So What’s the Big Deal Over Dot Journaling?

Thanks to listproducer.com I’ve met a lot of people in the productivity community and the more people I meet the more I find we have in common. We tend to be stationary nerds, who love Marie Kondo and are always looking out for the best way to get organized. So it’s no surprise that the latest to-do trend, that combines a to-do list with a planner and a diary, has become a big success in the productivity community. I’m talking, of course, about dot journaling.

If you don’t know what that is, dot journaling is, simply put, making a lot of bullet point lists. (You’ll quickly find with dot journaling that there’s a lot of overly complex names for simple things.) While I normally think it’s better to keep your lists separate, dot journaling allows you to put all your long and short term goals, as well as daily tasks, into one notebook. And you use a code-type system to keep everything from getting muddled together.

A bullet journal is broken down into modules. You start with your ‘future’ module, which is an overlook at the year ahead. Then you have any ongoing tasks you’d like to track like a reading list or a budget plan. After that you do a big picture view of the month ahead, which includes a monthly task list where you can add bigger tasks that you want to do like clearing out the shed.

Finally, after that you use your dot journal for logging your day-to-day to-dos, tasks and notes. If you’re still not entirely sure of the concept, check out this buzzfeed article, which really helps to break it down for you.

I personally was resistant to trying dot journaling at first, if only because it was kind of too popular (I know, so hipster of me!) But I’ve come to find that it’s popular for a reason. Dot journaling allows you to stay on top of your goals and set good habits, while letting you indulge in the nostalgia of filling in a good old-fashioned notebook. Some people use dot journaling as a kind of creative output, putting a lot of thought and effort into the design of each module. The results can easily be found on Instagram – and they look so pretty!

I do still however, have some hesitations about dot journaling, as I feel it can cause people to trip up on  certain productivity pitfalls. For example, if you’re easily overwhelmed by too many tasks or goals or if you get a bit too sucked into making pretty, new lists, instead of actually doing those tasks – it might be better for you to customize your approach to dot journaling.

It’s also not that great if you’re the kind of tech whiz who prefers to keep all this kind of information online instead of in a cute notebook.

If you’d like to find out more on dot journaling or think you could do with some help setting up your own journal then definitely check out Rachel Miller’s latest book, Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the book, which totally changed my mind that dot journaling wasn’t just a fad, but a great way to stay on top of all your to do’s. Plus it’s a good excuse to buy more notebooks!

If you a fan (or not) of dot journaling be sure to let me know why in the comments below and you’ll be entered to win a free copy of Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide. The winner will be chosen at random and I’ll announce who won on Monday, July 31st via email. So if you’re not on my email list – be sure to get on there right now! In fact – put that in your dot journal 🙂

64 replies
  1. Larissa
    Larissa says:

    I am fun of bullet journal! Because it really useful for me: in bujo, I can connect the different sides of my nature: creativity and hard planning. This is the perfect system for me.
    And the fact that there is no rigid framework, as in the usual scheduler, but there are some rules – all this allows me not to drop the logging as it was before. And in general – it’s interesting, exciting and helps to be more organized. I’m a fan)

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Larissa – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. So glad you’re found a great system that works for you.

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Kristin – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Glad you’re interested in this!

      Reply
  2. Lee
    Lee says:

    If this book can demonstrate how the dot journal system increases productivity and not just encourages many happy hours playing with color coded lists I’m ready to get it

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      hi Lee – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Ooo color coded lists – sounds right up my alley! If you try the dot journal let me know!

      Reply
  3. Collette Wyte
    Collette Wyte says:

    I think it is a great concept, since I tend to cross out items on my list as I do them, toss the scribbled out list when I’m done, and then cannot remember exactly what I have accomplished. This would allow me to keep them in a much more orderly fashion.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      hi Collette – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. WOuld love to hear if you try this method out.

      Reply
  4. Sanda Jamieson
    Sanda Jamieson says:

    I’ve wanted to try dot journaling for a while, seeing them on Pinterest. It looked too complicated, but I am intrigued. I think I will get the book and see if I can work it for me. 🙂

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Sanda – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Oh yes, Pinterest is the spot to see all the beautiful journals. Let me know if you try it out

      Reply
  5. Sally
    Sally says:

    I want to try the dot journaling. I have never heard of the term dot journal before. I have seen some bullet journaling. I love the idea of putting all my goals onto one page.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      HI Sally -thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Dot and bullet journaling are the same thing. Would love to hear if you end up trying it!

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Rachel – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. This could be just the solution you need!

      Reply
  6. Julie
    Julie says:

    I’m intrigued by Dot Journaling but have not made the jump yet. Seems I’m always on the hunt for the perfect planner/organizer.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Julie – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Let me know if you end up trying it!

      Reply
  7. Roseann
    Roseann says:

    I have been journaling since April. I do not know anything about Dot Journaling though. Thank you for putting this on your blog. Now I can do some reading/research on this.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Roseann – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Dot and Bullet Journaling are the same thing – so you’re ahead of the pack with this one!

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Wendy – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Oh that’s so great to hear! Glad you’re loving it.

      Reply
  8. Dvora Pemstein
    Dvora Pemstein says:

    In my search for productivity optimization, have been reading about dot (and bullet) journaling for a few months, but haven’t taken the leap. I’d love to try and the notebook could be just the excuse!

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      hi Dvora – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Ooo I’m glad you’ve already heard of this – Let me know if you try it!

      Reply
  9. Barbara Graves
    Barbara Graves says:

    I’m intrigued, but curious what the difference is between bullet journaling and dot journaling. I ran into some trouble with bullet journaling, because I would find myself in the weeds of making it pretty, and would lose sight of it as a productivity tool! Perhaps because I’m a creative person, it’s easy for me to get distracted in that regard… not sure. But if there’s a more utilitarian way to approach dot journaling, it sounds great!

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Barbara — thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Dot journaling and bullet journaling are the same. yes I could definitely see making the journal look pretty being a distraction.

      Reply
  10. Ida Umphers
    Ida Umphers says:

    Always love an excuse for new journals. This is a new author for me and a new format to explore for planning. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Ida – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Haha yes – new journals are always a good thing!

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Gloria – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Glad to show you a new method!

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      hi Jim – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Glad you find it intriguing! Let me know if you try it.

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Malia – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Glad to tell you about a new method.

      Reply
  11. Michelle Ranaldo
    Michelle Ranaldo says:

    I think this might just work for me – giving it a hearty tryout this week – thanks for sharing the info!

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Michelle – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Love that you’re going to dive in and try it – what do you think?

      Reply
  12. Tracy Hoover
    Tracy Hoover says:

    I just this weekend, came across a reference to a “bullet journal”, which sounds similar to the dot journal. I was intrigued, because i am always looking for ways to effectively stay on track of things. Currently, i have items strung out in various apps, and it is just not working for me. I would love to win Rachel Miller’s book, Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide. It sounds like just what i need…. a step by step guide.
    Thank you for the giveaway!

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Tracy – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Yes Bullet Journal and Dot Journal – same thing. Oh I do hope you’ll try it out and let me know how you like it.

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Elizabeth – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Yes, this is another great method – let me know if you try it!

      Reply
  13. Eric Dalzell
    Eric Dalzell says:

    Willing to give this a try. Love the notebook, online tracking, not so much. And I think this could fit well with the pomodoro method, which is really growing on me.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Eric! thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. You know how much I love Pomodoro – and yes, this is a good way to integrate for sure. let me know if you try it out.

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Chieko – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Ooo curious is good! Glad you’re enjoying list making. Let me know if you like dot journaling as much.

      Reply
  14. Pam
    Pam says:

    The dot journaling sounds like too much writing. So much of my list are repeatative, why write the same thing again and again? Or maybe I don’t get the concept?

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Pam – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. The only way to really find out is to try it out! I say give it 2 weeks and see what you think. Let me know if you try it.

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Michael – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Yes, this is a serious system to keep you on track! Let me know if you try it.

      Reply
  15. Cassandra Vanderpool
    Cassandra Vanderpool says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of it. I checked out the buzzfeed article and some of the links from that page. I’d be all for dot journaling if there was an electronic version. I’m just not into hard copies anymore. I’ll see what apps I can find and perhaps play with Airtable (thanks for bringing that to my attention!) to create my own version.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Cassandra – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Just a little food for thought – if you write something down you’re 33% more likely to do it. So maybe you should start writing things down again 🙂 Let me know if you do find a digital version of Dot Journaling though.

      Reply
  16. Natalie LeVasseur
    Natalie LeVasseur says:

    I love the idea of dot journaling. I am very visual and having everything in a visual format really appeals to me . I can see how this can be used in a minimalist approach, and not as an art project . As much as I love the beautiful art type layouts , I simply don’t have the time to do that . KISS

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Natalie thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. I agree, simple is key. That will help you stick to your system.

      Reply
  17. Rick Dott
    Rick Dott says:

    I’ve been looking for ways to combine my day-timer with my journal to improve my writing skills and keep me organized. This may just do the trick. Thank you for the heads up and great article

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Rick -thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Oo this sounds like it could be a great solution. Let me know how you like it.

      Reply
  18. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    Um. I love to journal for my kids, but I am so disorganized in my time (actual quite hectic with 6 boys and a husband) and focus that I procrastinate and put off the things I enjoy for mindless activities (hello, Pinterest). With that said, I am intrigued with dot journaling. It might be just my speed –or push I need to get my act in gear!

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Victoria – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. OH yeah Pinterest is definitely a time suck – but so fun!! I’d love to know what you think of dot journaling when you start using it.

      Reply
  19. Robbye Parker
    Robbye Parker says:

    This is the first time I have read about using a dot journal.I am planning to try it instead of having so many lists around my home and office.Thank you for your e mails and tips!

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Robbye – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Yes keeping a streamlined system is a great secret to success! Appreciate you reading the emails and blog posts!

      Reply
  20. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    I think this sounds like a good idea to streamline the process – writing everything in one place makes it easier to keep up

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Barbara – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Yes it’s so important to know where your lists are once you make them! This keeps everything right at your finger tips.

      Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Jackie – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. YES – “old” is the new black 🙂

      Reply
  21. MDC
    MDC says:

    I like the idea of having everything in one place so I’m going to give it a try to get organized for the new school year.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi there – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. Excellent – this sounds like the perfect plan, let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  22. Leslie Doest
    Leslie Doest says:

    I am not sure I understand about dot journaling but think I might have been using something like it in my previous business life. I also see that now that I have more time I need more structure in my lists as well as keeping my mind sharp learning new ideas. I have tried using applications and other tools but I seem to always return to my trusty notebook.

    Reply
    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Hi Leslie – thanks for your comment! You’re entered in the giveaway contest. I know what you mean about trying different things and then ended up going back to your old ways. Look if something works for you I say go with it!

      Reply

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