Bullet Journaling 101

I recently started doing a bullet journal and I have been loving doing it. It’s a great way for me to keep myself organized and it helps keep the creative juices flowing. It’s also a great way to get in the habit of writing something every day if you’re a writer. If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, it is basically a customizable organizational tool (notebook). It can be a to-do list, a sketch book, a personal diary, a calendar, a goal tracker, a simple notebook, or a combination of all of the above and anything else you can use a notebook for. I mainly use my bullet journal as a to-do list (for non-school related things), a diary of what happened throughout the day, and a place where I write down ideas. I choose to keep a separate to-do list for school in a more traditional planner because I want my bullet journal to be more of a creative space. If you want a more detailed description of what a bullet journal is click here.

So with so much freedom and flexibility with what you can do with a bullet journal, where do you even start? Let me guide you through some ways that you can set up your bullet journal. Remember, you don’t have to do everything I do, these are just some suggestions on how to get started.

  1. Get a notebook! I recommend getting a relatively nice notebook (if you want), maybe one with an inspirational quote on the front just because that way you’ll be more likely to use it and you’ll get more creative when it comes to putting it together. I personally spent an embarrassing amount of time in the stationery section of Chapters when deciding what notebook to get. In the end I decided on a set of 3 80-page Moleskine notebooks. They are pretty plain but they’re great. You also don’t want to get a notebook that’s too big or else you won’t take it with you and where are you going to write down your brilliant ideas when you don’t have your bullet journal with you?! I suggest getting one that’s small enough to fit in your bag/purse that you use every day but also large enough that you have lots of space to get creative.
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  2. Make a title page and bullet key. Yes, let’s go back to elementary school when you had to make a title page for every notebook and duotang. Make a title page just because it’s fun. A bullet key is also a good thing to include, that way you know what everything you’re writing down means. This is the current key I’m using, but again, you can do whatever you want as long as you know what it means!Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 6.29.21 PM
  3. Create a future outlook calendar. By this I mean, take about half a page for each month and just write down major events you know are happening. For example, I put in holidays, vacation time, birthdays, exam weeks, and stuff like that. To me that’s just helpful to have so you can schedule other smaller events around those big ones. You can always add to it as things come up. I only did about 6 months out this time but you can go as far out as you want.

     

  4. After the calendar, I have a couple of pages that I use to keep track of the books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, concerts/live shows I’ve been to, and new music I’ve listened to. You definitely don’t have to do this but I think it’s nice to look back and see the things you’ve liked and enjoyed over time. Some people also put an “Accomplishments” page here to record major (or minor) accomplishments or things you’re proud of which is also great! You could also leave a couple of pages for doodles before you start the next thing if you’re a doodler, or you could doodle as you go along, again it’s completely up to you.
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  5. You can completely skip step 4 if you want and go right into your every day planner/diary/notebook. Take a page or half a page depending on the size of your notebook and this is where you can record your daily to-do list, appointments, due dates, etc. Make sure you put a date at the top of the page!! In my bullet journal, I’ve split up each day into 3 sections: To-Do List, What Happened (Diary), and Ideas. You could also reserve a whole page for ideas somewhere at the beginning or end of the notebook. You can make your daily records as simple or as complex as you want.
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  6. Get creative! You can keep your bullet journal plain and simple if you want or you can use this as a space to get really creative! Pull out your bubble letter abilities that haven’t been used in years, get some fun coloured pens or fine tip markers (I really recommend using fine tip markers to do this), draw your own bullets, and just have fun with it! If you are creative or artistic in any way, this is a perfect outlet to be super artsy and creative! Just search #bulletjournal on Instagram and you’ll find some crazy good ways to customize and create your bullet journal and make it 100% you!

     

I hope that some of you try this out. It’s fun and it’s not at all time consuming (unless you want it to be). You can add pages and whatever you want to your journal, it’s completely yours! For example, I added a daily gratitude page and a page of goals and habits for the month before my daily activity log. It’s totally customizable so you can add or take out anything you want. These are just some of my suggestions to get you going on something that I think is fun and creative. If you are looking for other ideas/inspiration of how to do a bullet journal click here or here.

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