What is a bullet journal?
You may have heard that the internet is currently obsessing over this organizational system called Bullet Journaling. The Bullet Journal is a planner system invented by digital product designer Ryder Carroll, whose aim was to help people optimize their lives for efficiency and productivity.
The original bullet journal system, (learn more here: BulletJournal.com) was meant to be minimalistic, but the artistic minds harboring pinterest and instagram have adopted the fundamental ideas and evolved bullet journalling into a creative outlet with washi tape, intricate lettering, and museum-worthy doodles. But my artistically disinclined comrades, don’t fear! The bullet journal is, at its roots, a planner system, and as such its primary purpose is to help you organize yourself and be embellished as much as or as little as you please.
How I dove In
For over three years now I’ve been journaling to keep track of school work and self-reflect, which until now, took the form of a mish mosh of to-do lists, schedules, paper clipped pictures, and general chaos. For me, the bullet journal system adds a ton of consistency to my aforementioned system of pandemonium. WAAAAY OVERDUE. I can not be more happy that I discovered this system! And here’s how I got started:
1. Choose a notebook and pen
You can technically start bullet journaling in anything. I started halfway through a notebook I picked up at TJ Maxx for $4. It’s lit. I love it.
My go-to pen is my Pilot Precise V5. It doesn’t bleed through, dries fairly quickly, and comes pretty cheap.
I feel obligated to mention the Leuchtturm 1917 journal. It’s the original, comes in a ton of cool colors, and has bleed-proof, dotted pages. Many people use Moleskine journals as well. I personally hoard journals and couldn’t justify getting the Leuchtturm until I finished this one. Please tell me someone relates. XD
2. Basic Set Up- Index
The basic Bullet Journal set up includes an Index, a Future Log, a Monthly Log, and a Daily Log.
3. Basic Set Up- Future Log
The future log is a yearly overview of major events and holidays.
4. Basic Set Up- Monthly Log
This section is the monthly overview, which I currently have in list form for August on the left page. I have the day of the week labeled next to the date of the month because I orient myself by day of the week, especially during the school year.
On the right side I have big tasks that I have to get done this month, and on the lower half, I have a monthly tracker. Instead of writing down things I want to keep track of every single day in the daily log, I put it in a habit tracker chart- bada bing bada boom: efficiency!
5. Basic Set Up- Daily Log
The daily log is what I’m most excited about! The key system lets me separate tasks (open square boxes that I get the satisfaction of filling in once I’ve completed them) from events (circles), and notes (bullet points). I’ve kept my daily log layout consistent with the day of the week incorporated into a page separator, with a little highlight underneath to really make the division stand out.
Oh! The possibilities are endless! These are any pages that are not part of the basic set up. That means they are totally customizable to your needs and interests and whatever you want to keep track of on the side.
Here are a few of mine:
Quotes Collection: I sprinkle quotes into my daily log whenever I need a pick-me-up but I like having a quote-bank to draw from just in case my brain can’t remember any.
Books to Read: This is just a standard list of books I’ve been meaning to read. One of my goals this year is to read more outside of the mandatory reading from english class. It’s so important to become a better writer, and it’s a nice escape from the mundane world- where are all my sci-fi girls at?
Seventeen Before 2017: This is a list of goals I’d like to meet before 2016 is over. Yearly resolutions are too hard to keep for me partially because I forget about them by February. By creating this list of goals now, I hope I can stay motivated. I also washi taped the edge so I can flip to this page quickly and check how I’m doing throughout the rest of the year.
AND THAT’S IT! I love starting with blank journals because no store-bought planner is going to be as customizable and adaptable to my life. Some people need that structure, which is totally fine, but I prefer this freedom. I highly, highly recommend bullet journaling because I’ve never had this degree of organization and flexibility at the same time! I’m ready for the school year. Bring. it. on. Bruuuuuuuuh!
I’m going to be doing updates periodically because the bullet journal is definitely going to grow with me. I’ll be adding new collections, changing the format, and who knows maybe one day my typography will be instagram-worthy. Is that shallow? Probably…
At the end of the day, it’s all about discovering what works for you. I’m glad I’ve found such a flexible system for me, and I encourage everyone to give it a go! If you have tried it out, I’d love to hear what your experience is!
Have a wonderful day or night wherever you are!
~ Lisa ❤