With all the apps on your phone, planners, and other journals/notebooks, it can be hard to stay on top of it all and remain organized.
You have an app for your calendar, a different one for your to-do lists, and yet another for your notes. In addition to this, perhaps you have a journal for reflection and goal setting. Combine it all together, and viola, you have a Bullet Journal!
Never heard of it? Bullet Journaling is an “analog system for the digital world” and is “designed to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future” -Ryder Carroll, Inventor of the Bullet Journal. It combines a planner, calendar, to-do list, goal tracker, and journal all in one seamless system.
Your Bullet Journal, or BuJo, is completely customizable to you and will improve your organizational & planning skills. It will also keep you accountable with goal tracking systems. You can use it personally to track fitness, healthy habits, and countless lists. You can start it anytime – beginning of the month, middle of the week, or half way through the year! Curious on starting your own? Then read on, friend!
What You Need to Get Started
Notebook of your choice or the “official” Bullet Journal – the Leuchtturm 1917. Your BuJo can be in whatever form you like best – spiral, thread-bound, loose leaf, large or small. It can be lined, dotted, grid, or blank. There are pros and cons to each kind but no right or wrong.
Tip: It’s a good idea to have a journal with page numbers. More on this in Index.
Again, whatever you like best here. Pencil, pen, marker – totally up to you!
Tip: depending on what you’re writing with and the paper you’re using, you will just want to watch out for bleeding through!
Extras (if you want)
Washi tape, stickers, decorative paper, bookmarks, etc.
Setting it up
An index is good to set up for reference. Depending on the size of your journal and your use for it, it could last you a year or more, so an index makes it easier to find a particular tracker or collection quickly. If your pages aren’t already numbered, you can number as you go.
Next, you will want to create a key for any symbols that you use. Using the Bullet Journaling system, you would have a symbol for a task, completed task, migrated (when you move it to another day) task, scheduled event, etc.
Can also be called a Year at a Glance. This is where you can list events that are to take place far in advance or where you can list birthdays, holidays, etc.
View of the entire month at once. You can create this in list form or draw it up as a calendar. In addition to a monthly view, I also include a second page for my goals for the month and my habit tracker (explained below).
Weekly Log & Daily Log
View of the week at a glance and/or each day listed separately. Some people do both. Personally, I do one full “spread” (spanning two pages) as my weekly & daily log. This allows me to save time when I am preparing it each week. It also allows me to see the entire week at once, which makes it easy if I have to migrate tasks or reschedule any appointments.
Trackers do just that – they track. You can use trackers for goals and habits, like daily water intake, gratitude log, exercise, etc. I like to see how my daily habits support my goals for the month, so I include both of these on the same spread. Pictured above, I have mini-trackers for each day to highlight my top habits: self-love, practice, walk dogs, exercise, and water intake.
Collections can be anything, really – a list of books you want to read, quotes, birthdays, groceries, whatever!
Using Your BuJo
Once you get your BuJo set up, keeping up with it is a breeze, whether your style is more simplistic, a la creator Ryder Carroll’s style, or colorful like this popular Bullet Journal blogger. It doesn’t have to be super fancy each time you put the pen to your paper, and you will mess up, which is okay. Just cover it up with some washi tape or a doodle and move on! There are also days and weeks you might not use it. That’s okay too! You have the flexibility with a Bullet Journal to start and stop at any time.
I love using my BuJo as a creative outlet and overall a way to relax. Not only does my journal help me stay more organized and goal-focused, it improves my mindfulness as well. I fill out my gratitude log daily and include areas in my weekly spread for reflection. I’ve always been a journal-er, but my BuJo keeps it top of mind. Since using this system, I also spend less time on my phone and off the computer, which we could all benefit from.
It’s easy to get a little overwhelmed when you look at BuJos on Google or Pinterest, but what works for others might not work for you. The beauty of this system is that it is made for you, by you. You get to decide what you want to use it for and how much time you devote to it. Take a look at this quick video or visit the official site to learn more about this revolutionary system and give it a try today!
Fun fact: I actually wrote this post for a blog at work June 2017! Technically my first post ever! 🙂