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The Bullet Journal.
This calendar system has become quite popular these days.
However, creating your own calendar system from scratch might seem a bit intimidating when you first begin.
So I decided to create this beginners guide to bullet journals.
Everyone needs to start somewhere right?
What exactly is a bullet journal?
“The bullet journal is an analog system designed to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” – Ryder Caroll, Inventor of the bullet journal
Basically, it is a self-customized calendar system that typically has three categories: tasks, events, and notes.
What do I need to start my own bullet journal?
All that you need is a blank notebook and a pen.
It is that simple!
Just pick out a size that works best for you.
Markers, colored pencils, tabs, post-its, and graph paper are also fun to have on hand, but certainly not required.
I found an awesome set of gel pens on Amazon. They add some color to my pages and even have glitter in them! It is my opinion that everything is better with a little bit of sparkle!
The bullet journal has 4 main concepts:
1. THE INDEX OR KEY
This is where you organize the contents of your notebook.
Think of it as a table of contents for all of your information.
It could simply be a page containing a key of symbols that you use in your journal.
Or, if you are extremely organized, you might use page numbers for your entries and subjects.
I’ve even seen some journals that use washi tape to color code the side of the pages for quick access.
Entries in your bullet journal are called collections.
A collection might take up only one page, or it can be comprised of several pages.
Each page has a topic, which helps to group and organize your ideas.
Typically, there are three main collections:
This contains the monthly calendar and tasks.
I usually prefer to use a pre-printed monthly calendar page to write out birthdays, holidays, and appointments.
Additionally, I make a monthly page to write down the goals that I would like to accomplish for each month.
This is one of my pages before I filled in my goals.
These pages contain your day to day events, specific tasks for the day, and notes as they happen throughout the day.
In addition to adding tasks, I like to track the weather on my daily pages.
These are special lists, such as long term goals, places you would like to travel, books you want to read and any other trackers you might want to set up.
Currently, my favorite is my books to read page.
I drew some books stacked on a bookshelf and filled in the titles of all the books that people have suggested.
Once I finish a book, I color in the title.
This month, I also made a page to keep track of the things that I am grateful for.
Taking a bit of time to fill in a few things that make me happy and helps to keep things in perspective.
The options for different journal pages are truly endless.
Get your journal started by picking something that inspires you, and take the leap to making your first page.
Since I am a beginner, my drawings are pretty basic, but I did have fun making them.
Doing a search on Pinterest will turn up tons of inspiration for different designs to try.
Simple numbered lists will work just fine if the creative feeling isn’t there.
Again, this system is created by YOU. The goal is to find what works best and then go with it.
If you find that you don’t like what you did for the month, switch it up when you plan out the next one.
3. Rapid Logging
Rapid logging is the language that the bullet journal is written in, or the symbols that are used to make notations in the journal.
You can choose what works best for you, just make sure that you have a system in place. Also, be sure to notate them in your index.
My go-to symbols for my journal are as follows:
<3 – things that inspire or motivate me
* – items that are a priority to complete
! – stuff that I would like to research or explore more in the future
o – tasks that I still need to complete
x – completed tasks
Because I have a family and put their schedule in my journal, I like to use specific colors to represent the different family members.
This one is my most favorite step! It always gives me a sense of accomplishment.
At the end of the month, review all of the tasks that have been completed and checked off.
If there were ones that weren’t finished, be sure to move them onto the next monthly calendar.
Although I would like to, I do not always manage to get everything that I had planned, accomplished.
But, taking the time at the end of each month to review my goals and lists is very helpful.
By re-writing them in the following month’s pages, I am able to keep motivated and moving forward, which is my ultimate goal.
Be sure to check out my Beginners Guide to Starting a New Month in Your Bullet Journal.
A couple of months ago, I shared the start of my bullet journal process.
The main goal at the time was to experiment and find out if it was going to be a good system to help me stay organized.
It has definitely kept me moving in the right direction!
I find that I feel less overwhelmed and anxious about the things that I need, or want to do since I am writing them down and checking them off on a daily basis.
I hope that this guide has been helpful, and has provided some inspiration for starting your own bullet journal.
Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know about the pages you have created or share your favorite tips. I would love to hear from you!