The Bullet Journal.
This calendar system has become quite popular these days. But creating your own calendar system from scratch might seem a bit intimidating when you begin. Because of this, I have created a little beginners guide to bullet journals.
Everybody has to start somewhere right?
So 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 you need is a blank notebook and a pen. It is that simple!
There are many different kinds of blank books that you can purchase, just pick out a size that works best for you. I use a mini binder, loose notebook and calendar pages, because I like to have the ability to move things around easily.
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!
A bullet journal has 4 main concepts:
1. THE INDEX OR KEY
This is where you organize the contents of your notebook. It might be helpful to 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 also seen some journals that have color codes on the side of the pages for quick access. I decided to make it even easier on myself and purchased some stick on tabs for my pages.
The entries in your bullet journal are called collections.
A collection might take up only one page, or it may be comprised of several pages.
Each page has a topic, which helps to group and organize your ideas.
Typically, there are three main collections:
Future Log: This contains the monthly calendar and tasks. I like to use a pre-printed monthly calendar page to write out birthdays, holidays, and appointments. Additionally, I make a monthly page to write down goals that I would like to accomplish for each month. This is one of my pages before I filled in my goals.
Daily Log: 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 and my mood on my daily pages. I’ve also added a box so that I can write down the menu for each week.
Other Collections: 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 page 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. Sometimes I get behind and overwhelmed during the month. Taking a bit of time to fill in a few things that make me happy, helps to keep things in perspective.
The options truly are endless for the different pages that can be added. Pick something that inspires you, or that you would like to track, and make a special page for your journal. Because I am still a beginner, my drawings are pretty basic, but I had fun making them. Doing a search on Pinterest will turn up tons of inspiration for different designs to try.
If you don’t feel creative, even simple numbered lists work just fine. Again, this system is created by you. The goal is to find what works best for you, 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
* – things that are a priority to complete
! – things that I would like to research or explore more in the future
o – tasks that I still need to complete
x – tasks that have been completed
Also, 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 months pages, I keep motivated and moving forward, which is my ultimate goal.
A couple of months ago, I shared the start of my bullet journal process. My main goal at the time, was to experiment and find out if it would be a good system to help me stay organized. I can say now that 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, because I am writing them down and checking them off on a daily basis.
In the next few months, I plan to continue adding more pages to my bullet journal. I would also like to join some bujo groups to keep me inspired and creating new content. Stay tuned for more posts about page ideas and techniques. In the meantime, be sure to check out and follow my pinterest board about bullet journals.
I hope that this guide has been helpful, and might have provided some inspiration on 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!
Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase by using my link. This happens at no additional cost to you, and it helps provide a few supplies for our home school classroom. 🙂