Bullet Journaling

Here’s the thing… I wouldn’t call myself an unorganized person. I would say that I have too many things to keep organized and too many ways to organize them. I need something that can organize all of my things in one handy, easy to read, slightly digital place. Essentially, I need a bullet journal.

If you were to open my purse right now you might find 5 or 6 lists … crumpled up and marked off and sitting beside an old Cheese-It. I have lists for everything and I use them all the time. My general system for lists is to grab a post-it note from my desk, make my list, put the list in my pocket, accomplish the list, put the list in my purse, and trash the list a few months after completing it. I am great at lists and it makes my heart sing when I cross through the last item on a list! But, I have too many lists and I have no system for actually organizing them. Bullet journals have a space where my many lists can be compiled and organized, and I can have a different list for every day or every project I am working on.

Ok, so let’s get into it. What is a bullet journal?

Basically, it’s a journal that solves a whole-lotta my problems. It’s a to-do list, a planner, and a diary all rolled into one book that is organized and easy to read because it uses bulleted points, symbols, and an index.  

This morning, I sat down and organized an old half-used Rocketbook into a bullet journal. I chose my Rocketbook for the obvious reasons…. because it uses these amazing Pilot FriXion erasable gel pens, because it has dots on the pages instead of lines, because all the pages are already numbered, because you can scan the pages and archive them digitally forever, and because you can erase and reuse the whole journal in under 60 seconds.

It took me about 20 minutes to set up my whole bullet journal organized without any specific dates, details, information, or journaling. After the initial setup, I spent another 20 minutes adding in information about January and the first few months of the year.

Check out what I did:

  1. First, set up your index pages. This is the best and most effective part of the bullet journal. If you decide to keep any kind of journal, I highly suggest that you create an index to keep track of your journal entries. Pro tip: You will want to have at least 4 index pages for a medium/regular sized journal. I only saved 2 pages for my index and I already regret the decision. 
  2. Next, get your Future Log setup. I used 4 pages and divided out an equal space for all 12 months of the year. Since I use Google Calendar for work appointments and reminders, I am only going to use the future log for events that I need to keep an eye on such as big work projects, holidays, and birthdays. When you are done creating your future log, you will go back to your index and note that your future log is on pages 5 – 8 (for example). 
  3. The next section will be for each specific month. On the left side of the page, you will write out all of the dates and days of the month. In each space, you will quickly note important events for the day. On the right side of the page, you will create your monthly to-do list. Since it happens to be January, I started with January. I want to encourage any people interested in bullet journaling to begin at any point in the year, even if it is December. Don’t be discouraged that I had impeccable bullet journaling timing. Also, remember to log your monthly calendar in your index. 
    Left Page

    Right Page
  4. After you’ve completed your monthly calendar, you will create a few pages for your daily log. I mentioned that the index was a really important feature of bullet journaling, but the daily log is where the magic happens. This is the place where you will use rapid logging to write out and check off all of your beautiful and amazing to-do lists. Rapid logging is a system of bullets and special symbols that help keep your to-do lists packed full of information, yet it keeps the to-do lists clean and easy to read. You can find more information about rapid logging here. When you’re done setting aside a few pages for your daily log, remember to go back to your index and record the title and page numbers.
  5. The last section of the bullet journal will be your collections pages. These are journal pages that look and feel more like a diary than a to-do list. This is the area where I take notes when I am in meetings and where I sketch out ideas I have. You will find that your collection pages appear in random places throughout your bullet journal … like half-way through your January daily log because you didn’t save enough pages… It doesn’t matter where you put your collection pages as long as you update your index with where they are located. 
  6. Finally, since the key to the bullet journal is staying organized and knowing where all the different (and amazing things are located), be sure to frequently update your index page. 

 

After I took the hour to get all set up, I sat back, wrote this post, and reflected on my accomplishments. I am not sure if I have the warm fuzzies because this is the solution I’ve been searching for or if it’s because I have something new and beautiful to play with.

I am really drawn to parts of the bullet journal. For example, I REALLY like having all of my to-do lists in one place and I really like having a system where I can write diary entries or notes on a project and keep them organized in a way that is easy to use and makes sense. On the other hand, I use Google Calendar for work appointments every day so I am not sure how useful the future planning and monthly planning spaces are going to be for me …. and if I know me … if it isn’t useful, then I’m not going to do it.

For now, my plan is to take out my journal when I get started at work every morning, update it, take notes throughout the day, cross off action items,  and doodle to my heart’s content for 30 days. At the end of my 30-day test phase, I am going to write a short update about any modifications I’ve made, any benefits I’ve seen, and some thoughts on the design of bullet journals. What is it about their design that works so well for so many people?  Until then, I am curious to find out about your experiences with bullet journaling.

Have you tried bullet journaling?

What did you like about your bullet journal?

What modifications did you make?

 

Additional Resources:

Short video showing you how to get set up

Great infographic with tips once you’ve gotten started

Buzzfeed Article explaining the basics in a humorous way {Explicit Language}

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One thought on “Bullet Journaling

  1. This seems really interesting. I’m connecting with the part where you wrote what happens each day- and using a Rocketbook is a great idea! I can’t wait to hear if this works for you log-term!

    Like

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