Bullet Journal: What is it and how do you create one?
Updated: Apr 2
Bullet Journal is an amazing way to organize yourself and create a better life with more mindfulness and creativity. It takes a little time to figure out how to make your bullet journal work for you, but it is totally worth the time investment!
What is a bullet journal?
The bullet journal, originally created by Ryder Carroll, is a calendar, planner, and journal all combined into one. It becomes whatever you make of it, allowing you to keep track of your past events, help you organize the current events and activities, and to make plans for the future.
Benefits of a bullet journal
Using pen and paper will not only help you to remember things better but will make sure you’re more mindful of your tasks.
Writing takes more time and effort, so you’ll be able to concentrate better and find your focus much easier.
You can develop your creativity. Creativity isn’t a secret superpower just a few own, it’s a muscle and you can absolutely train it. Your journal will be a great place to start discovering it in yourself.
Self-care: Your journal is your time to spend with yourself, to reflect and to learn more about your own desires and dreams.
Increased productivity: Once you set your goals, figure out your priorities and find your focus, you will be achieving more and getting closer to fulfill your dreams much faster. Plus psychologically, just writing things down already gives your brain a signal to start thinking on how to complete the tasks.
Reduce overwhelm: Having a huge to-do list in your head that keeps growing can be very taxing on your poor brain. This is why you forget things or don’t do them as well as you know you can. Unloading your tasks to your journal will help you to have more focus on actually completing them and achieving your goals.
Here are a few recommendations for the supplies you will need to get started with bullet journaling:
Notebook - preferably dot grid paper
Black Pen - use fine-liners of different sizes
Accessories - ruler, stickers, stamps, washi tape
You can also purchase them on my page: https://www.amazon.fr/shop/green_yourself
How do you create a bullet journal?
The best thing about a bullet journal is that you can customize it to your needs. You can create any spreads you want for any imaginable purpose. The most difficult part, however, is to pick and choose the spreads and setups. So before you start, here are a few tips:
Don’t overthink it. You don’t need all the pages, and even if you forget something, you can always add it to your next empty page. Remember, that thanks to the index page it will be very easy to find any collections, whenever you decide to write them.
Don’t forget to add your pages to the index. It might take some time to make it a habit, but it will be really useful in the future.
Don’t overdo the designs. Of course, if you want to get creative please feel free to! But don’t let a creativity block stop you from starting a bullet journal. If you’re not feeling it, just go with something simple and functional, nobody will judge you. Plus believe me, your first pages will never be the best ones in your journal.
Now let's get started....
Step 1: Cover Page
You can really skip this step, but I find it very useful. First of all, this is your first attempt at being creative in your bullet journal, which is always fun and exciting. Secondly, I always use the cover page to write down the year when I started the bullet journal.
Step 2: Key
Your key is the place where you write down the symbols you’ll be using for rapid logging. You assign different symbols for a different type of information. Here are some examples:
▪ for a task
✖ for a completed task
❗ for something important
🔺 for an event
🧭 for an appointment or meeting
🎂 for a birthday
🛒 for shopping time
❤ for quality time with your loved ones
You can also add categories for the information you will add to your bullet journal. For example: self-care, family time, work, household, exercise, admin, ... It's best to write them in different colors.
Step 3: Index
An index is a table of contents for your bullet journal. It is an overview of the information you randomly write into it. That’s also why it is important to have your pages numbered. Simply go back to your index every time you create a new spread and write the page number there.
Step 4: Future Log - Year Overview
A future log is a space for you to store all the information about future events throughout the year. This way, you create a year overview and always have a space to write down any events and happenings. Here are a few ideas on what you can add:
There are many different ways to set up your future log - year overview, and just as all the other pages in your bullet journal, you can completely customize it.
Step 5: Monthly Log
This is a place for you to create your monthly overview and plan all the things for that specific month. I personally love creating monthly cover pages, as this will separate clearly your monthly spreads from everything else, plus it’s a great place to develop your creativity!
Step 6: Weekly Spread
The weekly spread is an overview of your week with boxes for each day, so you can create task lists for every day separately. The daily log only contains the information for one day and is great when you have busy days with lots of things to track and do.
Step 7: Extra Spreads
There are a few more spreads that can be used in your bullet journal.
Goals Page: If you’re doing your yearly setup, creating a goals page can be very beneficial, since it will help you to improve your life in the upcoming year and reach for your dreams.
Habit Tracker: A habit tracker is a tool that helps you to create new better habits, or get rid of some old bad ones. It’s not even just about habits, it’s about self-discovering, learning your patterns and developing better routines. For example: how often you exercise, whether you are getting enough sleep, ...
Gratitude Section: Here you can take time on a daily or weekly basis to recall the things you are thankful for.
Inspirational Quotes: Now and then you can just write down a quote that motivates and inspires you.
Tips and Tricks
Keep It Simple: Those new to bullet journaling often find all the examples of nice fonts and complex designs. Keep it simple at first and just focus on the basics. Once you master those, you can then start to experiment with design. Remember the goal is not artistic ability but functionality.
Start at the Very Beginning: Once you have your bullet journal and pen, you are ready to get started, but where do you begin? Just follow the above steps and you are good to go. Just label the pages even if you don’t have anything yet to put on them. You can always go back later.
Don’t Wait Until January: One of the most helpful things about the bullet journal system is that you don’t have to wait until the beginning of the year to start one.