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How Bullet Journaling Will Change Your Life (Methods and Best Practices)

How Bullet Journaling Will Change Your Life (Methods and Best Practices)

Last Updated on June 2, 2021

What Is A Bullet Journal?

A Bullet Journal is an analog system that was created by a New York-based designer, Ryder Carroll, to help people coordinate their lives into a streamlined system. It goes by many names, including an equal-parts day planner, a written meditation, journal, etc.

The primary objective of a Bullet Journal is to enable you achieve higher productivity, both in your personal and professional endeavors.

According to the creator, Ryder Carroll, a Bullet Journal is designed “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” It usually highlights your daily to-dos as well as monthly expectations and even long-term plans.

The entries in a Bullet Journal are tagged using bullet points, asterisks, dashes, and any graphics that enable you to locate the categories with ease. And since the journal is customized to your needs, you can always select symbols that you find to be most relatable.

A Bullet Journal differs significantly from traditional planners and organizers. Unlike most traditional planners that focus more on what needs to be done, a Bullet Journal emphasizes on how accomplishing the task impacts your feelings.

And while most organizers focus on either short- or long-term plans, Bullet Journals take a holistic approach to coordinating your life. Goals range from daily to-dos to what you intend to accomplish years from now.

Who Should Keep A Bullet Journal?

It’s worth noting that a Bullet Journal isn’t for everyone. Like we’ve mentioned, it’s more like an analog planner. So, it may not be quite ideal for people that prefer to track their habits digitally through apps and other computer-based resources.

However, the journal is excellent for you if you fall within any of the following categories;

• You have lots of to-do lists that you’re always struggling to harmonize;

• Your to-do lists mostly appear in pen and paper;

• You are into stationery as well as scrapbooking, journaling, and similar hobbies;

• You love setting goals and tracking your habits; or

• You just desire to live an organized life.

Before you get started with creating a Bullet Journal, the following are common terms you’ll need to acquaint yourself with.

Niche Terms

Before you get started with creating a Bullet Journal, the following are common terms you’ll need to acquaint yourself with;

Index – A table of contents, complete with page numbers to the different collections in the journal, as well as a symbol key that you update as you go. The index appears at the front of the journal.

Collections – The topics on each page of your Bullet Journal.

Daily Log – The things you’ve accomplished or intend to accomplish on a specific day, and any other observations.

Monthly Log – Everything you need to complete over a particular month and the things you didn’t do the previous month.

Future Log – The things you wish to complete over a period of one year, which include long-terms ambitions that may require more than a year to actualize.

Rapid Logging – The symbols that help you to accomplish your goals.

Migration – The act of moving undone tasks for a particular log period to the next collection. If those events keep recurring, you might consider moving them to the Future Log.

How to Create a Bullet Journal

1. Start With the Right Mindset

Like any planner or organizer, maintaining a Bullet Journal isn’t going to be easy. So, it’s important to understand why you’ve chosen to create the journal in the first place.

Whether you’re seeking to track your career, relationship, or personal habits, you’re going to need a positive attitude to actualize your plans.

Also, think about the inconveniences that might arise along the way and interfere with your ability to update your journal, and devise creative methods of addressing or bypassing those inconveniences. Remember, you’re about to start a habit that might define the rest of your life, so it warrants in-depth consideration before taking the plunge.

2. Start Small

Bullet Journals are relatively fun to keep compared to traditional planners. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get it right from the get-go.

Experts advise starting small and working your way up as days go by. Even if you’re already familiar with other habit trackers, you’ll find a Bullet journal to be a whole new ballgame. So, it’s unrealistic to start off with an overly ambitious one.

3. Get the Right Tools

The basic tools you require to get started with bullet journaling include a pen and paper. Thankfully, there are lots of Bullet Journal notebooks that come pre-printed with index and page numbers.

The following are some top recommendations;

a. Leuchtturm1917 notebook

Leuchtturm1917

The greatest selling point of Leuchtturm1917 notebook is that it’s fountain pen-friendly. It comes with some show-through
Product Link: https://amzn.to/2R6Hszk

b. Moleskine

Moleskine Classic Notebook

This notebook is both show-through and bleed through.
Product Link – https://amzn.to/39zozeY

c. Zequenz

Zenquenz

Zequenz is show-through and somewhat bleed-through. The 400-page notebook comes in a variety of sizes.
Product Link: https://amzn.to/3bLb513

d. Rhodia

Rhodia Webnotebook Orange

Rhodia notebook has little to no show-through. It’s also fountain pen-friendly.
Product Link: https://amzn.to/2UEUaYq

Other notebooks include;

a. Essentials – https://amzn.to/2UEGs84
b. Field Notes – https://amzn.to/2JA8L11
c. Markings by C.R Gibson – https://amzn.to/2UWenYJ
d. Clairefontaine – https://amzn.to/2wacpvn

Just like notebooks, it’s also recommended that you go for pens that are designed exclusively for Bullet Journaling.

The following are some of the pens you might want to experiment with;

a. Micron – https://amzn.to/3bNZuyi
b. Uni-ball Jetstream – https://amzn.to/3dSlMkz
c. Pilot G-Tec C/Hi-Tec C – https://amzn.to/3aGYCvc
d. Pilot Metropolitan – https://amzn.to/2UW4Uk1
e. Pilot Acroball – https://amzn.to/2R5kV66
f. Pilot FriXion – https://amzn.to/2JC9e2Q
g. Pilot Coleto – http://amzn.to/1JmRKUW
h. UniPin – https://amzn.to/3dNU3Bj
i. Pentel Hybrid Technica – https://amzn.to/3dMBUE2
j. Staedtler – https://amzn.to/2R5vIgw
k. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen – https://amzn.to/2yn4pYD

4. Get Down To Business

Every page in your Bullet Journal is considered a collection. A collection can be a daily, monthly, or future log.

Usually, the monthly log is made up of two facing pages, namely the Calendar Page and the Task Page. On the Calendar Page, you write down the events that transpired during the just-concluded month, with the provision of adding short snippets to those events.

The Calendar Page allows you to quickly review whatever happened over the previous month, which might determine how you fare during the current month. The Task Page is made up of the tasks that you wish to accomplish during the current month, and what you carried over from the previous month.

The Daily Log is the most important part of the Bullet Journal. On the daily log, the date is essentially the topic. You write the date at the beginning of each day.

Then throughout the day, you’ll be rapid-logging the tasks that you complete and events that unfold, as you add optional snippets to each task or event.

These snippets include the notes of facts as well as ideas and observations made throughout the day. It’s advisable not to pre-fill the dates in advance as there are days you may never make any entries at all.

As we previously mentioned, you should use symbols that you can remember easily.

Ryder Carroll recommends the following symbols;

O For events;
For tasks;
* For priorities;
< For scheduled;
> For migrated;
X For completed;
For notes;
! For inspiration, including insights, mantras, etc.

Before logging any entries, all of your tasks will all be preceded by a (•). Regardless of the symbol you use to make the entries, the convention is to mark the symbol over the bullet. The symbol acts as a short status report on the task.

Now, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to logging collections. You can use any method, ranging from goal plans to sketchnotes, blueprints, trackers, etc.

Here are image illustrations of how collections often appear on Bullet Journals;

Bullet-Journal-by-Matt-Ragland

Russell-BulletJournal

bullet-journal-min

Bullet Journal Inspiration

Inspirational Videos on Bullet Journals

You might also want to check out these resourceful videos;

As you can observe from the images and videos above, collections are mostly filled organically. They don’t necessarily need to start in daily logs. Another thing worth noting is that every collection you create must be added to the index.

Most task migration happens at the start of each month. You’ll start by reviewing the tasks for the previous month and single out whatever you couldn’t complete. Then, you can migrate what’s worth doing. Cross anything that isn’t worth doing or whatever may have been overtaken by events.

Wrap Up

Bullet Journaling isn’t only a way to reorganize and streamline your life. It’s also a fun way of keeping tabs of your life’s events using creative and personalized graphics. Check the Bullet Journal website – http://www.bulletjournal.com/ for more details on how to get started.

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