Getting Started with Bullet Journaling

 October 4, 2017  

Today I wanted to talk about Bullet Journaling. I have had lots of people ask what Bullet Journaling is, why this is a great method to use and how to get started.  If you like to track things and keep records then you are going to really enjoy Bullet Journaling. First let's discuss some of the benefits of using a Bullet Journal.

Benefits of Bullet Journaling

Firstly it's Easy and Customizable – You don’t need to go out and buy a big planning system or download a fancy app to your smartphone. Instead, all it takes is a notebook and a pen or pencil. Chances are you have an old notebook lying around. Grab it and give it a try. Setting up a basic bullet journal is simple. The entire process can be explained in a few minutes. Set up your key, index and monthly spread and you’re good to go.

Because it is such a simple system, it’s easy to customize it for your needs. If you need ideas, head on over to YouTube or follow a few bullet journal enthusiasts on social media. You’ll get plenty of ideas to help you customize your bullet journal for your needs. Because it’s an analog system (just pen and paper), your bullet journal will work anytime anywhere, no power or Wi-Fi required.

The next benefit is It Helps You Stay Organized – Once you get in the habit of recording and checking off anything important, your bullet journal will help you stay organized in all areas of your life. Keep track of work tasks, dentist appointments, and your grocery list in one convenient place. The key and index make it easy to keep track of everything.

Since it’s nothing more than a notebook and pen, you can carry it around with you everywhere. Throw it in your purse, keep it next to you on your desk, and review your day before you head to bed at night. Once you get in the habit of using your journal throughout the day, it will become second nature to carry it around with you, the way you keep your phone on you. It will really seem like second nature to not go anywhere without your Bullet Journal.

The third benefit I want to mention is It Frees Up Brain Space – This benefit to me really is by far the biggest benefit to using a bullet journal. A Bullet Journal will free up a lot of brain space. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much of a difference this will make. Most of us don’t realize how many appointments, tasks, and random pieces of information we keep track of. Writing them down allows you to use those brain cells for more creative and productive endeavors. You may even find that you sleep better because you’re no longer worried about forgetting an important task or appointment the next day. Love this!

Different Styles Of Bullet Journaling

Next let's talk about the different styles of bullet journaling. In fact, it’s a very personal and personalizable way to journal, plan, and keep track of your busy life. I suggest that you use these styles as a starting point and feel free to mix and match to come up with a system that works for you.

The Daily Planner and Organizer

One of the most popular uses for the bullet journal is as a daily planner and a way to organize your busy life. It will keep track of your appointments, tasks and anything else that comes up. It’s the ultimate daily planner that can be customized to work for you, your work and personal life, and keep track of just about anything and everything for you. Color coding or adding different sections makes it easy to keep track of different aspects of your life.

The Ultimate To-Do List

If you love making and working from daily to-do lists, you’ll love the bullet journal. It’s the ultimate to-do list system since each daily section is nothing more than a list. The same goes for collections which are nothing more than thematic lists that you use in addition to your daily to-do lists. Since everything is collected in the journal, you don’t have to go hunt down random scraps of paper.

The Creative Outlet And Memory Keeper

If you’ve been thinking of keeping a traditional journal, art journal, or scrapbook, but you don’t want to commit to a dedicated book, consider using your bullet journal as a creative outlet to explore your artistic side. You can make it as simple or involved as you’d like and still use the journal to keep track of the things you need to get done as well.

The Personal Improvement Tool

A bullet journal is also a great way to keep track of goals and make sure you’re doing something every single day to help you move forward. Trackers help you track your progress and you can add monthly and daily reminders to help you create positive habits. Use trackers, mind maps, and dedicated lists for books you want to read, courses you want to take, or new things you want to try. The bullet journal makes a great personal improvement tool.

How you use your bullet journal is up to you. Use the list above to inspire you to come up with your very own style of bullet journaling. Remember, it is a tool that’s supposed to make your life easier, more enjoyable, and more inspired. Make it work for you.

Now it's time to start your first bullet journal. In this section we will talk about the three main styles that you can choose from. Pick one and then just get started. If you find it's not quite right for you, simply switch over to a different type.

Bullet Journaling

A Plain Notebook

The easiest way to get started is with any notebook that you have lying around. Of course you can also pick up an inexpensive one at the store. If you just want to give this a try, it doesn’t matter if it’s ruled, lined, or has blank pages. Any type of notebook will work.

The advantage is that it’s easy and inexpensive to find something to play around with. The disadvantage is that inexpensive notebooks tend to fall apart after a lot of use, aren’t very customizable, and you have number the pages yourself. That being said, I recommend this is where you start. Give it a try and see if bullet journaling will work for you. If so, you can move on to one of the other types of notebooks.

A Moleskin or Leuchtturm Notebook

When you’re ready to upgrade to a journal you’ll enjoy writing in and are proud to display, consider spending a few dollars on a Moleskin or Leuchtturm notebook. You’ll end up with a nice sturdy book that you can carry around with you or keep by your desk.

In addition to making your bullet journaling a nicer experience, a quality notebook has some added benefits. The paper will be nicer to write on, it usually has quite a few pages, so you may be able to fit an entire year’s worth of notes and journaling in one notebook.

Bullet journaling requires you to use numbered pages in your journal for indexing. There are a few editions available that include numbered pages including the Leuchtturm 1970 journal. [replace with your affiliate link]

A Travel Journal or Midori

A third option is a travel journal or midori. This consists of a piece of leather used as a cover and a series of replaceable inserts held in place by elastic bands. The big advantage of using a Midori style journal for your bullet journaling is that it’s highly customizable. Instead of using an index and having your collections or lists randomly spread throughout your journal, you can keep a dedicated insert for collections.

If you’re missing a more traditional calendar layout for your monthly pages, you can use a more traditional monthly and weekly calendar in your bullet journal.

Last but not least, by having the essential parts of your bullet journal (monthly spreads, daily sections, and collections) separated, you can replace only the parts you need to replace. That means when your daily journaling notebook is full, you simply start a new one, and there’s no need to go back and copy over any essential collections in a new journal. You keep your collections until you’re ready to replace it and start a new journal for those.

Using a bullet journal means you will be want to have a great selection of pens to write with. Here's a couple of my favourite ones.  Papermate pens are easy to find and comfortable in your hand, plus they come in lots of colors. See the full selection of Papermate Pens Here Be sure to check out these Ultra Fine Pens as well.

No matter what format you chose, I hope you give bullet journaling a try. If you have any questions, or if you all ready have a bullet journal we would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below!

 

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