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Ultra-Streamlined Style for bullet journal

I might have a little time here and there to do creative designs with my journal. But usually I just need it to help manage the day. What's the fastest way to manage a bullet journal? As with many things in life, it depends. Let me offer an overview of the Universal Journal ultra-streamlined style.


The Universal Journal style intends to help you spend as little time as possible setting up and using your bullet journal. It's counter productive to get burned out on a tool that's supposed to help you avoid burning out. This graphic recaps the basics. Check out some other posts on the topic. Bullet Journal Ultra-StreamlinedEfficient workflowDecluttering your JournalStreamlined Color CodingPrintables
Thanks for visiting Universal Journal. Got any minimalist ideas you'd like to share with the rest of us? Please comment here.

How to avoid overloading your schedule

At the time of this post, it's Summer where I live. Vacation season. As I returned to my day job after a few days at the beach, a question occurred to me: why do people need vacation?

bullet journal avoid overloaded schedule

Ever thought about that? There are several directions we could take with this, but let's just stick with one at the moment. The need is real. I'm not talking about the stuff that happens, the routines, and stresses that lead to your need for a vacation. I'm talking about the need itself, the hunger to get away from it all.

The neurons in your brain don't care about vacation. They keep functioning regardless of where you are (if they're not burned out). They don't even know where you are. But YOU need a vacation, and I do, and we all do. There is more going on in our heads than just the brain. There is also the mind. Your mind is not a material thing, like your brain. It is metaphysical. But it needs rest as much as the brain does. The mind shows us there is more to the world than what can be physically measured. Common experience shows you are more than a body; you are also a soul.

And just like your body needs exercise, nourishment, rest, etc., so does your soul. That's the whole purpose of vacations. That's why you need them - to rest your soul, at least a little, with a refreshing respite from the regular grind of life.

A vacation is one way to help your soul. But a vacation, be definition, is temporary. Your soul needs exercise and nourishment regularly, just as your body does. That's one the purposes of a schedule: to organize the stuff you have to do so you don't go crazy (or more crazy than you already are).

One aspect of the Bullet Journal method that attracts many people is that it is a cathartic, creative outlet. Therapy in palm of your hand, without the negative side effects of consuming chemicals. Even without the visual creativity of artistic journaling, the act of intentional writing is itself therapeutic in its way.

One of my guiding tenets for life is the rule of positive momentum. You gotta do something for yourself each day, if possible. Not merely something you enjoy; something you love (another metaphysical dynamic to life). But to do that, you may have to actually make time for it. Some people really are that busy. Which brings us back to scheduling.

It's been said children go after only what they see, but adults make a plan and follow through. A related bit of advice mentions living life treading water. You know what happens if treading water is your only option? Eventually, you drown. To rise above the day to day and actually live life, that requires bigger thinking.

And how do you think bigger? That requires having a better handle on the bigger picture of life. And you need a map of the bigger picture to do that. That's what my bullet journal is for me. It keeps track of all sorts of things that would otherwise be a chaotic mess in my head because all those details can be written down in an orderly fashion where I can see it and find it when needed. Trying to keep it all in my head just damages my calm. Keeping a record helps me prioritize, organize, plan ahead, and implement my day, week, month responsibly. Order is also therapeutic.

So how does one do this?

Good question. The answer is: your mileage may vary. What you need to keep in your journal is entirely up to you. But Sheena at SheenaoftheJournal.com has some good advice: "How to create a schedule you don't hate". What's her trick? Negotiating with yourself. Check out her post.

What advice do you have on avoiding overload? Comment here and please subscribe!

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Minimalist Bullet Journal Future Log Workflow

So you've spent some time building your bullet journal layouts and getting yourself organized. But it's just not quite working like you want it to. What's going on here? As is often the case, the what to do is only part of the question. How to do it is another. This is the first in a series of an amalgam between design and technique. Let's take a look at future log workflow.


In this ultra-streamlined approach to bullet journaling, it's not only the layouts and designs that are minimalist, but the techniques for using the system as well. The flow of your tasks, appointments, etc. from one module to another can be tricky. Or it can be simple. It's all a matter of how you manage these things.

In my journal, most items end up in the daily log for the day I intend to handle them. That may or may not happen on the actual day assigned but the most important thing is I don't lose track of stuff. The daily log is the last stage of a task/event filtering technique. T…

Streamlined Weekly Log

Not everyone uses a weekly log in their bullet journal. For those who do, here are three variants on one streamlined design. Each is an elegant 6 column spread with plenty of room for daily tasks an ample space for other information.


Variant 1: by kerrystudies on tumblr

Variant 2: by northernplanner on instagram

Variant 3: by u/ghostsco on reddit

Do you have other ideas for a weekly log? Comment here and be sure to subscribe!


DIY Add a paper pocket to your journal

Got a plain old notebook? There are plenty of options out there and you may not find one with all the features you like. But journalers are already familiar with customizing their journals and we tend to like that. Here's a super easy DIY option for a pocket.


Not everyone needs a pocket in their journal. If you want a pocket but don't have one, here is a very simple method using one Legal or A4 size sheet of paper and double-sided tape. (Affiliate links included.)



The Universal Journals are printed by Lulu.com Any print on demand service will be limited compared to a traditional printer. As capable as Lulu.com is (with quick turn around, worldwide availability, lots of product options for customers, and more), there are lots of things journalers might want in their Universal Journal that Lulu just can't do. At least not at this time. But this also makes for ideal customization. Make it your own.

Got any other ideas for adding a pocket to a book? Comment here. Be sure to su…