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How I Use My Bullet Journal For Productivity

I’ve been using the bullet journal system since 2015. And today I thought I will share how I use my bullet journal for productivity. I’ll be sharing how I plan out my spreads and make sure that each page works best for me. 

Bullet Journal quickly became an important part of my life. It became my tool in creating better to-do list, maximizing my limited time and managing all sides of my life whether it be personal, work or blog.

I used to be disorganized when it comes to my thoughts. I am a chronic list maker so I create lists in different notebooks without me knowing where to turn to next. I’d tried just about every planner, calendar, and time management system out there. 

But nothing can beat the peace and sanity a bullet journal brought in my life.

Here’s how I use my bullet journal for productivity.


Bullet Journal Supplies

Opposed to popular belief, bullet journal is not a notebook but rather a system or framework of writing things down. You can actually start a bullet journal using any notebook you have, whether it be lined, grid or dotted. 

However, if you feel like investing in your tools I highly recommend purchasing a notebook that you really like. 

Throughout the years I have changed notebook to notebook but the one I always go back to is the Leuchtturm 1917.

It may be pricey but the quality of paper is really good. Plus, I use one bullet journal throughout the year since it has 250 pages which makes it practical.

An alternative if you don’t want to spend Php 1200 for a single notebook are the Muji dotted and even the Veco from National Bookstore.

You also need pens to write. My favorite has always been Pilot G-Tec in .4 or .3 but now I transitioned to Muji Pen in .38. 

Color-coding is something that will increase your productivity using the bullet journal system so if you can, buy a pack of highlighters or pens in different colors as well.

Lastly is a ruler. For someone like me who cannot draw straight lines, a ruler is always handy to have.

In a nutshell, bullet journal productivity supplies you need:

  • A notebook
  • Pen
  • Colored highlighters
  • Ruler (optional)

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_Here are some pages/pics of my #2019bulletjournalsetup ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ _⁣⁣ I kept everything as simple, minimalist and functional as much as possible. Reading @rydercarroll @bulletjournal The Bullet Journal Method gave me so much insight on how to best implement the system in my life. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ _⁣⁣ “Bujoing” is so therapeutic for me. I like to release what is on my mind. Jot down everything I need to do, I plan to do and I wish I can do. I am really happy with my set up this year. Hopefully, I can keep the clean approach throughout 2019.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ _⁣⁣ Big thanks to my favorite bujoist here on Instagram @mabujork @nerdwithnotes @aina.kristina for the daily dose of inspirations. ⁣ ⁣ _⁣ #bujo #bulletjournal #bulletjournalph #bujoph #planningcommunity #bujobasics #2019bulletjournal #bulletjournalsetup #planwithme #bulletjournalcommunity
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Bullet Journal Productivity Layout Ideas

Once your bullet journal supplies are ready, the next thing is the spreads you will use.

I highly recommend watching the original bullet journal video published by the creator himself, Ryder Carrol. Or better yet, purchase his book The Bullet Journal Method. I was able to get mine when I went to Malaysia last November.

Here are the basic layouts you need in your Bullet Journal:

  1. Index. The Index is just like your normal Table of Contents. It is used to locate every content you have in your bullet journal by inserting the topic and page numbers. This definitely goes in the beginning of your notebook.
  2. Future Log. The Future Log is where you write down every key events or tasks you have that is set to happen in the future. Treat this as a storage of events that fall outside of the current month.
  3. Monthly Log. Every start of a new month, you need to prepare a Monthly Log that provides an overview of the events and tasks that are set to happen in the current month. THis functions are your monthly mental inventory. Also read: 12 Minimalist Bullet Journal Monthly Layout Ideas
  4. Daily Log. Every new day in the Bullet Journal gets an entry. The Daily Log serves as a depository of your to do lists and thoughts throughout the day. Others, like me, prefer a Weekly Log instead wherein there is an overview of the week followed by the daily logs. 
  5. Collections. Collections are basically related content in your notebook. These are special pages for lists you may have such as Books To Read, Movies To Watch, Favorite Recipes, etc.

How I Use My Bullet Journal For Productivity

Using the bullet journal for productivity takes a lot of trial and error. You don’t really find the one that works for you at once. It takes a lot of research for inspiration, a lot of revisions and reflections before you feel confident with what you have. 

My Planning Process 

Every new month, I make sure that I review the previous month. I reflect by listing and asking the following:

  • What were the most memorable part of the month?
  • What were the three biggest lessons of the month?
  • Am I happy with how I spent my time?
  • How am I different this month compared to last month?
  • Gratitude - Things I am grateful for
  • What can I improve on next month?
  • Overall Rating

Based on the outcome of the monthly reflection, I then move on to plan my new Monthly Log. I reserve to full pages for this. One, for the appointments and deadlines and the second for tasks and goals. 

I also divide my monthly layout in two just to accommodate my personal and blog life as well as work. 

So I start with writing down the days of the month and including all the known appointments and deadlines I have for the current month. In case things change or move as the month goes on, I just use a correction tape. 

For my tasks and goals, I simply do a quick brain dump of everything. Just write down what I know needs to get done for the current month in terms of personal and work. In case the page is not enough, I use a sticky note instead.

I try to layout all my weeks in advance because I tend to overlook doing it every single week. I actually change my weekly layouts from month to month because until now, I haven’t had my go-to layout. I don’t know why but I find it hard to find a layout that actually works.

Currently the weekly layout I use is divided into three sections:

  • The weekly schedule which is just a quick overview of the appointments and events for the week. I also include here any important tasks or deadlines I have.
  • The weekly dashboard which includes my focus for the week, goals, tasks and habit tracker. Having this provides me with a reminder that I can turn to every single time so I know I am spending my time well.
  • The daily logs which is where rapid logging begins. What I do is further streamline my week into daily task lists.

Symbols are important when it comes to productivity. I personally use an open box for open tasks, fill-out the box once it is done and use an arrow to migrate to another week. 

Tips in Using Bullet Journal for Productivity

I know it feels harder and harder to plan one’s day productively. It is always a struggle to keep track of everything we have to do, and to plan the things we actually want to do in the future.

This is where a bullet journal comes in. It is an all-in-one system you can use whether it be for tackling your tasks, planning your tomorrow or next month to just random notes and lists you want to do. 

If you plan to use bullet journal for productive here are my tips for you:

1. Be clear about why you want to use the bullet journal system.  Do you want to use the bullet journal system for productivity or just as an avenue for your creativity? Also list down what your bullet journal is for and what it is not. 

For example, in my case, I don’t use the bullet journal system as a diary. It is really meant for productivity such as setting goals, listing tasks, reflecting and so on. I don’t do diary type of entries in my bullet journal.

2. Always go back to basics. If you ever feel overwhelmed with your bullet journal, just go back to basics. Watch the original Ryder Carrol video and follow along how he set up himself to productivity. This is a good baseline to help you increase your productivity as well. 

3. Focus on functionality over design. As tempting it may be to try on the different designs online, focus on functionality first. Make sure that the bullet journal layout answers your needs. 



There are many ways you can use and apply the bullet journal system in your life. 

Whether you are  a student, full-time worker or freelance, the bullet journal can be an effective tool for organizing your time, reaching your goals and designing a life that you want.

The key really is on how you use it. 

You will find so many spread inspirations on Instagram with the use of washi tape, stickers, and other colored materials. This is okay as long as prettifying the pages really help you accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

In my experience, the moment I let go of design and use the system in its purest and simplest form, that’s the only time I was able to be productive. 

Try to find some balance between design and functionality. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, reflect on it and decide if you will continue the spread for the next day, next week or next month.

What makes the bullet journal system great is that it is very forgiving. 

No need to worry in case you don’t like the layout you made, you can always redo it until you feel better.