My friends, sometimes I feel like I’m one of the only people who still uses a paper planner. I do though, because I feel it works better than any app at keeping myself organized. However, I also find inspiration to write and doodle at the most inopportune times. So I found myself carrying around a notebook everywhere as well as a planner. Factor that into the millions of other things I carry around daily in my Mary Poppins purse (seriously, it’s like the amount of stuff I have in my purse is never-ending), and my purse was starting to become quite heavy.
That’s when I was introduced to bullet journaling. I have to say that I wish I had heard about it sooner, because it’s made my life a heck of a lot easier.
So, What’s a Bullet Journal?
The Bullet Journal was developed by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer living in Brooklyn, NY. As it says on the official Bullet Journal website, “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” And that it does. Not only am I carrying less stuff (and my shoulders and back thank me for it) but I have an organized place for all my ideas, plans, doodles, and anything else I can imagine.
How Does it Work?
You start with a notebook of your choice (I recommend one with a sturdier nature, as I tried starting with a flimsier one and failed very quickly). I would recommend the LEUCHTTURM1917 Hard Cover Notebook, as that is the brand/type I am currently using. Something I like about this notebook is that you can go with lined or dot grid and pick any color you desire.
The first thing you start with, once you have your notebook, is the Index. Some notebooks, like my current notebook, have index pages already created. If yours doesn’t already have an index section, creating one is easy enough. I would recommend giving yourself a few pages so you don’t run out of space.
Making sure you keep your pages numbered, if they aren’t already, is also extremely important. That way when you are writing down what is where in the index, you can write the corresponding page number and it’s easier to find. As you put more and more stuff in your bullet journal, this becomes more and more important.
Having a Key is as important as having an index when it comes to keeping track of everything. In addition to writing down symbols that correspond with different types of entries (such as events, meetings, notes, etc.) I find that color-coding is extremely helpful as well.
The future log, monthly log, and daily log should all come after that. I tried doing other things first in my very first attempt and it didn’t go well for me. It’s just easier to get that stuff out of the way first.
The Future Log – As is written on the official Bullet Journal website, “This Collection is used to store items that either need to be scheduled months in advance… or things that you want to get around to someday.” I wanted to get all months until the end of 2016 into my future log, but I was starting with June, which makes 7 full months. So I chose to have one page divided into 3 sections, then the next two pages I divided into 2 sections.
The Monthly Log – “The Monthly Log helps you organize – you guessed it – your month. It consists of a calendar and a task list.” I personally set my monthly log up with a calendar, a to-do list, and a small box where I can write out my expenses.
The Daily Log – “designed for day-to-day use.” I don’t use a new page for each day. I set up a page where Daily Log is written at the top, and I write the date in the corner. I use the amount of space required, draw a line after the day is over, and then keep going like that. So far it’s working out great.
The only other thing that I think could be considered almost “standard” and helpful would be the Habit Tracker. You set it up like a grid, with habits on one side (ones you would like to encourage in yourself, specifically) and write the day of the month on the other axis. You color in each day you’ve done said habit. I find it really helps to keep you on track with things you’re trying to work on making habits.
What’s Next? Customize the Heck Outta That Thing!
Finally, once you’re through “setting up,” you can customize the heck out of your bullet journal! You can make a page for a monthly budget, for tracking TV show watching an book reading, a page for goals, and whatever else your little heart desires! That’s the best thing of all about the bullet journal. It’s yours, and you can customize it and tailor it to your wants and needs. Below are some pictures of a couple of the other collections that I’ve created within my own bullet journal.
A Few More Quick Tips and Tricks
- If you are literally unable to draw a straight line no matter how hard you try, like me, but are also a hardcore perfectionist, like me, then rulers and stencils are going to be your best friends.
- I’ve already recommended a type of notebook to use, but as far as pens go, here are my favorites to use; PIGMA Micron and Brush Pens and Pilot G-2 50 and 07 Pens.
- You don’t have to do everything everyone else is doing. If it doesn’t work for you and your lifestyle, then you don’t need it in your bullet journal. It’s as simple as that. So have fun with it!
Have You Ever Done Any Bullet Journaling? Weigh In!
If you’ve ever used/still do use a bullet journal, please weigh in. Write in the comments section below. Share your experience. Do you like it? Yes? No? Why? How did you customize your bullet journal? Please feel free to share! Thanks!
Disclaimer : All photos in the above blog post belong to me except for the featured image. No copyright infringement intended. I am not claiming any ownership of this image. If it belongs to you and you would like it removed, please contact me and it will be taken down immediately. As for the images that do belong to me, they may be used so long as you contact me first and give me credit for my images. Thanks so much!