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A Bullet Journal, productive and liberating

2 Apr 2023
by Petra

Less work and more fun and free time. If only it were that easy. Time seems to be getting scarcer and making room for fun things is a real challenge. The distraction we experience in our daily life is increasingly becoming a "must", afraid of disconnecting from our digital life. Just a moment of sustained attention is something we almost don't have. Deeply thinking about something without getting distracted by social media or text messages... How long ago did you experience this?

A Bullet Journal is an excellent way to structure your life here and to reclaim time. "you must be joking! Are you really going to recommend a notebook to me and this will solve my chaos?" I know it sounds strange, but please tell you why this is definitely not a bad idea.

What's going wrong?

Of course we all want to be more productive. And yet that often does not work.

Short term actions

Being distracted from your duties for the day and reacting acutely to whatever comes your way at that moment distracts us from your goals. We have the feeling that we are very busy, with all kinds of short-term actions that we think we need to solve immediately. The feeling that you have a busy day and yet have not achieved anything will seem familiar to many. Being chronically distracted and lack of attention is an ailment of our time. But how do we solve that?

If you cannot pay attention to something, your brain is not processing it and it has no meaning. Recognizing, processing, and giving value to a task or assignment is essential for storing data in our brain.


We often try to do many tasks at the same time. Multitasking seems efficient, but the chaos of continuous switching causes a lot of time loss and errors. Ever sent an "I love you" to your boss while you were on the phone with your partner and composing an email? Multitasking chaos is your pitfall. Concentration only works by focusing on one task that you fulfill to the end.

The solution

All sounds great, but how do you ensure that your head does not wander to all those things you still want to do, and for which there are not enough hours in the day? The best way to stop this wandering of your mind is to write down your incomplete tasks in an external brain.

"Yes bye, you've lost me here! I make enough to do lists! In my phone, in notebooks, or a note in my pocket." Unfortunately, these actions don't count. Our brain is not easily fooled. Dozens of half-finished to-do lists do not yet make a system that our brain trusts. A reliable system ensures that your brain accepts to shift the focus from the total task list to that one task that you will use your full attention for.

A Bullet Journal

If your system is not reliable, it will keep grinding. This is where the bullet journal comes into view. This is a complete system in which you log all your appointments, thoughts, to do lists, sketches, and diagrams. This makes it a reliable external brain.

In addition to your diary, your Bullet Journal, also known lovingly as a Bujo, is a place where you can collect short-term to-dos, but possibly also a list of long-term tasks. Write down your mood or how many glasses of water you drink per day in a handy graph, or make a list of urgent to do's and a list of long-term chores. There really is no limit to what you might want to record, but transfer it from your head to paper.

Why does this work?

So now we have a booklet in which we structure our lives. What is the special magic that makes this all work and the lists become effective? Surely there are enough options to make my plans online in combination with extensive calendars?

The magic is in our handwriting. Just write it down in the old fashioned way. Handwriting is superior to typing in terms of memory recall. In fact, it's twice as good! While typing is an excellent way to record information, writing is more effective when you want to remember something. Typing can be quite thoughtless. You write it down, but you don't store it in your memory. How many times have you made a note in your phone and never look at it again? Enough proof you would say.

We have to transform information in some way so that our long-term memory stores it. Handwriting helps to such an extent that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down!

But what about my creativity?

But isn't our handwritten schedule terribly stifling to our creativity and access to time? Structure offers the creative person more space, because good planning and a goal ensure that you control your work more and leave space for free thought and creativity. A carefree mind that does not wander and is full of burdensome thoughts and emotions about things to do is also much more creative. Creative expression, time management, planning, goal setting, reflection. Your journal becomes your pocket-sized life coach.

Are you ready to live a life with less stress and distraction, and more efficiency? Grab your Journal, take some time and take back control. Your Bujo is patient and has all the answers.

The example photos in this blog were taken using an X17 travel journal. Copyright X17.

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