The minimalist bullet journal

The Bullet Journal system

Have you heard of the Bullet Journal? If you haven’t, make sure to check out Ryder Carrolls introduction to the Bullet Journal System.

If you are a planning addict like me I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard of it and chances are you’re already a bullet journalist.

The Bullet Journal Community

The Bullet Journal community grows bigger everyday. More and more dedicated bullet journalists share their beautiful work and I can only love everyone who does it. I fell in love with this smart system and started my first bullet journal about three years ago. I’m still in the learning process and the more I learn about the system the more I love it.

There are so many stunning bullet journals out there. Bullet journal enthusiasts all over the world are sharing their most beautiful spreads and hand lettering on Instagram, Facebook groups and blogs which is such an inspiration. I’m always so grateful for people who share their work and creativity for everyone to be inspired by.

There is just one thing.

If you are a minimalist like me, you want a clean, minimalist bullet journal without ornamented decorations. Sure, there are lots of minimalist bujo spreads out there if you want to get inspired. But I always felt that there was something missing.

Mostly, the bujo artists out there are keen to share their designs but what I’m missing is the stories on the functionality of their bullet journals. Sure, I’m a fan of the beautiful bujos out there. I don’t know about you, but what I would need is some hacks on how to improve the system with smart, minimalist features.

In my search for the ultimate planning system, I have tried to implement a lot of methods that I’ve come across, hacks and tricks to improve my bullet journal and transform it into a nice, clean minimalist one. Today I want to share my most valuable hacks on how to “minimalize” your bullet journal into a wonder of efficiency.

The only hack you need for your minimalist bullet journal

My minimalist planning system

Minimalist bullet journals throughout the web are often examples of beautifully crafted minimalist designs. For me there’s a problem though: The minimalism refers more to the design than to the functionality. In my search for the perfect planning system, I have tried to incorporate the concept of minimalism into the actual functionality of the bullet journal system. I haven’t found the perfect system yet, but the method I currently use and want to share with you today is hopefully a stepping stone towards a more efficient system.

A functional weekly spread once and for all

Do you really need a weekly spread? Every bullet journalist knows what I’m talking about. The weekly spread is an additional spread created by the bullet journal community and isn’t a part of the original system. Some people love it and for others it’s just a waste of space.

For a long time I was not very enthusiastic about the weekly spread. I just didn’t see the point in designing a whole spread for the week when I already had everything written down in the monthly spread.

But then something happened.

how to set up ypur minimalist bullet journal

The “Rule of Three” method

The rule of three is a method to help you focus on what’s important whether it is your monthly, weekly or daily tasks. It works like a charm for me, because it helps me to stay proactive instead of being reactive. This method is a great way to get in the driver’s seat so to speak, and take control of my tasks. Since I’ve started to use this method my bullet journal feels a little more elegant as well.

If you have a goals section and a Master To Do section in your bullet journal, this method works for that as well.

You simply write down the three major tasks or small projects that you have to focus on. If you get those done, you can pat yourself on the shoulder and pour yourself a nice cup of coffee as a reward! Here is how it works:

My monthly spread:

I keep a basic calendar to schedule my meetings and appointments on one page. On the other I outline a plan for the monthly big three. When you have your 3 most important tasks or projects outlined, you get a reminder every time you check your calendar. Soon enough you want those check boxes filled out! It’s kind of satisfying when you realize that you’ve already accomplished those big three tasks on the fifteenth of the month. This is where you pour yourself a glass of wine and watch some Netflix to celebrate!

My weekly spread:

Sunday afternoon is me time! That’s when I sit down with my bullet journal and sketch out a weekly outline and fill in the tasks that I have to accomplish. I divide the weekly page into three different sections: The “big three” section with boxes for the three projects I have to accomplish that week. Later on during the week I break those down into smaller tasks to be part of the Big Threes on the daily spreads.

My daily spread:

I outline half of the page into three boxes for the three big tasks I have to accomplish that day. Then some space to break those three tasks into smaller tasks if neccessary. I also have a notes section where I can do my rapid logging and take notes during the day if I need to.

My daily and my weekly spreads are quite similar to each other, exept the weekly spread has a color coded section for my blog tasks and a small section for notes.

The “minima-list”

During my search for the perfect bullet journal system I have come across some insights. When you first start out, you want to include EVERYTHING in there. But as time goes by, you start to weed out the things that don’t work for you. During my three years of bullet journaling I’ve tried to refine the system so it will work well for me. This is what I’ve done so far:

  • I have kept the modules of the original bullet journal system but I have modified the key and the future log to suit me better.
  • Ironically I’ve added a few components to get the minimalist bullet journal that I have today! The most significant elements are the review section and the “big three” throughout the planning system.
  • I’ve also added a 90-day goals section and a Master To Do list. These are now also part of my basic modules and the big three goes in there as well.
  • The review section I’ve added to my modules is something I have found very helpful. I keep a weekly review and go through everything that did and didn’t work during the week. Since I started my weekly review sections I can go back and make improvements as I go along.

If you’re curious about how the Big Three system would work for you,I’ve set up a couple of
free templates for you to start with as a workbook. If you enjoy them you can later add them
to your bullet journal system. Enter your name and e-mail below and download the free templates!

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