What Is A Bullet Journal?

by Valerie, Mom Knows It All

Some posts on this site contain an affiliate link. Clicking on an affiliate link does not increase the cost of the product if you buy it. It does mean that I MAY make a commission if you purchase the item. Affiliate links are used in an attempt to offset the operational costs incurred by running this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What Is A Bullet Journal? Who can benefit from bullet journaling? What are the benefits of bullet journaling? We have simple answers to these questions!

What Is A Bullet Journal?

What Is A Bullet Journal?

Bullet Journaling has been a hot trend for a little while now. If you aren’t into planners and/or journaling then it may not be something that you’ve heard of. If you are into planning, lists, expressing creativity and recording memories then bullet journaling may be for you.

A bullet journal is a way of keeping track of everything you need to do in one notebook. It usually consists of three different parts.

The first part includes the index and key. They will occupy the first two pages of your journal and help you stay on track with what’s where and how the journal works.

The second part consists of a monthly log or calendar, and then running daily entries. More on how these work in a minute.

The last part of a bullet journal is something called collections or lists. They are just that, lists of related things you want to keep track of. For example, you may have a list of books you want to read, or a list of clients you need to contact this month.

The idea with a bullet journal is that you set aside two pages for your index and then record things as they come up throughout your day, week, or month. At the beginning of the month you set up a monthly page. This is your space to record appointments, anniversaries and the likes. Some bullet journalers will simply make a list of 1-30 (or 31) and then leave space to note appointments as they come up. Others prefer to draw a more traditional monthly calendar grid over two pages. Try both and see what works better for you. As you draw each monthly grid or list at the beginning of the month, make a note of what page it is on in your index.

On the next blank page, enter today’s date and start recording things you need to take care of, appointments to keep today, and anything else you need to keep track of including quick notes and ideas. This is where you key comes in handy. There are two common ways to do your key along with many variations in between.

Original Key:

⃞ Task
■ Completed Task
⍈ Migrated Task

⃝ Appointment
⬤ Completed Appointment
⟴ Migrated Appointment

– Notes

New Key

ᐧ (Dot) Task
X Completed Task
> Migrated Task

Appointments and notes are used as before.

Any task on your list can be crossed out if it is no longer applicable or needed.

Pick the key system that seems most intuitive for you and start recording the things you need to keep track of and remember in your Bullet Journal. One way to think of it is as the ultimate ongoing to-do list.

At the end of the day, review your list. Things that have not been completed need to either be crossed out because they are no longer relevant and important, or they should be moved to a tomorrow. If you don’t want to, or can’t tackle an item or two the next day, leave it open and make sure you review and work it in at a later date.

Who Can Benefit from Bullet Journaling?

In today’s busy world, where we have to keep track of lots and lots of information, almost anyone can benefit from bullet journaling. This particular system of staying organized has some unique properties that make it particularly helpful for people who thrive on lists and appreciate a non-digital system. Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide if bullet journaling is right for you.

If You Use To-Do Lists Bullet Journaling May Be For You

If you’re a fan of to-do lists and have one sitting at your desk or your kitchen counter, then a bullet journal may work very well for you. Think of it as a large, ongoing to-do list that also helps you keep track of appointments, grocery lists and the likes. And since it’s all in one journal, no more frantic searches for that little list that held everything you needed to do today. (That is unless you misplace your journal – but that will be a bit easier to find than a piece of scrap paper).

If You Are Looking For An Analog System Bullet Journaling May Be For You

Our electronic devices are great, but sometimes you want to go back to pen and paper. If you want an organized, easy to deal with system that requires no batteries or Wi-Fi, then this will be a good fit for you.

If You’re Looking For a Creative Outlet Bullet Journaling May Be For You

If you are looking for a creative outlet but you just don’t have the time to sit down and sketch, paint, or create, then bullet journaling may be a good fit for you. As you plan your day, you can let out your creative side as you doodle and decorate your daily pages. Of course this is completely optional.

If You Feel Like You’re Keeping Track Of Too Much “Stuff” In Your Head Bullet Journaling May Be For You

Do you have a constant running tally in you head of everything you need to do and remember today? That takes up a lot of brain space. A bullet journal may be the perfect solution because it helps you jot down all those appointments, to-dos, meetings, and ideas you don’t want to forget as they come up. Writing them down allows you to forget about them and stop running that constant long list of stuff in your head that you need to remember. Just think of what you can do with all that extra brain capacity and how much less stressed you’ll feel when you stop to worry about forgetting something.

If You Need Something Mobile Bullet Journaling May Be For You

A big advantage of the bullet journal is that it’s nothing more than a notebook and a pen. You can sit down anytime, anywhere to plan, check on your progress through the day, or add a new line item. There’s no need to hunt down a power outlet and it works just fine in bright sunlight.

3 Big Benefits Of Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling is a great way to track what you’re doing throughout the day. It’s also a wonderful record keeper. You can look back and see how far you’ve come in any given week and month.

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.

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 Frees Up Brain Space

By far the biggest benefit to using a bullet journal is that it frees 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.

If anything above resonates with you then you may want to give bullet journaling a try. You may not think of yourself as a list or “pen and paper” type person, but may find that this is just what you needed to stay on top of everything that’s thrown at you on a daily basis.

If you want to learn a little more about bullet journaling, please check back later this week for a post on the different styles of bullet journaling.


You may also like

6 comments

Pat. July 29, 2018 - 10:56 am

Organization is the key.

Reply
KD Harris July 31, 2018 - 9:02 pm

I always wanted to try Bullet Journaling. Great tips that makes me more excited to try!

Reply
Linette August 1, 2018 - 8:22 am

So awesome! I love organization and journaling. Thanks for breaking it down and explaining how they can work together. ❤️

Reply
Amanda Martin August 1, 2018 - 10:22 am

I’ve heard so many good things about bullet journals. I should give it a try!

Reply
Annette Dattilo August 1, 2018 - 11:06 am

Thanks for the explanation. I have seen bullet journaling around, but never really knew the full scoop. As much as I like the idea of being a big list maker…I forget to do them a lot. However when I do set aside time to do one I am most productive. Hopefully I will get better at it soon. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Julie I Aloha Lovely August 1, 2018 - 2:50 pm

Thank you for this very simple breakdown. I keep switching from traditional planner to more of a bullet journal…still figuring out what works for me.

Reply

Leave a Comment