Wait, what? You haven’t heard of a Bullet Journal? Don’t feel bad… I didn’t become familiar with it until the latter half of 2017. I had seen the term in passing but never really understood what it was and why it was popping up so frequently. Finally, I stopped to do some research. I needed to know “What is a Bullet Journal?” and “Why is everyone so in love with them?”
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Bullet Journal – What the Heck Is It?
What Is A Bullet Journal?
The Bullet Journal concept was created by Ryder Carroll. It was designed as an uninhibited, rapid method of keeping track of your life. Your bullet journal is personal to you and the things that you need to live your best life.
Bullet Journaling has been a hot trend for a little while in the planner and getting organized communities online. If you are a fan of to-do lists and checklists, this is something you don’t want to miss.
Who Would Benefit from a Bullet Journal?
If you have too many things to remember and think about on a daily basis and you need a simple system to help you keep track, bullet journaling was made for you. We all have a lot of different daily tasks, appointments, and various things we need to remember.
Trying to keep track of everything in your head becomes exhausting. And if you manage a team at work or a family at home, it becomes near impossible. Just think of how much more productive and less stressed you’ll be if you can stop trying to remember all this “stuff”.
Bullet Journal Structure
A bullet journal is a way of keeping track of everything you need to do in one notebook. It usually consists of four core modules and collections. Collections are additional modules that can be added depending on your personal needs.
Index & Key
The first module consists of the index and key. They will occupy the first two pages of your journal and help you stay on track with where everything is located and how your journal works.
The future log is for items that you’re not quite sure when you want to get to them. It is also where you log things that you need to schedule months in advance.
Here is a Free Future Log Printable to get you started.
Source: Space & Quiet
The monthly log or calendar is designed to help you organize your month by giving you an entire month view of planned activities and tasks.
The daily log is designed for tracking day to day activities. This is where you will keep a running log of daily entries. Your entries will be in the form of short phrases. Bullet journaling is not designed to be time-consuming.
Source: Hannah Emily Lane
Collections & Trackers
Collections and Trackers are lists of related things you want to keep track of. For example, you may have a list of books you want to read, places you want to visit or goals you like to achieve this month.
This is an example of using a tracker to help with financial goals:
This is a very creative example of a Fitness Tracker:
Source: The Petite Planner
Here is an example of a Christmas Gift List Tracker:
Source: Little Coffee Fox
Mood Trackers are also popular additions to most Bullet Journals.
How to Use a Bullet Journal
When you start your bullet journal you set aside two pages for your index. Next, you then create your future log and first monthly log. Finally, you add collections or trackers and then record things as they come up throughout your day, week, or month.
Remember, a bullet journal has no boundaries. You are free to set it up and design it any way you want. This is what makes the bullet journal different from any other planner.
How to Use Monthly Pages
At the beginning of the month, you set up a monthly page. This is your space to record appointments, anniversaries and birthdays.
Some bullet journalers will simply make a list of 1-30 (or 31) and then leave space to note appointments as they come up. Others prefer to draw a more traditional monthly calendar grid over two pages. Try both and see what works better for you.
As you draw each monthly grid or list at the beginning of the month, make a note of what page it is on in your index.
How to Use Daily Pages
On the next blank page, enter today’s date and start recording things you need to take care of, appointments to keep today, and anything else you need to keep track of including quick notes and ideas. This is where you key comes in handy.
Bullet Journal Key
There are two common ways to do your key along with many variations in between.
The Original Bullet Journal Key
■ Completed Task
⍈ Migrated Task
⬤ Completed Appointment
⟴ Migrated Appointment
The Revised Bullet Journal Key
ᐧ (Dot) Task
X Completed Task
> Migrated Task
Any task on your list can be crossed out if it is no longer applicable or needed.
Pick the key system that seems most intuitive for you and start recording the things you need to keep track of and remember in your Bullet Journal. One way to think of it is as the ultimate ongoing to-do list.
End of Day Activities
At the end of the day, review your list. Things that have not been completed need to either be crossed out because they are no longer relevant and important, or they should be moved to the next day.
If you decide not to complete an item, or can’t tackle an item or two the next day, leave it open and make sure you review and work it in at a later date.
Bullet Journal Supplies
Here is a list of the basic supplies you will need to start your Bullet Journal.
Notebook – This is the Leuchtturm1917 Classic Hardcover Dotted Medium Notebook in Pink. It comes in various colors and is the preferred notebook of many bullet journalers.
Colored Pens – This is a set of 42 fine tip colored pins by Staedtler. You’ll have all the colors you need for color-coded notes, drawing, and tracing.
Black Pens – You will need a set of black pens for writing and drawing. This is a set of black pens with different size tips.
Pencils – Nothing fancy here. Just basic No. 2 Pencils to allow you to draw out your initial bullet journal designs before going over them with a pen.
Washi Tape – Washi Tape allows you to add instant color and design to your bullet journal. It can be used for decorating pages and page markers. Washi Tape is inexpensive and comes in a million colors, pattern, and sizes.
Here are examples of Washi Tape being used to decorate daily pages:
Ruler – A simple Ruler set to help with creating flawless straight lines for your calendars and trackers.
Highlighters – A 5 color set of Highlighters for adding that extra color pop to your bullet journal designs.
Start Your Bullet Journal
You now know what a bullet journal is and how to use one. Start your own bullet journal and see if it can give you a creative outlet and keep you more organized.
Here is some inspiration form the Healthy Wealthy Skinny Bullet Journal board on Pinterest.
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