism Art Dotted Notebook amazon.com $8.95 A5 Dotted Travel Journal amazon.com $9.95

As you get more experienced, you may feel the desire to delve into the world of felt tips, stickers, and washi tape. If that’s the case, shop these picks.

Shop These Bullet Journal Accessories

iBayam Fine Point Markers amazon.com $8.59 Calendar Stickers amazon.com $7.99 Washi Tape Set amazon.com $7.29 Stencil Set amazon.com $7.98 Amanda Garrity Associate Lifestyle Editor As the Associate Lifestyle Editor for GoodHousekeeping.com, Amanda oversees gift guides and covers home, holidays, food, and other lifestyle news. Lizz Schumer Staff Writer Lizz Schumer is the staff writer for Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and Prevention, covering pets, culture, lifestyle, books, and entertainment.

Bullet journaling has taken off as a kind of mindfulness-meets-productivity trend that equates organized journaling with an ordered interior life.Photograph by Natalie Emerson

Devotees of the Bullet Journal, a cultish notebook-organization system tagged in more than eight million posts on Instagram, will tell you that there are two kinds of notebook people: those who keep multiple notebooks and those who keep just one. Most of us are multiple-notebook people, living our lives haphazardly, writing things down as we go: a notebook for the office, another for groceries and appointments, one for dreams and doodles, one for furtive rants. The multiple-notebook person maintains a wall calendar, a desk calendar, and two calendar apps. She has scribbled a list of movies to watch on a sticky note that she will never find again. She has an app full of cryptic asides (“Rice bowls,” “Bat room”). She has no idea where her bank details are. The multiple-notebook person lives in a kind of organizational purgatory. Her intentions are good, her approach delinquent.

Ryder Carroll, the thirty-nine-year-old digital designer who invented the Bullet Journal, used to be a multiple-notebook person. Born in Vienna to American teachers, he was a squirmy, distracted child, constantly behind and anxious in school. As a teen-ager, he was given a diagnosis of attention-deficit disorder, and he began to develop small journaling tricks to get through his classes; in college, at Skidmore, he carried around six notebooks to keep track of everything. He also scrapbooked and made collages. He started writing down his thoughts in short bursts throughout the day and found that it calmed him, allowing him to see past his anxieties to their root causes. “When there’s a barking dog outside, you can’t hear anything else,” he told me recently, by way of analogy. “But when you go to the window you realize there might be something wrong, you think about it, you get the context. It’s barking at something. You actually get up and look. And, for me, writing is that process.”

In the years after college, Carroll took night courses in Web design and worked for media companies, mostly in New York. “That’s when the Bullet Journal really started coming together,” he said. He slimmed down and organized his books. He noticed that many of his co-workers kept journals, too, though they did so irregularly. “I was, like, well, I use my notebook in a pretty unique way,” he said. One week, in 2013, he built a Web site and shot a video explaining his method. He hoped, he said, to “mitigate a lot of the heartache I had to go through to figure this out on my own.”

The result was a set of organizational instructions: Marie Kondo for the notebook. Basically, you take a journal, number the pages, and create an index so you can find everything. From there, you can list tasks, write diary entries, and build out a minimalist calendar. Like CrossFit, Paleo, and other hyper-efficient communities, Bullet Journaling—or BuJo, as it is known online—has developed its own vocabulary. Participants identify as Bullet Journalists. There’s a daily log, a monthly log, and something called a future log. There are symbols for notes, events, and tasks, and additional symbols to indicate when a task has been completed, scheduled, moved to another section, or deemed irrelevant. (The method takes its name from the bullet point, as well as the word’s suggestion of speed.) There are collections of related material, like languages you’ve failed to learn or miles you haven’t run. There are trackers for anything you feel compelled to track: sleep, workouts, mood, alcohol. Each day, you practice “rapid logging.” Each month, you review everything you wrote down and move only what is meaningful to the next monthly spread, in a spine-straightening process called migration.

Carroll’s video was picked up by productivity blogs and soon went viral. A few years later, Bullet Journaling has grown into a global community, with subsets of every variation: BuJo for students, BuJo for mothers, BuJo for veterans, #menwhobullet. It has taken off on the Internet as a kind of mindfulness-meets-productivity trend that equates organized journaling with an ordered interior life. It promises to help you achieve your goals and declutter your mind. Carroll released a book, last October, called “The Bullet Journal Method,” which is now a best-seller. He no longer uses multiple notebooks (and he no longer needs other jobs). “It’s helpful to have one source of truth,” he said. “That’s what the Bullet Journal is for me.”

One hot day in July, I met Carroll at the Morgan Library & Museum, in Manhattan. He had been on book tour on and off since October, first in the U.S., then in Europe, and finally in Asia. I arrived slightly late, out of breath and frazzled in the heat, to find him sitting in the museum’s entryway calmly reading a novel. He was wearing a black dress shirt buttoned all the way up and square tortoiseshell glasses. When I approached, he carefully marked his page with a bookmark and placed his book inside a nearly empty leather satchel. How had his morning been? He considered the question. It had been good, he said. He had been practicing some self-care.

He had come to see an exhibition on Walt Whitman. Inside, we found edits for the poem “Mannahatta” that Whitman had scribbled on a piece of paper. “There’s something about handwriting that just allows you to glimpse a whole different aspect of a person,” Carroll remarked. He said that in his own notebook he switches among four or five different handwriting scripts, depending on his mood (block letters for information, cursive for emotions). At a copy of “The Odyssey of Homer,” from 1863, Carroll examined Whitman’s loose signature. “The curls in his letters are very open,” he said.

Whitman was a multiple-notebook person, an exuberant and haphazard note-taker. “He would write on forms—legal forms, tax forms,” Sal Robinson, a curator of the show at the Morgan, told me later. As a clerk, and then a newspaper editor, “he was sort of awash in paper,” Robinson said. “There are these photos of him just sitting in his chair, and there’s paper all the way up to his knees.” In the second section of the exhibit, Carroll and I found a small journal below a wall text reading “This humble notebook contains a crucial clue to Whitman’s development.” On the pages were several trial lines for “Leaves of Grass,” in which Whitman experimented with using the ‘I’ that characterizes much of the poem. “That’s one thing that’s so cool about seeing old notebooks,” Carroll said, looking awed. “It’s like the origin of thought. That’s when it happened, that’s the moment when that began to exist in the world.”

If Whitman was drowning in paper, Bullet Journalists are more likely to lose themselves in a sea of posts on Instagram, where BuJo has blossomed. As with many social-media trends, there’s a performative aspect to Bullet Journaling. You get the sense, in some of the more beautiful posts, that it took more time to make the to-do list than it would have to complete the to-dos. A page designed for a vacation packing list might include a hand-drawn map. A page listing tasks for a backyard renovation might have a tiny pocket of seeds. But, in the BuJo community, authenticity is prized. Nicole Barlettano, a graphic designer and illustrator in New Jersey, runs a BuJo Instagram account called @plansthatblossom with a hundred thousand followers, on which she hosts a doodle contest and tracks her habits in decorative spreads. “I don’t try to sugarcoat anything,” she told me. “If I didn’t floss all week, I’m not going to hide that.” BuJo post are often photos of diary entries, which lends them a strange intimacy. One user’s skin-care tracker notes, “Struggling with acne breakouts, but was able to get it under control. Not eating dairy = helpful!” A page with a background of vintage ticket stubs describes an allergic reaction to shrimp.

The bullet journal has the potential to keep EVERY area of your life organized. Here’s how to use your bullet journal for work! This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

When I was first introduced to bullet journaling in all it’s glorious customizability, I knew it had the potential to change more than just my home and personal life.

And I was right!

Not only have I seen huge improvements in tracking healthy habits, managing my home {here’s looking at you, monthly house cleaning schedule!}, and keeping tabs on dozens of to-do’s so they don’t get lost among the flutter of sticky notes, I’ve also unlocked the magic of bullet journaling to help me rock my online business.

From quickly referencing notes during Skype meetings to managing large projects with hard and fast deadlines, my bullet journal has seen me through it all, and continues to be the customizable tool I fell in love with almost three years ago!

I rely on this planning system more than ever to help me get things done behind the scenes of this blog, but you don’t have to be an online entrepreneur to use your bullet journal for work.

The Ultimate Planning Solution

Because bullet journaling is so customizable, it is literally the best planner for any career.

You could be a teacher, engineer, receptionist, or work for a Fortune 500 company, and you could still find ways to use your bullet journal for work. I’m always inspired by the number of professions represented in the bullet journaling community and the brilliant ideas shared from workplace to workplace.

With a bullet journal in hand {or at your desk!} you can:

  • Become more productive throughout the day
  • Better organize work projects and work-related to-do’s
  • Space out tasks evenly so you don’t procrastinate on an upcoming deadline {or overbook yourself!}
  • Recall vitally important information because you wrote it down in one notebook rather than on scraps of paper and sticky notes that you promptly lost.

Sounds amazing, right?

That’s because this powerful system does exactly what you need it to, no matter who you are or what you do.

Allow me to share a few ideas on how to integrate a bullet journal with your work life so it can support everything you’re responsible for in your career.

But the inspiration doesn’t stop here. My hope is that you’ll also share your own brilliant bullet journal ideas in the comments, so fellow professionals can get inspiration from you!

How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Work

1. Keep Track of Your Work Schedule

If your hours change weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, you know how annoying it is to check the office calendar to see when you’re scheduled each time. Flip to a fresh page in your bullet journal and write down all the hours you have to work, then transfer those hours over to your Weekly Log as you plan for the week.

For those of you with consistent hours, you might want to try this time-blocking method.

This how I keep track of my entire schedule.

I divide my week into color-coded “blocks,” then highlight the hours I need to work each day. My last step is to assign tasks within those color-coded blocks based on the theme of that block—strategic work, admin work, home/personal, etc.

This method really helps you section off different areas of your life so you can be most productive with the tasks you assign to each block!

Plan Your Ideal Week

Color code your own time blocks with a printable weekly schedule!

2. Manage Projects

Any project {big or small} needs its own Project Page.

This is a space where you can brainstorm all the different tasks that make up the project, then organize them into the days and weeks before your deadline. Planning to accomplish bite-sized chunks of the bigger project little by little will keep you on track better than doing everything at the last minute {this is an idea from The 12 Week Year}.

Don’t forget to include any notes or information you’d like to reference alongside the project too!

Side note: Talking about project management begs the question, What do you do when you need to collaborate on a project with others?

The bullet journal does many things well, but collaboration can be a little more difficult! In my own life, I solve this with Trello, my project management tool of choice for teamwork, but I have also heard great things about Asana.

3. Schedule Events and Deadlines

Your Future Log helps keep track of important dates so you always know what big event is coming up next, including work-related events!

Need to bring a dessert for a co-worker’s birthday? Wondering when so-and-so goes on vacation? Have an office ugly sweater party to attend? Now you have a spot to remember it all!

On my Future Log, I keep track of upcoming promotions for my blog so I know when to schedule email campaigns or promote a discount on my social media channels. I also write down big holidays since they can influence the timing of those promotions.

Even though I still use a digital calendar, it’s nice to flip to this page in my bullet journal and see everything in one two-page layout!

Related: 11 Bullet Journal Hacks to Take Your BuJo to The Next Level

4. Take Meeting Notes

Because a bullet journal is literally a blank notebook, it becomes the perfect tool to house all your notes. I prefer to take ALL notes by hand because it solidifies the information in my brain {don’t believe me? Here’s scientific proof!}.

Plus, you avoid distractions or the embarrassing chime of your iPhone during that important meeting by taking notes right in your bullet journal, where they’re always available for easy access {as long as you log them in your Index, of course!}

Not sure what an Index is, or any bullet journal lingo for that matter? This post gives you the inside scoop.

5. Log Your Income and Business Expenses

If you run your own business, you’ll need a spot to keep track of your income and expenses. {Even if you don’t own your own business, I have a few friends who use their bullet journal for their personal budget, and I’ll be posting about that in a few weeks!}

I use Quickbooks Online for the majority of my bookkeeping, but I also keep a page in my journal to list my blog’s monthly recurring expenses and the income I need to bring in to cover everything. Sometimes I’ll even track my income on a weekly layout to make sure I’ll hit my income goals at the end of the month.

If you want to narrow the financials down even further, you could even keep track of what you spend for a specific project {let’s say a Facebook promotion if you’re an ad manager}. Your bullet journal is a great place to jot down numbers rather than lose them on a sticky note or in a random spreadsheet file.

I’ll often do this when I’m running a promotion like a book launch. I want to know how much money I need to break even and cover my expenses for that specific promotion. Sometimes that’s hard {or impossible} to keep track of in bookkeeping software!

6. Try Time Tracking

If you need to track your time in general or on a specific project, you can use your bullet journal for work as a type of timesheet.

Recently, I wanted to see how long I typically spent on writing a newsletter or drafting a block post. I kept track of my time so I could see at a glance how many hours each task would take. This helps me better manage my time in the future—because I know approximately how much of my schedule to block off for just those tasks.

Want something more robust…and digital? TimeCamp might be just the thing.

7. Create Your Own Checklists & How-To Tutorials

When you’re learning something new {especially when you start a new job!}, there can be a lot to remember. Use your bullet journal to capture the information and create your own checklists so you stay on task.

You can even make your own “how-to tutorials” so you can easily see each step of the process on one page rather than ask a co-worker or management how to do the task again. With each tutorial referenced in your Index, you’ll be able to find what you need rather quickly!

The one question you might want to ask

The bullet journal has the potential to keep every area of your life organized. But maybe you’re thinking it might be a good idea to keep two separate bullet journals—one bullet journal for work and one for home.

I’ve known some friends who try to separate their work/home life into two journals, but they always end up combining again. It’s hard to carry around two notebooks all the time! And what if you only bring one notebook to a meeting, but you actually need the other? #nightmare

It’s simply more efficient to manage both areas all in one place, but if it’s really hard to wrap your mind around combining both {I totally get it!}, I recommend trying a traveler’s notebook system {like Pretty Prints and Paper}.

Some traveler’s notebooks fit up to 5 {thinner} individual notebooks so you can have one for each area of your life, but they are still held together inside the same cover.

Whichever way you choose, there’s no doubt that bullet journaling offers the perfect mix of flexibility and structure, thus giving you the power to plan in a way your brain works and sprinkling your professional life with more of that bullet journal magic.

With this handy notebook by your side, your performance and productivity levels at work will skyrocket and you’ll easily stay on top of the projects and tasks you’re assigned {or if you work from home—the ones you assign yourself!}

Psst… If you’ve never bullet journaled before, this post is a great primer. Or you can go more in depth with my bestselling guide, Brainbook: Bullet Journaling Your Way to a More Organized Life.

Let’s chat:

Do you currently use a bullet journal for work? What profession are you in and what are some of your favorite layouts? And if you don’t use one yet, I’d love to know what ideas you’re excited to try!

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Hold the Fluff: An Engineered Bullet Journal System to Break Down and Track Personal and Professional Goals

Jeff BeegleFollow Jun 8, 2017 · 14 min read

In the last year, I finished my Master’s Degree in Microbiology, got a startup up and running, and maintained an affinity for learning new skills. This is my first Medium post and I decided to write about the productivity system I use with Bullet Journals.

I was initially turned on to Bullet Journals (I’ll just call it bujo from here on out) by co-founder. I was impressed by the simplicity and flexibility of creating your own templates to manage your week, month, year, or whatever. At that point in time, I had been unable to find a calendar or journal that worked with my style or met my needs. So I bought the standard lined Leuchtturm 1917, over the Moleskin, and went wild! Actually, I was totally stuck.

Looking at a notebook filled with blank pages was intimidating. I didn’t know where to start. Some people can pick up a blank page and crank out a simple, elegant format right away. But how do these formats work together to create a valuable tool? I will argue that some people, myself included, lack some of the creative ability to design functional and visually appealing bujo templates. So what did I do? I Googled it!

The Search for the Perfect Template!

However, when you Google something like “bujo weekly templates,” you are flooded with page after page of artsy and beautiful templates on Pinterest or Instagram. No offense to these templates but when your day consists of maybe 3 errands and personal goals like “stay hydrated and gain more Instagram followers,” this is not a one-size-fit-all solution for other professions. So I kept looking.

I searched YouTube and Facebook and found a bunch of videos/blogs by people designing “simple”, “minimalist”, “for guys,” templates but ran into the same problem. These templates compromised functionality and use of space with visually appealing templates that do not meet the needs of a professional working life.

Something else was bothering me too. Across the board, people show off their beautiful templates, but do not discuss the planning process. Why did you fill 50% of your day with a full-color picture of a rain cloud? Why did you choose a circular monthly calendar instead of a rectangular one? How does the circular calendar change when you have 28 days instead of 30 days? Why does the calendar only use half of a page and not a full page? My classical mindset was raging! I needed numbers.

This bugged me. But being a tinkerer, I decided to set out and deconstruct the standard bujo templates in order to engineer a new bujo system. That is what I will discuss below. I will also share my working Google Sheets templates for this system so you can try it out too. This is my first article so if you have comments or questions, please reach out so I can improve my work!

Breaking Down the Bullet Journal

First off I want to say a few things about my methodology. For the last year, I was using the lined Leuchtturm 1917 journal. I did a lot of experimenting in there but I had initially intended to buy the dotted version and made a mistake when ordering on Amazon. Here are a few of my reasons for going with the dotted journal.

1. The vertical distance between lines was smaller so I could fit more content into each page

2. The dotted matrix allowed for greater flexibility and reproducibility for page designs

3. The dots are less distracting than the thick horizontal lines in other journal styles

Having then done some research about what people on Pinterest put in their journals and comparing that with my needs, I established 7 Page Types that make up my bujo system:

The Yearly, Monthly, and Weekly Spread Page Types make up the planning process and the remaining Page Types are for habit and behavior tracking. These two processes are intertwined for the ultimate purpose of goal completion.

Let’s talk numbers! In the dotted journal by Leuchtturm, a single page contains 27 x 39 dots, or 26 x 38 squares (988 squares per page). As such, a spread (two pages) is made up of 52 x 38 squares (1976 squares per spread). I whipped out some trusty yellow engineering paper and started sketching out some templates, relying very strongly on my ruler. I went through several iterations but the following templates were my favorite in terms of space utilized, functionality, and flow.

From all of my research on social media sites, I became somewhat inspired by the usefulness of color in an otherwise black and white journal, since I only use a black pen, I decided to label my pages with a small piece of colored washi tape. But I will get into that later. Right now I want to break down each of these page types, discuss the layout, and ultimately describe how they all work together.

Yearly Spread: What is the Big Picture?

In a recent Accelerator my startup went through, I learned about the Rockefeller Habits, which focus on 5 key factors for a successful business. While I do not strictly follow these habits, there are a few aspects that strongly influenced my bujo system, being data driven and planning.

Looking at an entire year requires some deep meditation on your goals, both personal and professional. Think about your vision for the next year. Do you want to learn a new language? Do you want to finish writing your PhD thesis? Do you want to improve the growth of your company?

All of these goals are achievable. But they require planning. Having a list of your goals for the year is fantastic but deconstructing those goals into achievable and realistic monthly and weekly, and even daily, tasks is essential for completing them. This deconstruction process is a strategy that mentors like Tim Ferris discuss. An outline of the Yearly Spread is shown below.

One of the great benefits of the Bullet Journal is its ability to be flexible enough to work for people in many professions. That’s one of the reasons I began uniting a community of Bullet Journal professionals. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with professionals in marketing, healthcare, education, manufacturing, sales and many more industries. One group of professionals show up regularly in my conversations: project managers (PMs). The Bullet Journal and its basic components –Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, Daily Log – is an ideal tool for PMs. I wanted to dig into this job category to learn more about PMs who are using a Bullet Journal on the job, how they are using it and, importantly, the difference it makes for them. More to the point, I have seen posts from people over the last year – many who claim to be PMs – who have made some glowing comments about the Bullet Journal but here now are some hard data points to support these claims. In August 2016, a survey was created especially for PMs. In total, 205 project managers completed the survey, giving us some terrific findings that we want to share with you this month. One of the core issues that often arises for new adopters of the Bullet Journal is whether to use the same journal for work and personal needs. We wanted to know how PMs used their journal. As you can see by this chart, it is a contentious issue. A little more than 50% of PMs polled told us they used the same Bullet Journal for both work and personal matters. But more than 36% of PMs use two journals. Only a small number of respondents stated they use their Bullet Journal only at work (7%) or only for personal matters (4%). Since the focus of this survey was to understand how project managers are using a Bullet Journal on the job, we didn’t continue with those who use their journal only for personal matters. We next wanted to better understand how loyal these PMs were to the Bullet Journal. I often see posts in the Bullet Journal for Professionals Facebook group about how users are searching for digital tools, apps and cloud-based services to complement their journal. So we asked PMs whether they use their Bullet Journal exclusively. And it was no surprise to see the answers almost equal between yes and no. So what are PMs using in addition to their Bullet Journal? Well, that’s a matter of personal preference. While a quarter of respondents indicated Microsoft Outlook as the tool of choice to complement their Bullet Journal, the range of responses varied widely. This word cloud only hints at the variety of responses, which ranged from sticky notes and 3×5 index cards to mind maps and Gantt charts. Digital applications also ranged widely from Google Docs to Trello and Asana to Toodledo and Wonderlist. Respondents also touched on other methods including David Allen’s method, Getting Things Done (GTD), to Kanban and Agile methodologies. While the survey was certainly targeted to project managers, we wanted to make sure that we were talking with respondents who were actively involved in project management on a daily basis. We had the respondents clarify their job title and verify if they were solely performing project management activities at work or if they had other responsibilities. We found a great variety of job titles but a little more than one-third of the respondents who answered were Project Managers. We also found that project managers are multitaskers. 80% of the respondents indicated that along with project management activities, they had other responsibilities at work. Less than 15% of respondents focus exclusively on project management. So, what are the responsibilities that PMs have on the job? Or, more specifically, what are the types of projects that PMs are managing? While many PMs were unable to answer this question in order to protect the confidentiality associated with their projects, those who did respond provided descriptions as varied as their job titles.