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3 Handy Bullet Journaling Tools to Enhance Productivity

Risha Khan loves to discover new tools and techniques to enhance productivity. She often looks out for inspirations and ideas.


Most of the time you often neglect yourself to meet your project deadlines. This will adversely affect your health resulting in stress, insomnia, obesity, etc. Some tools offer a convenient method to manage difficult tasks as well as monitoring their progress. This tutorial will guide you about tools that will help you stick to an ideal routine and handle your projects in a better way to lead a productive lifestyle:

Left: Ideal Day Spread  Right: Running Task List (top), Kanban Method (bottom) Image ideas uploaded from Pinterest (@theplantbasedbride,,

Left: Ideal Day Spread Right: Running Task List (top), Kanban Method (bottom) Image ideas uploaded from Pinterest (@theplantbasedbride,,

1. Ideal Day Spread

Planning an ideal daily spread is similar to maintaining a timetable. You must set up an ideal daily routine that goes in sync with your body’s biological clock. This will not only encourage you to stay healthy but will also increase your productivity. You can also chalk out your morning, evening, and night rituals by assigning time slots to them.

There are many variations of using an ideal day spread: -

  • List.
  • Circular (clock design).
  • Vertical bar.

You have the freedom to choose any of the above variations as they only differ in terms of appearance. The main motive of setting up a spread is to make it work for you. The most popular and convenient illustration used by many bullet journal enthusiasts is the vertical bar. Here is how you can design an ideal day spread: -

1) Draw a long vertical rectangle in the middle of your page.

2) Write down the numbers that will display the timeline of your routine.

3) On the left side, write down tasks related to your wellbeing such as workout, skincare regime, etc.

4) On the right side, you can plan your household or work-related chores such as doing the dishes, laundry, preparing meals, meeting with the client, social media usage, etc.

It is just a matter of preference. You can customize your bullet journal as per your needs. You are going to follow this routine throughout the year, so you don’t have to design it every month. The idea behind planning this spread is to maintain the work-life balance.

2. Alastair Method

This method is named after Alastair Johnston. He is a blogger who loves to write about technology and productivity. This method was proposed as an alternative to the future log but you can also implement it to manage your to-do lists.

Before getting started, you must be prepared with your keys. Keys are symbols that help you to set priorities for your tasks and events. Following are some standard suggestions that can be used as keys in your journal: -

  • * - tasks.
  • X – task canceled.
  • T - task completed.
  • > - task migrated/shifted to next week.
  • / - work in progress.
  • O – events.

a) Preparing Future Log

You can use this method for preparing your future log to save space and time. It is also a great money-saving option because you don’t have to invest in calendar stickers and stencils. The future log is generally used to log down events such as birthdays, anniversaries, concerts, holidays, etc.

Setting up a calendar layout can be very time-consuming. Here is how you can design your future log:

1) The first column is dated (D). Now, write down numbers from 1 – 31 below this column.

2) The next column is dedicated to the months.

3) The final column is “Events”. This column will have maximum space to write important information about dates.

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Sample of Future Log using the Alastair Method

You can use your old diary as a reference. Mark the corresponding month with respect to the date and merge them together in the "Events" column. Similarly, plan for the rest of the months on the other side of the page using this method.

DateMonth (January - June)Events



1 Jan: New Year Eve









4 Apr: Easter












8 Feb: Nephew's Birthday







b) Managing your Weekly To-do List

Most people prefer to maintain a weekly list to accomplish their tasks. The Alastair method is also known as "Running Task List" or "Rolling Weekly List". There are chances that some of your tasks will be rolled over (migrated) to the next week for some unavoidable reasons. You must try your best to finish those tasks within a week or a month.

To set up your weekly task list: -

1) Draw seven columns and write the names of the days.

2) The second column is exclusively for your to-do list.

3) Using your keys, you can now prioritize and manage your tasks.

4) When you migrate a task, use the designated key and save it in your upcoming weekly spread.

You will repeat this procedure for the subsequent weeks. You can also implement this method to plan your monthly task list.

Example of Running Task List/Rolling Weekly List

Example of Running Task List/Rolling Weekly List

3. Kanban Method

The term “kanban” is a Japanese word for signboard or billboard. In the 1940s, an industrial engineer named Taiichi Ohno worked for the Toyota company. He invented this method to monitor the manufacturing process of the cars. It is used to manage the workflow of the operations in the industries but you can incorporate it for tracking the progress of projects and assignments.

A project usually goes through many stages such as plan (to do), process (doing), and completion (done). You will need sticky notes to move your tasks through these stages.

  1. Create a table with four columns: to do, plan, process, and complete.
  2. Write down the name of your projects on sticky notes stating the starting date (SD) and completion date (CD).
  3. Place them in the "to-do" column.

As you make progress, move the sticky notes from one column to another. This will help you to keep track of the development of your projects. Deadlines will create an urgency to finish the project within the given time. This will greatly help you to achieve your goals.

Example of using Kanban Method by a blogger


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Introduction to Bullet Journaling


You can also consider the following tools to include in your journal: -

1) Calendex: This method is created by Eddy Hope. It is a combination of calendar and index. You can also think of it as an alternative to the future blog. Sketch out the columns for all the months and pen down the events. Now, mark the page numbers in each month that will serve as an index.

2) Master Task List: This is another variation of your monthly to-do list. You can maintain separate task lists for personal use and work.

3) Life tracker: This is a combination of the habit and mood tracker. You can also keep track of your weight, water intake, sleep cycle, etc.

4) Want/Need List: This list will help you to manage your expenses. Divide your page in half. One side is for your wish list and the other side is for the necessities. You can now make decisions on things you need as well as save money for emergency purposes.


Bullet journal offers you a lot of options to keep track of your habits and personal needs. You can also monitor the progress of your tasks and important projects. Regardless of the format you use, just ensure that the methods have served their purpose. In the comments section, feel free to share the tools you implement to accomplish your tasks.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Risha Khan (author) from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on January 20, 2021:

Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Preeti!! I watch videos on youtube that help me to stay up to date with the trends. I also read articles on bullet journaling that help me in research. Glad that you liked my article.

Preeti Shah from Delhi on January 19, 2021:

Awesome article! Risha

You have highlighted best possible ways to organise our daily routine.

Great work.

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