The Creative's Guide To The Bullet Journal
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The first time I heard about the Bullet Journal was on Pinterest. I was intrigued, so as I do when I get obsessed with something, I found out everything I could about the Bullet Journal and a week in, I'm trying the system out for myself, with surprising results.
What Is The Bullet Journal?
The bullet journal or Bujo for short in the community (yes, there's a whole community!) is described as an analouge system in a digital world. It was devised by Ryder Carroll who perfected the system over a period of time and then decided to share his findings with the world.
How Does It Work?
The basic premise is that you use one central notebook to write down everything from to-do lists, long term goals, doodle, draw, plan your week, month, year and get everything done. Check out the Bullet Journal website for a better explanation of the system.
Why Is It Worth My Time?
If you're happier with a pen and paper but traditional diaries, planners and apps don't work for you then try this system out. I'd recommend trialling it in a notebook you don't mind messing up rather than a brand spanking new diary. This gives you an idea of whether the system will work for you and if not, you haven't bought anything new and you can carry on your merry way.
What Does The System Look Like?
I'm so glad you asked!
Here's how I set it up, but there is no right or wrong way to do things. It's all down to you and you can start it any time of the year!
You can make your Bullet Journal as fancy or as simple as you want, and at the end of this post, I'll link some articles for fancying up your Bullet Journal if you should so wish.
I took a lot of inspiration from Boho Berry and Tiny Ray of Sunshine, so my bullet journal is very colourful and creative.
- Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen Wallet Black (4 Sizes)* (This is more if you want to draw or be a little more creative with your headings)
- Staedtler Noris Club Double Ended Fibre Tips (Pack of 10) 320NWP10* (You can get these in all sorts of colours or patterns
- Card Stock (I got mine from TK Maxx)
On the inside cover, my husband very kindly bought me this Bobino Pen* which I've stuck inside my notebook so I always have a pen handy. You can take the pen out and write with it, and then return it to it's home inside the notebook.
I also have my name and phone number if it ever gets lost.
Table Of Contents
The Table Of Contents is where the Bullet Journal really comes into it's own. The Lecturm already has 3 pages to create table of contents, but you can always create your own if you use another notebook. Bear in mind, if you use your Bullet Journal a lot, you may find it fills up very fast and you'll have lots of "volumes", which is why the table of contents comes in so handy.
As per the advice of other community members, I decided to make my key on a sticky note so that if it changes, I can easily take it out and amend it.
This is one of the original features of the Bullet Journal which I decided to keep. I've purposely not filled this in till I did this post as this will contain all the future dates and things I need to remember, some being very personal. Here you can record anything you need to remember to do in the next 6 months, which gives you a birds eye view of birthdays, events and anything else you want to record like when your favourite TV show is back on the air.
This is a hack that helps most people get a birds eye view, and isn't in the original Bullet Journal format. I do like this, but going forward, I'd probably print this out and stick it in so it's a little clearer and more consistent.
Daily Task List
One of the attractions of the bullet journal is the daily task list which includes rapid logging. You basically make a list of everything you need to do and then try and tick it off. If it doesn't get done, you migrate it onto the next day's list. The point is that by committing something to paper, you're either going to complete the task or if you keep migrating it, it's either not achievable or not something you want to do, so you make a decision whether to include it at all.
You can use the Bullet Journal to log anything, and that's where the pages feature comes in handy. As you can see, I have a page for the fat loss challenge I'm doing to note down how well I did from the first day. I'll note this in the index and go back to it for easy reference in future.
Since I am a Blogger, I'm using my Bullet Journal to keep track of what articles are being published each week so that I don't duplicate them and ensure a steady stream of content.
I note down all my blog related ideas in a separate notebook to keep it all together as well as my Evernote for on the fly ideas. I really like the card stock I got from TK Maxx to fill up blank space or cover up mistakes, and it brightens my journal up!
I do have an app to track not only my personal expenses, but our household ones, but I find it a real chore and sometimes forget to note down online purchases. By putting down on paper, I'm able to get a birds eye view of where my money is going and hopefully stop spending as much!
The final thing I want to share is Books Read and how to cover up mistakes.
I decided this year to make a note of which books I've read because I cannot keep my GoodReads account up to date. I made a mistake on the second page and decided to cover it up with some card stock.
Will It Work For Me?
That really depends on how much you put into it and use it. You don't have to draw in it, it's a system that works just as well for a busy accountant as it does for a creative writer.
So far I've been using it for a week and I find I am way more productive with it than I am without it!
I hope you enjoyed this window into my bullet journal, I'll keep you up to date with my progress and will share how it evolves and changes throughout the year.