In this post, I go over some of the bullet journal mistakes one makes that affects productivity. That feeling of ticking off a task is one of the best feelings ever! The bullet journal method helps you keep track of these tasks and gives you that visual satisfaction of having done something productive during your day. However, sometimes you might feel that no matter how much you use your bullet journal to get organised and stay on top of all your tasks, you’re just not being able to reach that level of productivity that a method like this is supposed to help you achieve.

Let’s take a look at some of the small things you might be doing that are keeping you from achieving that.

Too much planning, not enough doing

This has happened to me more often than I care to admit. I’ll spend so much time making spreads and moving tasks from one day to another, planning projects and assigning deadlines that keep getting pushed, while not really sitting down to focus and complete those tasks. 

Just because it’s in the bullet journal, doesn’t mean it’s going to complete itself. That’s a big mistake. Spend ten minutes planning and then crack on with the tasks.

You’ve got too many goals

It’s great to have goals! It gives your life a purpose and you some direction. However, they can get overwhelming and when we set way too many unrealistic goals for ourselves, it can be disheartening.

Take a look at each goal you’ve set for yourself and ask how important it is to you. Is it something you really want to achieve? Why? What’ll happen if you don’t? If you’re not able to answer these questions in a satisfactory manner, it’s probably not worth it.

Then, once you’ve narrowed down on the goals you want to achieve, think about how you can turn them into SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Your tasks are too vague

Sometimes I find myself writing down tasks that are too vague (or too large that they’re almost a goal). It’s possible that these vague tasks actually involve a few smaller tasks that need to be completed and that vague task in itself is more like a project.

If you’ve got a task like ‘redecorate my room’, that’s going to be tough to achieve if you don’t know where to start. Also, it’s not something you can do in a day’s time. You need to break it down into smaller tasks that you can complete bit by bit. These tasks need to be action-based. I generally find that including a verb in the task helps identify better what needs to be done to finish that task.

You ONLY use a Bullet Journal

I said this in my previous post as well. A bullet journal can only get you so far and help you in only so many places to be productive. You need to use other tools such as a Google calendar to help you stay productive.

Think about what else you can use to help you reach that optimum level of productivity. If you struggle with focusing, maybe use a Pomodoro timer or the Ivy Lee method. Add other tools on top of your bullet journal to be more effective.

You set up spreads in advance

Setting up weekly spreads in advance can be fun, you get to decorate your spreads based on themes and make it look all pretty. But predefining space in your bullet journal can do more harm than good. What happens when your tasks don’ fit in the designated area? Or when you have no tasks at all and that leaves a big blank space on half the page. 

Try switching to making your dailies on a rolling basis so that you maintain the flexibility to really write down as much or as little as you want, and give yourself space to think and ideate. 

Still, want to decorate? Use the margins on the top or the left so that you still have flexibility in terms of space as you write left to right and top to bottom.

I write the tasks for the day, and make the heading for the next day, only after the current day is complete

I write the tasks for the day, and make the heading for the next day, only after the current day is complete

You’re being too hard on yourself

A bullet journal can be used for all the right reasons but for all the wrong reasons as well. If you’re only using your bullet journal for things that are stressful and that don’t get you excited, you’re probably being too hard on yourself. 

Your bullet journal could be a space where you enjoy spending time, and that will get you excited to get work done. Use your bullet journal to write about why a task is important to you and what are the little things you can do in your day to help that get done. When you find your ‘Why’ power and use your bullet journal for the right reasons you’ll find yourself being more productive.

I should also add here that a bullet journal is not meant to be for productivity, it’s meant to be for mindfulness. Being mindful about the thoughts that come in your head and the things that you choose to do will help you be the best version of yourself.

What are some of the mistakes you feel like you’re making in your bullet journal? Where are you struggling with it? Let me know in the comments below.