Incredible Productivity System: Bullet Journal

Starting with my first Franklin Planner in 1995, I have been engaged in a seemingly endless quest to develop the perfect productivity and organizational system.

The Franklin system was truly spectacular. I was working in Silicon Valley at the time, and taking the introductory class from a real FP trainer was required after you got hired. It didn’t take long to see why. The class was two full days long, and it laid out a simple and elegant paper-based methodology for organizing and tracking everything in your life – from appointments to tasks to random thoughts and ideas.

I used it religiously. Right up to the point when I bought my first Palm device in 1999. With it I was able to sync my calendar with the device, and that made the entire calendar function in the FP redundant and ultimately unnecessary.

Then I found GTD – David Allen’s methodology, which had a huge impact on my productivity, and I started using various paper-based and electronic methods of tracking notes, tasks, and projects.

None of which worked particularly well. I even used the GTD add-in for Outlook. It was good but not great.

Then last fall when I stated my current job I decided to go completely paperless, and use a combination of Evernote, OneNote, and Omnifocus to keep track of everything.

My “system” worked ok for a while, but I found that having information in different tools was too cumbersome to maintain, and that it was easier to take notes in meeting with pen and paper.

So I started searching for yet another better way to stay organized. My search was complicated by the fact that I have a day job, a rental business, a wholesaling business, a tech startup, and two other smaller businesses that I run and need to keep track of, preferably all in one place.

Then I happened to find Bullet Journal.

The creator of the system calls it “An analog note-taking system for the digital age”, and describes it as something

For the list-makers, the note-takers, the Post-It note pilots, the track-keepers, and the dabbling doodlers. Bullet journal is for those who feel there are few platforms as powerful as the blank paper page. It’s an analog system for the digital age that will help you organize the present, record the past, and plan for the future.

The key to the system is what the creator calls “Rapid Logging”. It’s similar to David Allen’s concept of clearing your mental ram. He describes it like this:

At the heart of the Bullet Journal is a method called “Rapid Logging”. Rapid Logging allows you to quickly capture and parse all the different types of data we’re trying to digest on a daily basis. This technique provides insights that can help you identify what’s important and weed out the things that aren’t. Figuring that out will help focus your time and energy much more effectively. It’s the difference between being busy and being productive.

I’ve been using it now for two months and it has exceeded my expectations. If you’re looking for a better way to stay organized, I highly recommend that you give it a look.

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I'm a real estate investor in Metro Detroit.

My primary focus right now is wholesaling, but I also own a portfolio of profitable rental properties. And I work a full time day job.