I don't even know how I came across the concept of bulletjournals, but I probably found it on Instagram or Pinterest. I'm always looking for ways to be organized and I love making lists. I am a big fan of the app called Wunderlist, but when it comes down to organization I prefer to use notebooks. There is something about writing everything down and crossing of that motivates me more.
So, when I was introduced to the concept of bulletjournaling I was really curious about this and a bit hesitant. I know that I can easily get carried away by something and I was afraid to take the plunge, but eventually I went with it and I love it. It is a modified to-do list, but the whole concept around it with extra logs made me realize I wasn't effectively using my to-do lists before.
Bulletjournaling is also not only a way to keep track of everything I have to do in my daily life and blog schedules, but it also gives me rest in my head. I have an anxious nature, but the fact that I can write anything down and can make lists of everything that might bother me is really calming.
Back to the basic of what bulletjournaling is. It is a bullet system, an analog system, that helps you to create order by "tracking the past, organizing the present and planning for the future." It is created by Ryder Carroll. It is a way to rapid log what you have to do.
There are four key concepts.
1. Index. You number all your pages, so you can organize those entries in your index page.
2. There are several logs you can use in this system, like a Future log, monthly log and daily log.
Future log: events occurring in future months (example: birthdays)
Monthly log: events/notes and tasks.
Daily log: a spread with day to day tasks.
For your daily log:
First step is writing a topic on the top corner of the page, like the date. The next step is to add short-formed notations, organized into three categories: Tasks, events and notes. A task is a simple dot and it has the following key:
- X = Task Complete
- > = Task Migrated
- < = Task Scheduled
You use signifiers in front of these Bullets to give them extra context, like a ! to show that it is a very important bullet. For more information I recommend the official Bulletjournal website. I went ahead and changed these to my preferred keys, but this is the main idea.
3. Collections are a group of related ideas. This means you can make lists of everything you can think off. Here are two examples of pages I came up with: a wishlist of all things non-bookish and a spread for my classic-reading challenge.
4. Migrating tasks. At the end of the month you look at your Monthly log/daily logs and you look at undone tasks. You assess them and migrate them if you still want to do them or cross them off if they no longer have value.
You can go as simple and minimalistic as you want with these key concepts, but I like to go all out with decorations, drawings, banners, dividers, quotes and random doodles. I've always been artistic/creative, but the last couple of years I've been too busy with other things. Bulletjournaling helps me to bring out that side again. I'm also a bit obsessed with lettering, so it is a good practice. Here is an example of a random doodle page I added:
My tips for starting one:
1. Look at some examples and try to come up with a system that looks useful to you. Like: do you want a monthly spread, weekly, daily or all of them? What extra pages would be of benefit to you? I will take more about this in the next part.
2. Don't get carried away: if you like to keep it simple, stick with it. If you want to go all out: go for it. It is easy to fall in love with all the pretty creations some people make and I've seen jealousy and negativity surrounding it. Just do what you want to do and don't compare your bulletjournal with someone else. There is no right or wrong way.
3. Buy a dotted journal. My first one I used had lines, but dotted really is much nicer to use. I'm using the Leuchtturmn 1917 and I love it. The paper has a nice quality and doesn't bleed so much. I've also heard good things about the Moleskine dotted notebook.
Do you have any questions? Do you use to-do lists?