Have you heard of a bullet journal? If not, you’re missing out on one of the hottest productivity and planning trends around.
In 2012, New York-based designer, Ryder Carroll, set out to create a journal that was a diary, to-do list, notebook and doodle book all in one. Over 20 years, Ryder developed the idea as a way to deal with his learning disability that prevents him from focusing for longer periods of time. His intent was to get all his ideas out on paper in a very short amount of time. Eventually, he developed a system that helped to solve his focusing issues.
While Ryder considers bullet journaling (or BuJo for short) a constant work in progress, it’s a system that he’s constantly refining.
So how does this system work exactly? The bullet journal gets its name from the three types of bullets used to signify tasks, notes, and events. Bullet journaling offers a framework to capture all your ideas quickly, in a system call Rapid Logging. Rapid Logging is the language one uses in bullet journaling and it consists of four components: topics, page numbers, short sentences, and bullets.
So is bullet journaling the answer to all your planning and productivity issues? Maybe or maybe not but given how popular this system has become, we’re confident it’s worth a try. If you love organization and creativity, this could be the system you’ve been looking for.
At the end of the day, the bullet journal concept is to help give you some guidelines but it’s up to you to develop a system that works specifically for your needs.
Here’s a round-up of some of the best tips we’ve found for bullet journal beginners.
Start at the Beginning
There’s no better way to learn about bullet journaling than to hear about it straight from the horse's mouth. Check out inventor, Ryder Carroll’s, Bullet Journal website to learn how to get started.
Via Bullet Journal
The Index Page
Since the whole point of keeping a journal is stay organized, a well-structured index (or key) will help you navigate through your journal with ease.
Via Show Me Your Planner
The Future Log
The future log is basically a quick year at a glance section of your journal. It is used to store items that either needs to be scheduled months in advance or things that you want to get around to someday. The versions for your future log are infinite so have fun with it and find a system that works for you.
The Monthly Log
The monthly log is where you want to write all the tasks and goals you have in each particular month. It generally consists of a calendar and task list but it can extend way beyond that to include appointments, events, budget and spending log, diet goals, birthday reminders etc.
The Daily Log
You may have already guessed this but the daily log is where your write out all your tasks, appointments, events and notes. It can also be used as a diary to document everything that happened that particular day. As with the rest of the pages of the bullet journal, it's at your discretion to customize this section to best suit your needs.
Signifiers are symbols that give your Bullet entries additional context. Ryder has created a set of signifiers he finds useful but you can also create your own signifiers that work for you – there are no limits and rules here.
Collections are the place to organize and keep track of a specific topic. The sky's the limit here. You can make a collection about anything your heart desires such as vehicle repair and maintenance, a sleep log or dream journal, books you’ve read or want to read, music playlist ideas, skincare and beauty routines, food and weight loss tracking, or wedding planning.
Migration is the act of reviewing your tasks and filtering out what’s done vs. not done, necessary vs. not essential, and relevant vs. non-relevant. Migration forces you to reflect and review what you have previously written and see if it’s still important and applicable.
Via Boho Berry
Threading is simply a page numbering system in bullet journaling. This technique allows you to add additional pages to a collection, even if it occurs out of order.
Via Page Flutter
Sometimes you simply want to see your month or year at a glance and this is where calendars come in. Often this is kept at the front of the bullet journal for easy access. Make it as simple or as sophisticated as you’d like.
Via Life Plus Paper
Embellishments are how you put your own unique creative stamp on your bullet journal. This is where you can get really creative and artistic. You don’t have to be a Rembrandt here – even by changing your pen or pencil colors or using washi tape, you can take your book to the next level.
If you’ve read through this entire list, I’m guessing that by now you understand that bullet journals are 100% customizable. You have the choice to make your journal whatever you want or need it to be. If you’re looking for a little more inspiration, here are some fantastic examples of what’s possible.
Via Doodle Darlings
Via Belinda Marriott
Via Blue Lahe
Via Crafty Enginerd
Via Pages 2 Plan
Via Marty Planner