What Are Bullet Journals and How Do They Save You Time?

What Are Bullet Journals and How Do They Save You Time?

Journaling has been around for centuries in one form or another, and time management has been a hot topic for several decades. However, in recent years, a method has surfaced that has taken the world of journaling, planning and time management by storm.

A bullet journal is a minimalist planning tool that starts with a blank page with a grid pattern or tiny dots. But how exactly can a bullet journal save you time? Let’s dive in.

Bullet Journal History

A Brooklyn, New York man named Ryder Carrol developed the bullet journal years ago when he needed a simple minimalist planning and time management method. Carrol discovered that using a small journal and bullet points helped him manage his time, stay productive and be more organized. For his journal, Carrol takes a minimalist approach, but you can be as creative as you want to be in your bullet journal.

Everything in One Place

Most time management gurus suggest that having one time management tool is the key to maximum productivity. If you’re switching between several different tools or planners, it defeats the purpose of efficient time management practices. Also, in today’s mobile workforce, having everything in one place makes it easier for you to pick up and go quickly if you need to.

In your bullet journal, you can track your appointments, books you’re reading, habits, future and current projects, and even practice mindfulness with a gratitude log. Your bullet journal can also serve as a place to brain dump and track your moods. One of the best things about using a bullet journal for time management is that you can make it work for you. Whether you keep a paper journal or use a digital app like Elisi, the bullet journal system is completely customizable.

Lean Time Management and Bullet Journaling

With Lean time management, the idea is to look for the simplest solution to any problem. Lean also takes into consideration things like affordability and flexibility. A bullet journal is one of the most flexible and cost-effective time management methods available. Essentially, for the cost of a journal and pen, you’re ready to start being more productive immediately. If you use an app for your journaling, you’ll save even more time and have your bullet journal with you everywhere you go.

The bullet journal was built to be Lean. On Ryder Carrol’s home page, it says specifically that bullet journaling will teach you to do more with less.

Kaizen and Bullet Journaling

The Sino-Japanese word for “continuous improvement” is Kaizen. In personal time management, Kaizen employs the strategy of continuously tweaking, changing or improving your technique to adapt to life and work changes. The more you use your bullet journal, the more efficient you become.

Waste Elimination

When you’re trying to put a new time management method to work, it’s too easy to spend hours creating a system that may not even be optimal for your needs. When you’re using a bullet journal, you have a straightforward method that can shift and change with you. If a layout isn’t working for you this week, simply try a different one next week.


One of the most significant ways keeping a bullet journal saves you time is through migration. In short, if you don’t finish a task one day, you migrate it to the next day or another day in the week or month.

At the beginning of each new month, simply migrate the unfinished tasks from last month into the new month’s task list.

Final Thoughts

We live in a world that is overrun with time management techniques. Any system will work if you know how to use it effectively, but nothing out there is more agile and simple than a bullet journal for managing your time.