If you don’t now, you’ve probably had a journal at one time in your life. Actually, you’ve probably had your fair share of journals—"had" being the key word. You had one, but did you regularly write in it? Did you fill all the pages with your daily or weekly entries?
We’ve all had our fair share of attempts at keeping a journal, but for one reason or another, many of us never stick with it. We last a month, a week, maybe even less. Life gets in the way, and journaling becomes a chore, something we don’t make time for.
We know journaling is good for us. It’s therapeutic. It makes us think and express our emotions. It’s a way to remember the good times we’ve had and look back on lessons learned from the tough times.
Journaling doesn’t have to be a chore—and with Bullet Journaling, it isn’t.
Basics of Bullet Journaling
Bullet Journaling is “the analog system for the digital age.”
It’s a short, organized way to write down and keep track of things that matter to you. Most use it as a daily and monthly to-do list, but it’s more than just a task list. It’s a place to keep everything important in your life succinctly together in one organized place, i.e. tasks, events, appointments, lists, meeting notes, ideas, questions, sketches, etc.
To keep a bullet journal organized, you:
- Write topics and page numbers on each page.
- Craft brief, clear sentences using bullets (hence the name “bullet” journaling).
- Systemize entries into one of three categories: tasks, events, and notes.
- Denote a bullet’s significance with a symbol.
- Check off tasks once completed.
Modules are what make up the Bullet Journal. The four core modules used are:
- The Index
- Future Log
- Monthly Log
- Daily Log.
The nice thing about Bullet Journaling is you’re not forced to use all four. You can mix and match the modules as you please.
The Bullet Journal was invented by Brooklyn native Ryder Carroll, and in Ryder’s own words, it’s a system to “track the past, organize the present and plan for the future.”
Benefits of Keeping a Bullet Journal
Now that you have the basics, it’s time to look into the numerous benefits you’ll receive from keeping a Bullet Journal.
Keeps you organized. You systematically write down and keep track of everything happening in your life. Having this information in one place and referring to it daily allows you to keep various aspects of your life organized.
Flexible and simple. The Bullet Journal site provides a basic system and methods to follow. Their system and methods are simple and easy to follow, but even better is that they’re flexible. You can follow them to a T, or pick and choose what you like and add your own personal touches in.
Less time and effort to maintain. Most get overwhelmed and stop journaling because they feel it takes too much time and effort to write a half or full page entry every day. Short bullet points take less time and effort to write, so you’re more likely to maintain and write in your Bullet Journal each day.
Gets you prepared for the following day. Take the time to review your day and its tasks that night and then plan the next day out. This way you’re not rushed during your already busy morning to plan out your day’s tasks and events. You can go to bed knowing you’re prepared for the day ahead.
Can start any time of the year. Carroll suggests starting a new journal at the beginning of each year. But really, you can start one whenever you want—be it January 1 or May 16.
Helps with short-term and long-term memory. The acting of writing something down makes you concentrate more and helps you remember things better. Your pen or pencil is mightier than a keyboard.
Getting Started with Bullet Journaling
Feeling inspired to start your own Bullet Journal now? Well in just seven simple steps, you can.
- Buy a journal. First things first, you need a journal. Make sure the journal you buy is easily portable and one you love, from the shape to the pages’ format. Check out our Bullet Journaling Notebook. The perfect notebook to get started today.
- Craft a structured Index page. The first facing page of your journal is the Index page. This is where you write down your topics and page numbers so you can easily find them later. This page is where your whole Bullet Journal really comes together.
- Create the first month’s calendar. On the next spread of pages, write the name of the current month at the top of each page. On the left page, write the dates of the month down the side and on the right page, write down the tasks and events for that month.
- Write down your daily calendars. Now go to the next spread and write down your daily tasks and appointments each day as they happen.
- Check off tasks. As you complete your daily tasks, be sure to check them off your daily to-do list.
- Create the next month’s calendar. At the end of the month, create the next month’s calendar. The only difference between the first month’s calendar and the new month’s is: before creating the next month’s calendar, you go through the previous month’s tasks and carry over any uncompleted tasks and cross off any insignificant tasks.
- Add new month to the Index page. After you create each month, make sure to add it and its page number to your Index page.
Above is the basic formula for how to maintain your Bullet Journal day by day, month by month. But really, it’s like a DIY journal—you ultimately get to decide exactly what goes in and how you organize it. Keep track of your daily tasks, events, and appointments, but feel free to add your own personal touches to it, like keeping track of your meal plan or your exercise routine or drawing sketches if you’re the artsy type.
Time management may not currently be one of your strong suits, but as you start Bullet Journaling, you’ll start becoming more effective at managing your time wisely and completing your daily tasks.
The key to beginning this new path of better time and task management starts with the perfect journal. Start your new healthy obsession of Bullet Journaling today.