How can a Bullet Journal help you be more successful?

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
3 2 3,406

Time management and organization are important skills to be successful, and finding a system that works for me has been a struggle. I often find that my to-do lists either get too cluttered to be effective or I lose them. I wanted to find a system that allows me to mesh together my personal and professional to-do lists in a way that makes sense. Nothing ever seemed to work until I found the Bullet Journal system.


Here are some images of my bullet journal.

If you haven’t heard of a Bullet Journal before, it’s a pretty simple concept. It’s an analog organizer where you write tasks, events, and other things as bullets. Sounds like every other organizer, right? The major difference is that this isn’t a bunch of post-it notes with to-do lists scribbled on them. This is a formal way of writing to-do lists, events that have happened, and taking a quick note. It combines all of these important daily items into one place. My professional and personal life can be combined here too. No more keeping lists for work and at home. The Bullet Journal lets me keep everything in one place.

I first came across the Bullet Journal through a Buzzfeed article. It seemed easy enough, and it also appealed to my creative side. This article was a great guide on how to get started and also provided a list of  good resources, including Ryder Carroll’s guide to start your own Bullet Journal. Ryder actually created the Bullet Journal system, so his site is a great reference. Here’s how I got started:

  1.     Found my journal – Carroll says all you need is a notebook and a pen. My first step was already done! I already had an Arc journal lying around, so I decided to use that. It is customizable, so I was able to add any extra sheets I want to put in the journal and it allowed  me to use my own paper with the Arc punch I already owned.
  2.      Bought my markers – Since I wanted my Bullet Journal to be colorful like all of the ones I saw on Pinterest, I needed markers. I got a pack of 12 dual-tipped markers for $3. Thank you, Target One Spot!
  3.      Decided on a layout – Carroll lays out a pretty simple layout, but I wanted to go off the ideas on saw on Pinterest to give my journal more flair. You don’t have to do this, but I liked the addition of doodling and making my pages look fun. Since I use an ARC journal and punch my own paper, I actually created a template using Whitelines Link template and Photoshop. I love that I can make changes from month to month though. I am actually thinking about trying something different for December.
  4.      Pinned ideas from Pinterest – If you search Bullet Journal Layout, Header, Ideas, etc. on Pinterest, you will find a ton of resources that will help you get started, too.

I’ve been keeping my journal for three months, and I really think it’s the perfect blend of professional and personal organization. After doing a Bullet Journal for three months, what have I learned?

1. My brain is always on. ALWAYS.


I need a system to keep me organized. Using the Bullet Journal helps clear my brain before I go to bed at night and gets me ready to tackle the next day.

2. Looking back on what I've done is surprisingly fun.


I like being able to look back at what I accomplished as well as the little things that happened throughout my day. You’re not only writing things that need to get done, but you also can write in lunch dates that happened, what TV shows you watched that evening, and when you finish a good book.

3. I’m so good at being an adult!


I like that I feel like I manage my time more effectively with my Bullet Journal. I see what I’ve accomplished as well as plan for the next day. It’s a handy tool that keeps me focused.

If you have any questions about how to start your own Bullet Journal and why I found mine to be helpful, let me know! I love talking about how to be more organized, and hearing more from other people on how they stay organized as well. What are some of your favorite organization tips?

About the Author
I am currently the Marketing Manager for Communication and College Success. I have been working in Higher Education Publishing since I received my Master's in Children's Literature from Eastern Michigan University in 2009. I am originally from Lake City, Michigan, a small city in Northwestern Michigan. I have also lived in Ypsilanti, Cincinnati, and I moved to Boston in 2011. I'll always be a Michigander, but I love my home in Boston.