Have you started a bullet journal to help you get things done? There’s much more you can do with this notebook than stay organized and keep track of your to-dos. These inspirational bullet journal ideas will help you get the most out of everyone’s favorite management tool.
Plan Your Next Vacation
Vacations you and your family will remember forever don’t fall from the sky. They require some careful planning. Utilize your bullet journal to create a travel planning spread. Here are some of the best ways to organize that trip.
Map Out the Trip
Taking a trip around Europe? Draw a map (or copy one, thanks, Google!) and add stars for the places you visit. A travel map is more than just a beautiful visual representation of your trip because you can add sights, museums, and attractions you want to do at each location to your map.
When you arrive, you can check each off to ensure you don’t miss out on anything during your stay.
Travel Budget & Expenses
A budget is a must-have before you take any trip. Figuring out how much accommodation, travel, and attractions will cost ahead of time is a smart move. First, create a budget, then go online to find the best deals and pick your favorite restaurants you want to visit.
Nothing beats looking back at a diary entry you wrote while sitting at a bar overlooking the ocean or your first night camping out in the forest. Write about what you did, ate, and the people you met so your future self will remember how it felt.
A packing list is one of the more practical ways to use your bullet journal when planning a trip. Exchanging money, buying tickets, and applying for visas all make vacations stressful in their own way, but finding out that you forgot to pack your laptop charger is an added stress you just don’t need when you’re on the other side of the world.
So, create a packing list of everything you need to take months in advance, then packing won’t be something causing you to worry.
Create a Digital Bullet Journal With Obsidian
The smell of a new leather bullet journal is great, but carrying around your life planner just to jot down all your tasks is unnecessary. As is sorting through old journals when you’re looking for something you wrote months ago.
So why not use a digital bullet journal to get all the benefits without the problems?
Obsidian is a new second-brain software, great for time-tracking, note-taking, and project management. It works perfectly as a digital bullet journal. Students and professionals are taking better notes in Obsidian thanks to its templating and linking features. In addition, it’s free and cross-platform, and there are hundreds of free plugins, including one for bullet journaling.
You could organize and prioritize your tasks, write down journal entries, make additional notes, and then sync Obsidian to all your devices, so your bullet journal is always accessible.
Studies show you can reduce stress and anxiety by keeping a gratitude journal or log.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses and business of life, but taking some time out each day to remind yourself how lucky you are is time well spent. Some are even doing an extended period of monk mode, focusing on gratitude and improving themselves.
Simplicity is vital when implementing a gratitude diary. Adding stickers and washi tape to make it aesthetic will make it more inviting, but you should spend most of your time writing.
If you find yourself getting stuck or not knowing what to write, you can use gratitude journal prompts to help you. These prompts either start the sentence for you or ask you a question to help you overcome writer’s block.
- Who made your day better today?
- The thing I enjoyed most today was
A List of Goals
Jim Rohn, who famously said he wasn’t successful until he threw away his list of excuses and made a list of goals, explains why you need a list of goals.
“The major reason for setting goals is to compel you to become the person it takes to achieve them.”
Every bullet journal should contain a list of your goals for the year. Seeing them will compel you to change, but it doesn’t have to be just another boring list. You can make your bullet journal your own by incorporating themes, motifs, or illustrations. Here are some ideas:
- Add your goals to the leaves of a plant growing upwards
- Put your goals in bubbles that float across a two-page spread
- Create stairs with tasks to complete on the way to achieving your goal
Where will you add all these great ideas if you don’t have to-do lists in your bullet journal? It’s time to get organized with a task management and prioritization system all contained within your journal.
Whether you’re following a time management strategy like Getting Things Done or the Pomodoro Method, you can utilize your bullet journal to be more productive and less overwhelmed by adding a to-do list.
Keep your task list at the back of your bullet journal so it’s out of the way, and you can flip to them quickly. Then, prioritize them with a simple ABC system.
- Grocery list
- List of chores
- Project list
- Recurring tasks or daily tasks
- Manage your appointments
Aristotle famously didn’t say (it was Will Durant,) “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” But it’s still valid and worth repeating. Your habits define who you are. So if you want to be better, you need better habits.
In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg details the processes involved in habit forming and maintenance. If you want to understand the complexities, that’s the book to read. On the other hand, if you just want a quick trick to make you stick to your habits, a habit tracker is all you need.
Habit trackers are simple to set up, especially if you go for a minimal tracker. Here’s how to set one up in minutes that can track as many habits as you like.
- List the dates down the margin (e.g., 1-28 if it’s February)
- Write your habits across the top of the page
That’s it! If you made your habit that day, just put an “x” where it intersects with the date.
A mood tracker is more than just a way to reflect on which days you were happy and which days you weren’t. If you use it correctly, you can diagnose your moods and find powerful strategies to spend more of your time in a better mood.
You don’t need to track your moods indefinitely. However, after 2-4 weeks, you should be able to find what is causing your mood swings. So create two two-page spreads, one week per page.
- In the margin, add the days of the month
- Leave a single column blank.
- Along the top, add “M,” “A,” and “E” in the following three columns to track your mood for morning, afternoon, and evening.
- Next, add activities to track your mood against (see below.)
The real magic of the mood tracker comes not from just tracking your mood but from what you track your mood against. Using the tracker, you can add a smiley, angry face or sad face, etc., to track your mood. But next to it, you track factors that may affect your mood, such as:
- Alcohol consumption
- A specific hobby
- Meeting a family member or friend
If you look back after tracking for a few weeks and see you always feel down on days you skip your workout or meet a particular family member, you have your diagnosis!
When you’re getting after it and focused, spending an hour three times a day to make a gourmet meal is a productivity killer! Meal planning is the answer.
The last thing you want to do is let your diet and nutrition slip simply because you’re focused on work. By spending a little time at the start of the week, you can plan your meals and make them healthy and tasty.
Create a meal plan spread in your bullet journal:
- Open up a blank two-page spread.
- Divide each page into four boxes (eight across the two pages.)
- Title them Mon, Tue, Wed, etc.
- In the eighth box, write three bulk meals you will make at the start of the week.
- Using the three dishes, fill in the week’s meals.
Using the weekly plan, you’ll know how many portions you need for each dish.
The most important habit for both our bodies and minds is exercise. You know you should do it, but skipping a day (or a month!) without reminders is easy. Using an exercise planner will help you stay consistent.
Use Matt D’Avella’s “two-day rule” for sticking with your exercise program. The two-day rule is so simple anyone can use it, and you only need to remember one thing:
- Never skip two days in a row.
The rule is beautiful in its simplicity and sophisticated enough to give you the flexibility that life requires and the motivation we all need. If you need a day off, you can take it, but you must get after it again the next day.
You can set this up in a bullet journal easily:
- Create a two-page calendar spread for the month
- Add a big “X” every day you workout
- Never let two days go by without an “X.”
Long before your favorite productivity guru was known, Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets improved.”
While you’ve probably heard this saying before, you likely didn’t realize just how powerful this statement is. You don’t need a new app, a management consultant, or to read a new expert’s book to improve an aspect of your life. Instead, start simply by tracking it.
Staying hydrated is a crucial habit for anyone who wants to optimize. Its benefits extend to focus, concentration, energy, digestive issues, and even strength levels. But no matter how good it is for you, you still forget to drink enough water.
According to Drucker, all you need to do is measure how much you drink each day. That’s it. And you’ll start to improve.
Grab your journal and title a new spread, “H2O Tracker.” If you’re artistic and have blue pens, you could add water bubbles around the edge of the page.
Split the spread into seven boxes, one for each day of the week. Then every time you drink some water, jot it down in your journal on the appropriate day. Find out if measuring your intake increases it.
Go Grab Your Journal
With all these bujo ideas, all that’s left is to bring out the stationary and your journal and start creating some new two-page spreads! And remember, no matter what the #bulletjournal tag on Instagram tells you, your bullet journal doesn’t need to be a work of art.
This article originally appeared on Savoteur.
Originally from the U.K, Greg has lived in Asia for over 15 years. Fluent in a handful of languages, he ran a management consultancy before creating FaceDragons, a site dedicated to facing challenges and getting stronger. He travels around Asia, writing, taking photos, and drinking coffee.