About 3 weeks ago, I made a major life decision: to start a bullet journal! If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, you’re not alone. I didn’t know what it was 30 minutes before I decided to start one either. But I had seen the name all over Pinterest. Then I read this article on Buzzfeed, went deep on #bulletjournal on Instagram and had ordered myself a Moleskine notebook within the hour. An opportunity to use my beloved markers in a luxurious notebook is not something to be passed up.
Ultimately, a bullet journal can be whatever you want it to be: a journal, a to-do list, a calendar, a tracker and everything in between. You buy it blank and you DIY it into something that works for you, your habits, and your schedule. While some people put great thought, time, and energy into making it beautiful (including me), the only rule is to not be intimidated by these people! You do not have to be an artist to keep a bullet journal, and if you want it to be pretty there’s always stencils, stickers and washi tape to do the job.
Though bullet journals are totally customizable, most #bujojunkies start with a few standard pages:
- A key. Instead of writing out full sentences, bullet journals utilize bullet points to quickly get the point across of your entry. A key will help you further abbreviate your notes by categorizing them with a simple symbol for all of your appointments, to-dos or events, etc. The key is totally customizable and can even be color coded for personal vs work. (See? There’s always an excuse to color code!)
- An index. Leave aside a few pages to fill in as you continue using your journal. It won’t be terribly helpful at first but as you start building pages, it will make it easier to find work you’re looking for. You may need to number your journal pages yourself for this, but just do 10 pages at a time like it’s no big thing.
- A “future log”. This acts as a calendar, to get an overall idea of what’s going on over the next several months, whether they be deadlines, travel plans, appointments, birthdays, or other days to keep in mind. It’s what makes me feel I am totally going to be on top of things over the next 12 months. (Maybe!)
- A “monthly log”. This is a closer look at the upcoming month. Again, this can be whatever you want it to be. For me personally, I’ve used this space to go into a little more detail for the individual month than I did in the future log. I write down my goals for the month, and I also have a monthly tracker to help keep up with habits. We all want credit for keeping up a good habit and this is your chance to have it in writing, whether it be tracking your workouts or practicing ukulele, you’re more likely to do it if you have a permanent place to check it off the list, and reflect on it later on in the month.
- A “weekly log/daily log”. Here’s where you can plan, track, and reflect on your day to day. This will look different for everyone depending on your life. I personally don’t have that much going on, therefor, I can fit a whole week on a two page spread. I transfer appointments and to-dos from my monthly log, at the beginning of the week, and cross them off and make notes on the day before I go to bed. I also track my water intake and try to plan our dinners for the week. See? Part planner, part journal. But it’s all customizable. You do you.
- Lists! It is mid-September, and I’ve just started a Christmas gift ideas list for the whole family because I am totally going to be on top of it this year! (Maybe!) Other lists to make: books to read/have read, bucket lists, screenplay ideas, upcoming crochet projects, crazy dreams you’ve been having, songs to learn on the ukulele, and on and on. Again, use your pages however you want to use your pages, that’s the beauty of buying a blank journal!
Experiment, explore, find out what works for you. It doesn’t necessarily have to take talent or time. And who knows, it could actually help you be on top of things for the next 12 months. (Maybe!)
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