We all lead very busy lives. Several things are happening in our day-to-day and we have numerous things to accomplish. Activities and tasks are coming at us at warp speed. We need a system where our “to-dos” are all in one place. To see what is to be done, what is accomplished, and what can be moved to another day. We can even determine if a task is still relevant. Can we just cancel the task? Nothing falls through the cracks because it is dealt with in one form or another. Yes, we can be productive and focused. And here we have it. An introduction to bullet journaling.
This system was developed by a man named Ryder Carroll. Ryder had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) as a child. He had so many thoughts going through his head, he found it difficult to focus on tasks in general. Ryder worked on creating a system to stay focused and to be productive with his tasks. He created the Bullet Journal (also known as a Bujo) and released it to the general public in 2013. If the system could help him, it could help others whose desire it is to stay focused and productive and get *#!* done!
You can do this and all in one place using a notebook and pen! The best part about the bullet journal is that it is highly customizable! Minimalist or very decorative in appearance. You can make it into a system that fits your life and needs!
The world of bullet journaling has taken on a life of its own. You can literally find millions of examples of bullet journals out there simply through an internet search. Google, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube are just a few places you can find inspiration for bullet journaling.
Here are some of the things that a bullet journal can do for you:
- keep a to-do list
- track your appointments
- keep birthdays, anniversaries and other special events on the radar
- setup goals and challenges for yourself
- habit tracking
- journaling/brain dumps
- lists you want to keep e.g. books to read, Christmas shopping list
- track your finances
This is just a small sample of what you can do with a bullet journal. Ryder Carroll uses a very minimalist style and is a good way to learn the basics. You will develop your own style but this is a good starting point to give you a taste for what it is all about. To provide an introduction to bullet journaling, I don’t think anyone can really explain how it works better than Ryder Carroll himself.
The Basic Setup In A Bullet Journal
As I have mentioned before in this article, the Bullet Journal is highly customizable to your needs. In the majority of bullet journals, you will find these key types of pages:
- the index page
- bullet key page
- future log page
- monthly log page
- daily log page
The Index Page
The Index page runs along the same lines as a “table of contents”. It gives you the nuts and bolts contents of your journal. Some journals you can buy on the marketplace already come with page numbers imprinted which is very convenient. If you don’t have it though, just make it a habit to write the page number in. With either type, just remember to update the index page with each new page you add to your journal.
The Bullet Key Page
Beside almost every task, appointment, holiday, and important entry you have in your bullet journal, you will have a symbol that acts as a signifier. Something that at a quick glance, you will know what it is, or what it’s action is. These symbols may be used throughout your bullet journal. It is there as a quick reminder to you of what each item is.
The Future Log
When you think of a Future Log think of it as a yearly calendar. Something you can slide future events into when they aren’t right around the corner. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, vacations, long off doctor followups, air conditioner checkups due, yearly vet wellness checks etc. You get the picture.
The Monthly Log
This log is set up in 2 pages. One page is one long listing of the number of days in the month and what day of the week that day is. The other page is a general listing of what tasks, appointments, special events, projects are on for the month (or plan to occur that month). You write whatever is in the general listing page and assign it a due date if you can on the first part of the log. You will reference this page often when filling out your daily log.
The Daily Log
This area is a list of everything that needs your attention on a daily basis. You can set this up either the night before, or the morning of. Also add to it if needed during the day. At the end of your day, you should review this list and indicate its status. Is it completed? In progress? Migrated (or moved to another day or month)? Does it matter now? Could it be canceled? These are all things you should consider at the end of your day.
Collections are specialized pages you create that are not necessarily tasks but can be used in conjunction with your daily log. As an example, it’s December and you are going to finish up your Christmas shopping today. You may use your Christmas Shopping List Collection as a guide to help you scratch off those few remaining people on your list. There are many types of collections you might like to keep in your bullet journal for easy reference and convenience. Build it and customize it to what fits you. Some examples of collections are:
- Meal Plans
- Savings Tracker
- Home Project Ideas
- Vacation Plans
- Circuit Training Routine
Everything at Your Fingertips
The pure joy of this system is the ability to basically have your life in one notebook! All of your appointments, your schedules, your “to-dos”, your planning lists, trackers, menus. It’s pretty much left up to your own imagination and lifestyle as to what would be included in your journal. Keeping up with your tasks and appointments is easier with this system because less falls through the cracks. It is either something scheduled to be done, in progress, completed, canceled, or migrated. Nothing is left behind.
This is a very personalized system and you build it customize to your needs. This also goes along with style. Are you a minimalist at heart? Set up your journal that way. Do you like color, texture, and creativity in your journals? Create your masterpiece. What matters in the end, is that it works for you and makes you more productive. It may take a few attempts to get it working the way that works best for you, but don’t be discouraged. When you get a system that works, your productivity will be amazing!
Open your life to more opportunities for things you enjoy and concentrate on those parts of your life that make it worth living. Give bullet journaling a try and watch your transformation!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can. Create your projects as a collection. You could have more than one page devoted to a project. You could have a basic brain dump page explaining the project and key elements of it. Other collections could be created for each element. Develop a timeline for what needs to happen to complete that element. This is where this timeline would be transferred to your monthly and daily spreads for completion.
Oh yes. You do whatever is comfortable for you in the long run. There are many minimalist type journals with very simple lines and no pictures. If you like images, you can use stickers. You can also doodle or even learn to doodle. There are many courses available for that through places like YouTube, websites, Facebook groups, Education sites such as Skillshare, and many more. The choice is yours. It’s your journal!
After years of weight issues, I have finally found the formula of combining healthy food choices, regular exercise and positive behavior change to lose weight for good. Coupled with, exploring self-development, being productive and living simply, I am now maintaining a healthy lifestyle and in a good place. I enjoy writing articles to help my readers to become the best they can be!