5 Practices I Follow Consistently After Reading The Bullet Journal Method
Every time I read The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll, I come away with a new nugget of insight that changes my mindset around my creative practice.
Most people will read a book, put it back on the shelf, and never think about it again. This used to be me too until I started to actively take notes on what I read, starting with The Bullet Journal Method.
This book changed how I think about journaling, writing things down, and regularly reflecting on my life. So much so, I decided to write this article!
Here are the top 5 practices I learned from reading The Bullet Journal Method that I apply to my life every day:
Practice 1: Control
Worrying about deadlines, appointments, and tasks can leave you feeling paralyzed.
All this attention residue builds up in your mind if it’s not managed properly. Over time this causes fatigue and can even lead to burnout.
Knowing what you can change begins with defining what you can control.
By identifying what’s in your control and forgetting about the things you can’t control, you’ll reclaim your attention and be able to focus on what’s important to you.
This was a powerful mindset shift for me and it’s something I remind myself of every day.
Practice 2: Endurance
It can take anywhere from a few months to 10 years + to become “an overnight success” as a creator.
Most people can’t stick it out because, especially at the beginning, it seems like you’re posting into the void and no one is seeing what you’re creating.
The most successful creators I know are in it for the long term and can endure the endless challenges that come with growing online.
The way to keep your endurance? Connect your work to a powerful purpose.
For instance, I hate getting up early in the morning for work but I know that work puts food on the table and allows me to pursue things like my creative practice.
If you can connect the work you do some intrinsic meaning, you’ll start to enjoy your work. When you can enjoy your work, this gives you increased motivation to keep going when things are tough.
If you’re struggling with this, write down the main thing you don’t want to do right now because you have no motivation to work on it.
Underneath that, list out all the benefits doing this thing will bring. Will it give you money to buy groceries? Will it help out a person you care about?
Practice 3: Goal Setting
Setting goals is important as it allows you to make progress towards things you want to achieve in life.
Whether it’s training for a 5k race or learning a new language, goals are a great way to focus you and to help you make progress step by step.
Without a goal or a purpose, you’re like a rudderless ship sailing aimlessly at the mercy of the tide.
There can be so much more to goal setting than meets the eye but I’ll keep it simple for the purposes of this article.
Start simply by writing out 1-2 long-term goals you want to do over the next 2-5 years. If this sounds overwhelming, reduce the time to 1 year or less.
As part of the goal write down the various parts of the goal that you need to achieve to call the goal completed.
Break these parts down into small enough chunks that you can work on them each day/week until you’ve completed your goal.
If you’d like more help on goal setting, here’s another article I wrote that you’ll find useful: Don’t Get Overwhelmed By Your Goals – Keep It Simple.
Practice 4: Kaizen Mindset
Kaizen is a Japanese word that means “improvement” or “change for better”.
It’s a powerful mindset shift that changed my whole approach to projects, goals, and self-improvement in general.
The framework for improvement is:
- Plan - plan a change
- Do - put the plan into action
- Check - analyze the results
- Act - act on what you’ve learned
This isn’t something you do once and forget about. This is a continual cycle that repeats. With each new cycle, you learn from and improve upon what you did before.
To learn from a project or a task you just completed, set aside some time and do a retrospective.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What didn’t work?
- What did work?
- What can I improve on next time?
These 3 questions will be the most powerful toolkit in your arsenal if you can take something from each section and apply it to your next project.
Practice 5: Reflection
As you constantly move from project to project, day to day, it’s hard to remember to stop and reflect.
Without taking stock of where you’re at right now, you won’t learn from your experiences which means you’ll make the same mistakes over and over again.
Regular reflection of your life and work is important to ensure a healthy and fulfilling life. It helps you to be intentional with how you spend your time and helps to clarify the things that are most important to you.
Depending on what works for you, you can set up the following times for reflection in your calendar:
- Daily reflection - One in the morning and/or one in the afternoon or evening.
- Weekly reflection
- Monthly reflection
- Quarterly reflection
- Yearly reflection
I go into more detail about each of these types of reflection in this article: Why Regular Reflection Can Help You Become More Productive
The top 5 practices I learned from reading The Bullet Journal Method that I apply to my life every day:
- Goal Setting
- Kaizen Mindset