You may or may not have heard the term “bullet journal.” Although I’ve been using one for a year, my dad still hadn’t heard of it when I talked to him about it a few days ago (whereas my husband has heard enough about bullet journaling from me to last him a lifetime).
So what is bullet journaling?
It’s a system of journaling created by Ryder Carroll. As his website bulletjournal.com says, “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.”
In it’s simplest form, a bullet journal is just a system to keep track of, well, anything. Using just one notebook or journal, you can use it to plan, make lists, keep track of your finances, and so much more.
What do you need to start a bullet journal?
All you need is any sort of journal (preferably blank) and a writing utensil. This system works really well using a dot grid journal, but you can use a regular lined or unlined notebook as well. I initially tried out the bullet journal system in a simple college ruled spiral notebook. However, I quickly switched to a dot grid journal for ease of use and its helpfulness in creating layouts.
Who is this bullet journal thing for?
Bullet journaling is for anyone who wants to track anything by writing it down. If you are committed to keeping track of your schedule, lists, and everything else in your phone, then you really have no need for a bullet journal.
But if you, like me, like to keep track of things by writing them down, you may want to try out this system. For someone who has had a separate notebook for everything, having a bullet journal to write everything down in one place is wonderful.
So what makes a regular journal a “bullet journal”?
There are a few components that you typically have in a bullet journal: an index, monthly/weekly/daily logs, and collections.
Your index is where you keep track of all your pages. Since you are building the layout of your journal yourself, it’s helpful to have a list of all your pages and their page numbers (especially if you have collections mixed in with past months’ logs).
Logs are where you keep track of your days, weeks, and months (I called them “calendars” in my index). Essentially, its a planner that you build as you go, keeping track of what’s happening in the months to come in your future log. Although I don’t use daily logs, I build a new monthly log every month to keep track of what I have going on.
(Really, if you haven’t watched the video and are a little lost, go watch it now!)
Collections are pretty much lists. The first collection I made was “Before Baby Comes” (aka all the things I needed to do/buy before Baby Girl was born). While I don’t use that page anymore, some of my other collections that I still use include “Books I Want to Read,” “Fountain Pen Inks,” “2018 Goals Tracker,” and “Wish List.” I don’t use these collections everyday, but when I need them, they’re there to look at (and I can find them quickly by referring to my index).
Other than these things, a bullet journal really is whatever you want it to be. You may only use it as a planner. You may not use it as a planner at all. You may leave it as simple as can be or you may let your creative juices flow, making fun layouts for each page.
I’ve been using a bullet journal for the last year and have enjoyed it’s simplicity and flexibility. I’ve become a big fan of bullet journaling (which is why I’m writing about it), and I’m really glad someone mentioned it to me. (Shout out to my brother for being the first person to tell me about it!)
What I love about using a bullet journal:
1. It’s customizable.
I am a planner person. I love having a planner and keeping track of everything. But I’ve always had a hard time with them not being quite what I need. They may not have enough space for each day or lack functionality on the monthly view. One way or another, I ended up with wasted space.
With my bullet journal, I can make each month, week, and day exactly what I need. And if something doesn’t work, I can always change it up and do something different next time. In the last year, there were some months that I used three different weekly layouts because I couldn’t figure out what would work best. There were other months when I didn’t even make weekly logs because I knew that a monthly log would suffice to keep track of what I had going on. Whatever the month is bringing, I know I can customize my bullet journal to meet my needs.
2. It’s a creative outlet.
I like creating. Crafting, drawing, writing. I enjoy making things, but I want them to be for a purpose. At this stage of life, crafting isn’t as easy. But designing layouts for my bullet journal? That I can do. And I enjoy it. It’s relaxing to be able to sit down and create my next weekly or monthly log.
3. It’s a great place for lists.
I love lists. I don’t know why, but making a list relaxes me. So getting to make lists that look pretty and are organized and useful? I’m all for that.
4. It’s helpful.
Keeping track of my schedule is important. Plain and simple. I’m not an incredibly busy person, but there are always things that come up that I need to know about. And I don’t trust my brain to instantly recall all that I have going on in the coming weeks and months. Having that all in one place makes my life more simple. When family calls and ask if they can come for a visit on a certain weekend, all it takes is me looking in one place, on a marked page in my bullet journal, to know if we have anything planned.
5. It works for me.
This system works for me. It doesn’t work for everyone, but writing things down is how my brain works best. The bullet journal system makes my life simpler and so I’m sticking to it.
Do you have a certain planner system that works best for you? Do you also love bullet journaling? Did I leave you with more questions than answers? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer whatever questions you have!
I’ll also be doing some future posts on the topic of bullet journaling, including my favorite bullet journal supplies, tips for simplifying your bullet journal use, and my favorite bullet journal layouts. If you want to stay up to date on when I post next, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or subscribe to my blog to get the next post straight to your inbox!
Thanks for reading!