I tried the ultimate productivity hack over Christmas and now I’m weirdly addicted.

There is a golden rule when it comes to organisation and productivity hacks:  You shouldn’t spend more time organising a task than actually doing said task.

For instance, if it takes you 10 minutes to write your to-do list and five minutes to complete it, you probably didn’t need that list.

The bullet journal defies this.

And yet it’s addictively fun, and currently taking the internet by storm… and I spent a good amount of my Christmas break filling in my diary in preparation for 2018.

I have no regrets.

You see, somewhere in-between consuming my seventh Lindt ball and the second Christmas lunch food coma (which shall heretofore be called a festive afternoon snack) I realised that bullet journalling was what I needed to get my life intip-topp order for 2018.

You see throughout 2017 I had been on the sidelines of this productivity trend, nay movement, no… lifestyle.

There’s an entire Instagram hashtag dedicated to the most perfect drawn-out planner pages, complete with Future Logs, Habit Trackers, and Daily Logs – these terms probably don’t make much sense to you yet, but oh… just wait.

The 'future log' portion of my journal. Image supplied.

YouTubers have also cottoned onto the wave, with videos upon videos of people sharing how they've set up their Bullet Journals.

It's kind of consumed my life, and in my double-digit prawn and oyster infused daze (awful imagery, sorry), I finally made the leap, and you can too.

LISTEN: Monique Bowley shares her 'Tabless Thursday' productivity hack, on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues after audio.


Firstly... what is it?

Created Ryan Carrol in Brooklyn, originally it way to stream-line your thoughts and action-items into one, fully-customisable notebook, allowing you to use the space as an agenda, diary, budget log, scrap book, wedding /meal/ renovation planner, recipe collector or Sunday sodoku puzzle collector.

You get the jist, it's all up to you.

The diary itself comes mostly blank, with the exception of a Table of Contents and numbered pages - so you can track what goes where.

To those that regard the blank notebook with a little bit of fear and deserved reverence this is a bit intimidating, but there is a method to its madness.

While you can easily convert any notebook into a bullet journal, in the bullet journaling community (it's 100% a thing) notebooks from Leuchtturm1917 are mostly used.

However, be warned: they're definitely on the pricier side, starting at $35. Also, I personally found the pages to be prone to bleeding - not great if you plan on using felt-tip markers.

How do you do it?

Now that you have your notebook, there are a few key components when it comes to Bullet Journaling.

Rapid logging - the foundation of the original bullet journal concept is that you have a dedicated space as a catch-all for your to-dos, reminders and notes - anything and everything goes. The idea is to get it from inside your head to paper.


From this you can assign what needs to be done, what becomes irrelevant, ideas to actualise, and events to note, and there are specific symbols you're asked to follow.

You can view the Bullet Journal website for more information.

While they don't all have to be elaborate masterpieces in Mari Kondo-esque organisation or stunning pieces of illustration, it's definitely part of its appeal.

Despite this, there's a bit of irony in the fact that what once originated as a productivity hack now prides itself on beautifully designed pages that are anything but time-saving.

However, at its core it still remains a 'whatever floats your boat' kind of situation. Use it in the way that will benefit you the most.

Tell me more...

Once you have the basics down-pat there are soooo many options and way to make YOUR bullet journal your own. Speaking from personal experience, aka these past few days, it's paralysing. Seriously.

For my personal journal I've included a Habit Tracker, a 2018 goals section, Future Log, monthly at-a-glance page, and a typical two-page weekly spread with a space for writing out daily events and an opposite page for Rapid Logging.

The beauty is you can track each section in the Index so it doesn't matter if your actual diary goes from February Rapid Log to a permission slip checklist because it's all been accounted for.

Other creative ideas include - a budgeting section, a page for monthly intentions - perfect for the mood boarder, a mood or mental health tracker, specific pages for dedicated lists - like a generic grocery shopping list, or go-to recipes.


And what happens if you muck up a page? Well... do as I did and yank that sucker right out. Out of sight, out of mind.

The key is to remember that the system is a learning experience that gets better the more you use it and realise what works for you.

Does it work?

So, not even a day into 2018, setting out my Bullet Journal while passively watching Parks and Recreation on Stan was therapeutic and oddly addictive, even though my art skills were sub-par.

While committed users say that they've gained increased accountability and use the bullet journal as a creative outlet,  and benefit from tracking moods and behaviours, the major pitfall is that you spend so much time creating the darn thing, to only lose motivation three weeks into 2018.

New year, new journal, new me. Image supplied.

But you know what? Come 2018, I'm going to give it my best try, if not for the existing time I've already invested into the book, but also if used correctly it could become a one-size fits all, agenda, diary, doodle pad and portable mood-board of sorts.

I'll report back sometime in April.

Have you actually tried out the Bullet Journal method? What are you thoughts? Tell us below!

LISTEN: This week on Mamamia Out Loud, the team discuss Chris Brown's unothordox Christmas present to his daughter, kids and screen time and if you really can 'quit' parenting.