Everyone seems to have a bullet journal these days and rightfully so. They’ve helped thousands of people get their lives together in one handy little notebook.
I was skeptical but had people encourage me to give them a try, so I did.
And I now love my bullet journal.
I’ve always been obsessed with to do lists, but in addition to my to do list I also had planners, organizers, a plethora of topic specific journals, and let’s not even get into the hundreds of notebooks laying around with just a couple of pages written on.
Let’s just say all of that stuff intended to organize me, actually gave me a lot more organizational stress because I didn’t know where I wrote down what, where I put what planner, or which task I put on which to do list.
What is a Bullet Journal
In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, a bullet journal is an all in one, create it as you go, planner/journal to help you stay organized. You can keep everything in it from schedules, to do lists, notes, creative outlets, and a wide variety of lists. Anything you want to keep track of can be included in a bullet journal. The beauty of a bullet journal is that it is efficient and customizable.
The official bullet journal site will give you all of the history, backstory, and how to’s of a basic bullet journal, so I won’t go into all of the information on how to set one up. But, I will give you some insight into how I use it and hopefully inspire you to create one that will work for you.
How I Use a Bullet Journal
While using a bullet journal is an easy way to keep everything organized in a simple way it does take some time to get used to it. I recommend following the instructions on bulletjournal.com then making it more detailed, elaborate or even adjust how each of the sections work based on your personal needs after you’ve had a chance to get into a routine.
When I first started using the bullet journal I had the basic pages and that was it. I didn’t want too much to get in the way of the routine of using the journal and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with keeping track of too much.
My initial pages were:
- Future Log
- Monthly calendar
- Monthly Tasks
- Daily Log
That’s it. Five different sections for me to get used to while deciding what I wanted to keep, toss, or modify in my routine. Now that I’ve been using it for awhile I’ve tried out a variety of reports and logs to keep track of my business. You’ll find random lists about everything from favorite quotes to local restaurants to try out, as well as blog post ideas and recipe ideas. I’ve added shopping lists, menu plans and school lists, and more. I’ve really made it my own as I’ve grown with this journal.
The official bullet journal site gives instructions for different bullet point styles and signifiers to help keep track of different types of information. For me, I found it too much of a hassle and unnecessary for my purposes. I use dots only to signify everything. It’s much easier for me to quickly jot things down.
There are other people out there who have created even more signifiers and bullet points to represent a wide variety of , and I love that it works for them. For me, simpler is better.
On my to do list and daily log I use the regular dot bullet point. If I have a note or something to remember I still use the dot bullet point, but I put it on a separate page. The bullet journal site also suggests to use three different states for the dot task bullet. I only use two of those states. When I complete a task I X it out. If I need to move a task to the next day or another list I use the > which is a migrated state. I don’t use the < meaning scheduled. It just didn’t work for me.
What I love about the migrated state for the different tasks is that it makes me really think about the importance of the tasks on my list. Is it really something I need to do? Do I really want to migrate it? If not I need to either get the item off my list by completing it or deciding it’s not really something I need to do, in which case I’ll just draw a line through the complete task removing it from my list.
How Will a Bullet Journal Organize Your Life?
Planning, prioritizing, schedules, lists and inspiration all in one little book. This is how the bullet journal will organize your life, but I’m sure you’re looking for a little more detail than that.
Basically what the bullet journal will do for you is take all of your calendars, to do lists, reminders, and anything else you might jot down or need to remember through the day and put it in a handy little notebook.
The bullet journal grows with you so you don’t set up a huge amount of pages, you just create them in the order you need them and keep the important pages organized and recorded in the index so you’ll always know where to find them. If you need some scratch paper, you can just rip out a page. If you need to write down a shopping list, go ahead. Need to take notes for a phone conversation you’re on, pull out your bullet journal. It is designed to be a catch all place for all of your journaling and planner needs.
Bullet Journal Customization
I’ve already touched on how you can customize the journal for your own needs. At this point I’m fairly simple in my design with basic bullet point lists and a few handmade tables/charts. But, I’m looking to move into another phase of my bullet journal evolution with color.
People use everything in their journals to add a creative flair from washi tape to colored pens. Doodles, banners, and blocking. Just do a little research on Pinterest or an online search and you’re sure to find more ideas on how to customize your bullet journal in a creative way.
Do you use a bullet journal? How has it affected your organizational life? Tell me your experiences in the comments.