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We all know getting back to school is tough with schedules changing, homework, extra-circulars, programs, and who knows what else. I know I need to work on staying on top of all of that, as do my kids so I thought maybe we’d try something new this fall in an attempt to keep it all together. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably at least heard the term “bullet journal” somewhere because it’s a pretty hot thing right now. If you’re into trending hashtags, check out #bujo on just about any platform, especially Pinterest, and you’ll see what I mean. A bullet journal isn’t just a typical journal though – it’s a calendar, planner, to-do list, tracker, place to jot down things that inspire you, and really it’s whatever you need it to be so long as it helps keep you motivated, organized, and on task. I’m a huge list person – I have lists for my lists, so the more I learned about bullet journaling, the more I thought it just might be for me. Although there are some common components that are suggested you incorporate to get your bullet journal started, there’s no right or wrong way to use it because it’s all about what makes you be a better you. Be sure to keep that in mind as you get started because what I’m showing you below is what made sense to me when getting started on my bullet journal journey and if that works for your, fabulous, but if not, you do you – no judgement here!
The first thing I did was head out to Target because we all know they have everything! (Of course I walked out with more than just what I needed for my journal, but that’s a story for another day!) I picked up a pretty basic journal, and I chose one with lined pages because I need a little structure, but not so much that I can’t color outside the lines here and there. You may prefer a grid or a completely blank page depending on what you plan to include in your bullet journal. I also picked up some fun washi tape, dividers I planned on using to tab the various months in my journal, and my very favorite items – some Pilot G2 gel pens in a variety of fun colors (they have 15 different colors to choose from!). Fact about me: I’m a pen
hoarder collector. I love pens of all types but gel pens are my absolute fave and the more colors I can find the better which is why I love these Pilot G2 pens – they have your basic black and blue colors if that’s what you like, but if you like to live a little, they have fun greens, teals, reds, and I even snagged a silver one in this pack from Target! They’re also comfy to hold which is a big deal if you find yourself writing frequently or for long periods of time.
Back to getting this bullet journal started though. Once you have all the supplies you need to make it pretty, fun, professional, whatever it is that tickles your fancy, the first step is numbering your pages and creating your index. The index is how you will keep your journal entries, called collections, organized. Each page will have a topic and each of those topics will be added to the index by the corresponding page number. Your index is the backbone of your journal. One of my favorite qualities of the bullet journal is that nothing has to be written consecutively, rather you simply write any new information on the next blank page because that’s how life happens, it’s not always in perfect order. You don’t have to save pages and there are not sections that go unused you simply refer to your index to find what you need whenever and wherever it may be. Some people also include signifiers (ie a dot is a list/task, a box means it needs to be done and when it’s filled in it’s accomplished, a triangle is a place to go, once filled in you have gone, etc) – almost like a code key. I didn’t use one or my journal, but if you want to add that you can do it along with the index so it’s easy to refer to as you’re getting started with your logs.
The Future Log
Often you have things (appointments, vacations, meetings, etc.) planned in the future that you need to remember, but they may or may not be part of the current month that you’re focused on. The future log is simply a list of those things that you don’t want to forget, but don’t necessarily need immediate attention. I like this page to come right after my index – sort of an important events list that can be referenced or added to at any time. You can set it up however you like, but for me a simple list with the date(s), time(s), and a short description of the activity with a checkbox that I can mark off when completed works best.
The Monthly Log
This is our monthly calendar and no, it doesn’t have to start in January. Heck, it doesn’t even have to start at the beginning of the month – just start this log whenever you’re starting your bullet journal and keep moving forward. You can keep this simple just noting important deadlines, appointments, or activities that you are aware of. The appointments and obligations that you may typically keep in your phone are the types of things you might want to move over here.
The Monthly Task List
This is a section that I’m going to say is optional because I don’t really find that I need this. Some people may, in which case you would have the monthly calendar you just made on the left and a giant task list on the right. Personally I don’t think I need this because any of the tasks I need to accomplish are likely going to fall under my daily log (which I will talk about next), so that one is up to you. If you like the idea use it, if not, don’t – again you do you.
The Daily Log
This is where I would put those tasks I mentioned, or a “to-do” list. This is so much more than just a task list though. This is where the “journal” part of the equation comes in. This is where you jot down anything from practical information, like tasks and appointments, but also personal stuff, like things you want to remember, books you finished reading or want to read, conversations you had with an old friend or the website you saw an awesome pattern for a new no-sew dress on.
Other than that, what you put in your Bullet Journal is entirely up to you. I have a section for blog posts that are due, blog post ideas, pitch ideas, and I track my water intake because that’s something that I really struggle with. What you track, need reminders on, or just want to remember can be whatever works for you. I’ve found that the more I use my journal, the more I want to use it (if that makes any sense at all), and the more things I’m adding to my bullet journal.
What types of things do you or would you have in your Bullet Journal? Let me know in the comments below and if you’re ready to run out and snag some supplies, use this coupon and save $0.75 on any ONE 4-pack (or larger) of G2 Gel Ink pens!
Dee saysAugust 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm
LOL! I am so glad that there is name for something that I do all over the yellow pads at work. I never heard of the Bullet Journal, but I am going to have to jump in on it.
Alison saysAugust 15, 2016 at 6:14 pm
Right! Now all the random notes I had can all be in one place and they have a name! I used to call it organized chaos but little did I know I was just ahead of the times lol
Tami saysAugust 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm
So many planners and journals are not set up exactly how you need them. That’s what makes bullet journaling so awesome — you build it the way that works for you. I have a revised system based on the bullet journal, which works for me.
Alison saysAugust 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm
That’s what I love about it – most pre-made planners have a lot of wasted space and not everything I would like to have so this totally works for me – everything I want, nothing I don’t and if I change my mind or decide I want to add something, it’s never too late!
lauren happel saysAugust 16, 2016 at 9:59 am
I have never done bullet journalling but it seems like a great way to keep a journal. I love these tips and you make it looks so easy to do too!
krystal saysAugust 16, 2016 at 10:38 am
You make bullet journaling look so EASY! I love how you listed out your index page and set up your schedule. I am certainly taking notes on that. Those pens go well with your bullet journal and planning style! #client
Aileen Adalid saysAugust 16, 2016 at 5:52 pm
This is so cool! You just reminded me of how awesome bullet journaling is. 😀 I haven’t done it personally, but I absolutely feel like I need to start now. Thanks for the inspiration!