I never thought I would get so excited about a journaling system but, seriously… I fell hard for this easy notation and planning system from the moment I first read about it.
Bullet Journal is a form of note taking that basically allows you to jot down ideas, project manage, brainstorm, plan, and track your agenda all from the same notebook – ANY NOTEBOOK. This seems obvious on the face of it – I mean, just turn the page and document what you like, right? WRONG. After a couple pages of writing, you’ve got a hot steamy mess of notes and good luck trying to find that one measurement you jotted down in the extra space of the corner somewhere. No more.
Enter… Bullet Journal aka an organizer’s dream come true. I’m no nit-picking ninny but I do try to keep my life reasonably organized and as I take on new roles (like, ahem, WIFE) I know there will be more and more things that fall on my plate to take care of around our newly “official” household. So, “What is the Bullet Journal?” I can almost hear you begging through the screen. I’ll explain it, but really, you should just watch this quick video that does a great job giving the basic rundown.
At the heart of it, bullet journaling requires a notebook–any kind–and a pen. That’s it. No fancy $60 agenda/planner or printables or spreadsheets. Just you, your notebook, and writing tool. I really love systems that don’t require the purchase of special equipment, don’t you? However, you will want a brand new notebook so if you don’t already have one, you will need to get one.
Ok, on to the action steps. First, save the first page of the notebook for your Index. This is where you’ll write out the title/topics you write about and the page number they’re written on. You don’t need to know in advance what will be in the index because it’s an add as you go feature. Additionally, you can go back and add page numbers to topics you’ve already written about. Say you start page one with a list of personal to dos and you fill the page. On page two, you’ve written your grocery list and page three is something else and so on. By page six, you want to write another personal to do list. In your index, just add page 6 to the line item for Personal To Dos! You can see that I did just that in the photos below.
As you start each new page you’ll of course need to label the page number as well as title it so you can reference it in the index. You can share pages with different topics too to save space. Above you’ll see that I have my Shopping List as well as Notes w/ Jenna on the same page even though they are totally unrelated.
Now to the heart of why it’s called Bullet Journal. “Bulleting” is the process by which you take abbreviated notes and jot down actionable to dos. A sqaure in front of an item means action needs to be taken and thus that item is a “task”. An open bullet point indicates an event. I find that I rarely use these but might as I get into more detailed in my calendar. A solid bullet point is purely informational. Next, signifiers help identify priorities: A star next to a task means its most important, an exclamation point indicates a great idea or maybe something uber inspirational, an eye means its something you want to look up or “explore” further (maybe on another page?), and you can use an arrow to show you’ve moved an item to another list or a
strike out to show the task is no longer relevant or necessary.
As you can see in the first photo, I like to go one extra step and highlight all the tasks that I’ve completed. It makes it easier to see at a glance which items still need attention and I can’t tell you how great it feels to see all that yellow all over the page.
Lastly, this system even works as a monthly planner. To create the monthly calendar, find a new page and list all the days down the side. Next to the numbers, you can add S,M,T,W and so on to indicate the days of the week that correspond. On each line, you can document important events or activities. If you want to get detailed, open another new page with the date as the title and document your agenda. Easy-peasy. Sometimes with regular planners I forget to use them or don’t have a lot going on for a stretch of time and I always feel like I’ve wasted space somehow. This helps me feel more in control of my days by allowing me to write only when I need to (or want to!).
Well, whether you give this a try or not, I hope you enjoyed this little recap. I’m so grateful I read about it on Kelsey’s blog and gave it a try. It came at the perfect time for this DIY-ing bride-to-be !