In this blog, I am all about making life more organized as easily as possible. The bullet journal definitely makes the cut.
The concept is to create short journal “entries” each day of the week to remember tasks, events, and any other notes for the day. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. And the best part is it is completely customizable. It’s whatever you decide it needs to be. I’ll walk you through the basic set-up and then describe how to choose for yourself which features benefit you and your life.
You only really need two things to start a bullet journal.
1. A notebook. (I got mine at Target, but many people like the Leuchtturm 1917)
2. A writing implement. (I use a blue pen from my work)
Of course, you can always use more materials than that. You can have multiple colored pens or markers, you can use tabs or bookmarks, but the bare minimum is a notebook and writing utensil of your choosing.
Index and Logs
The very first thing in your bullet journal is the index and page numbers. The index a simple list of where everything is. This journal is a stream of consciousness, whenever you think of something to add, you put it on the next blank page and add the next sequential page number. The index is the way to easily be able to find each entry and what you are looking for.
There are three types of logs: future log, monthly log, and weekly log. The future log is a way to lay out the coming months. Usually this is done in six-month stints. It’s a way to quickly look over your future. The monthly logs are usually set up at the beginning of each month and show any pertinent events or notes for the month. Some people add a to-do list for the month here. The weekly log is for mapping the coming week. This is most helpful with to-dos.
Tasks, Events, and Notes
Here is where we get to the heart of the bullet journal. Tasks are the most common; they are the things that need to get done. They are typically denoted by a bullet point (hence a bullet journal) and when a task is completed, an “x” is drawn through the bullet. I like to use boxes and fill them in as I complete each task, it’s just my preference.
Events are the things you schedule, such as a doctor’s appointment or stopping at the store after work. They are denoted with a circle (and I use triangles). Notes are anything you want to remember for the day and are denoted by a dash (which I use the same thing). They can be as simple as saying you have leftovers to writing down the first word of your child.
All three of these categories are important and differentiating them is also important. You should be able to glance at your daily list and immediately see how many appointments you have scheduled. You should also be able to quickly read through any notes you have when you go back through your journal.
Migrating and Abandoning
What happens if you don’t get everything done for the day? You have two simple options: either you move it to the next day or you abandon it. To migrate a task or event to a new day simply put an arrow through its bullet and write it on the next day’s list. This way, you know that the task is still being taken care of, just not on the day you originally intended it. If you decided it’s not the right time for that particular task or the event ended up not happening, you can draw a line through the whole entry. The simplicity is astounding, but this method seriously works.
The Bullet Journal is Whatever You Want
I want to wrap up this post by reminding you that the Bullet Journal is whatever you want it to be. You can already see that I have made a few tweaks to the original model by using different bullets than the original. I have also completely done away with the future, monthly, and weekly logs. They just don’t work for me. My bullet journal looks mostly like a daily to do list; it’s very rare that I write a note. Also, sometimes I write an arrow to migrate and I don’t write it down for the next day or I scratch out an entry only to have it reappear two days later. There are no rules when it comes to your personal bullet journal. It’s whatever you want to make it so your life is a little easier. I would suggest looking around at how different people use their journals to get a feel for the style that suits you best. I’ll share a few of my sources below. I would suggest setting up your journal in the traditional fashion for the first few months, then tweaking the things that just don’t work or adding in something you wish you had. It’s all up to you, which is why this is my favorite method of scheduling. have fun learning a new organization tool!