Monday, July 24, 2017

What is a Bullet Journal (and why would I want to know)?

Those that know me know I love organizational systems. I've tried them all. Some people even call me organized. It's not me, it's the system.  Those that know me also know my fondness for technology. You may be surprised to hear the system that has made the biggest difference for me only requires a notebook and a pen. It’s called a bullet journal.

Why Bullet Journal?

Is your desk covered in post-it notes?

Do you know you wrote something down, but just don’t know where?

Do ever get the nagging feeling you are forgetting something?

The bullet journal system has helped me to keep all my work to do lists in one place in order to have them on hand easily. The system of reviewing tasks that were not completed is a really helpful way to regularly reflect and prioritize what is most important going forward.

What is the Bullet Journal?

The Bullet Journal is a system created by Ryder Carroll.

The key to the bullet journal is using easy, quick, and short points to log what you need to do. This is called rapid logging.

Bullets represent tasks, events, notes, and signifiers. Signifiers are symbols to indicate the importance of an item. A typical key includes a bullet for a task, a circle for an event, and a dash for a note. It also includes indicators that a task is complete, that it has been moved forward to the next list, or moved forward to the further out future.

Pages in a journal are broken into modules. (These are more fun than R2T4 in modules!) Standard modules are usually and index, future log, monthly log, weekly log and/or a daily log. I tend to not use the index and prefer a weekly log rather than a daily log.

A future log is a place to note items for upcoming months. A monthly log lets you look at key points in the month at a glance and create a master list of tasks you would like to accomplish in the month. The daily or weekly log is the tasks and events that are actually going to take place on a given day.

Not just a task list.

The bullet journal isn’t just an organized task list. It is a system to ensure every task is dealt with. At the end of a day/week/month every task should be addressed. It is either marked as completed, migrated forward to the next day/week/month, moved to a future month, or determined to no longer be relevant.

This regular review of tasks is the key to the bullet journal’s productivity. It is a mindful way of ensuring you are focused on the right tasks to get you where you need to be.

The video below is from Ryder Carroll himself on how to bullet journal.

Stay tuned for a series of future blog posts on bullet journaling and productivity in the aid office! Please let me know what questions you have and they will be addressed in a future post!

Melissa Haberman
Financial Aid Director
University of Wisconsin Extension

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