What’s a Bullet Journal and Why Should I Use One?

#BulletJournal – what? 

I love my tech. My office is almost completely digital – iPhone, Apple Watch, MacBooks, Cloud servers, Cloud-based software, digital scanning, WiFi speakers, and a technologically-advanced electric vehicle. Our clients follow our data gathering system for litigation – which is completely digital. But sometimes, you need to put pen to paper and that’s where the Bullet Journal came in.

With all that said – there is one old-school tool that I personally use on a daily basis. I hand it out to my clients to keep them efficient and organized when they are facing conflicts in court. A simple notebook and pen is far and away my number one secret for gaining productivity and efficiency. While I love a shiny new electronic device, and greatly admire and appreciate the benefits of their time-saving apps, there is something different about putting pen to paper. The act is ritualistic, it is more personal. Taking the time and focus to write on paper actually engages different parts of the brain. If you really want to connect with your thoughts, goals, and plans – write them on paper.

Track the past, organize the present, plan for the future. ~ Ryder Carroll

The Bullet Journal creates a system to enhance productivity rather than just celebrate busyness. The creator of the Bullet Journal system, Ryder Carroll, has produced an overview video of how to use this powerful tool at www.BulletJournal.com. The site provides tips and suggestions for getting organized and improving efficiency. These are critical skills for everyone to have. I am teaching my teenage daughter to start the habit now. As her already-busy life is only going to get more difficult to juggle. My 8-year-old is also in on it. She has a snazzier, smaller notebook she uses, and she fills it with whatever thoughts are floating through her head at that moment. Which is usually fashion related.

The genius of the system is its simplicity. It is clean, basic, and efficient. This is right up my alley! However, if you are that crafty mom whose home is always impressively decorated for each holiday/season, then definitely check out the thousands of YouTube videos and Pinterest pages showing more elaborate spreads and journals. There is literally no limit to how much you can punch up your pages. 

Bullet Journaling will help you:

  • Keep track of the numerous tasks, to-do’s, and follow-ups that are a natural part of mom-life;
  • Keep track of all your important long-term project notes or information;
  • Declutter your mind/thoughts so that you can relax;
  • Track data related to changes you are trying to make in your life (water, exercise, meditation); and
  • Get motivated to get all aspects of your life in order by simplifying and prioritizing what is truly important, versus what is just a distraction.

This last point is perhaps the Bullet Journal system’s greatest strength. It is amazing how many items we will add to our plates that don’t bring us joy or serve our needs, or our families’ needs. In the past, I would continue to add projects, favors, and activities to my life to the point of exhaustion before scaling it back. I haven’t had that problem since I began journaling.

The journaling makes it very clear what can really be accomplished, and what can’t. The most immediate effect of consistent journaling is balance and peace. As wonderful as we all are (and I am blessed to know and love some truly amazing women in my life), we cannot do it all, nor should we aim to.

This life is meant to be cherished. Do what brings you joy, and make your mark in the world in the way you want to. Remove any distraction that keeps you farther away from achieving the life you want to live.

The biggest hurdle I hit when I started doing a bullet journal was getting over the desire for “pretty,” and not letting the pressure to be perfect stop me from starting at all. I had to accept and embrace the messy. In the beginning, my pages were very organized and even had a touch of some creative finesse. Now, they are a hot mess. But they still work – and take me a whole lot less time!

Remember, this is a tool to help you be more productive and efficient, not slow you down. So, grab a notebook (almost any type will do), a great pen (this part I highly recommend, I’m a school supply freak), watch the video, and get started!

Amanda is a Wife, Mother and Step-Mother of three girls (and a Doberman), Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney, Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator, Parenting Coordinator, and Business Owner. When not running to court, the office, lacrosse, ballet or tutoring, sometimes she can also be found at Publix or Target. Amanda passionately supports the PACE Center for Girls, Inc. and has been proud to serve PACE Center for Girls - Pasco as a Board member and past Chair for the last five years.