Do you struggle with keeping track of your various tasks, tracking your goals, and building new habits? The Bullet Journal method is a unique and innovative technique to keep track of your life and plan for your future. The founder of the Bullet Journal, Ryder Carrol, calls the method the “act of intentional living.”
The bullet journal goes beyond just organization. In addition to your daily tasks, it is used to track various aspects of your life like your expenses, your sleep patterns, your goals, your income, your exercise, or anything else you want! In a departure from traditional planners, the Bullet journal method is incredibly adaptable to suit your specific needs.
How Can I Start A Bullet Journal?
This is not an ordinary planner. This is a planner you can make with any notebook and with any amount of stationery. All you need is some consistency and an understanding of what you’re looking for from your bullet journal. A bullet journal is an irreplaceable tool for students and working professionals alike.
This article will tell you everything you need to consider before you get started on your own bullet journal. It will include steps to getting started, supplies you need, things you need to know, and more! Keep reading to join the global bullet journal community!
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
If you’ve seen ‘Plan With Me’ videos on Youtube, their bullet journals seem to need a lot of supplies and a lot of time and patience. Bullet Journal YouTubers tend to use a lot of artwork and illustrations in their bullet journals and a lot of supplies. If you enjoy arts and crafts, this can be a great way to personalize your bullet journal. If this is the case, grab your favorite paints, markers, pens, and art supplies to get started.
But this is not a requirement by any means. All you really need for a bullet journal is a notebook and a pen. That’s all you need to get started, and I’m sure you have that right now. The bullet journal method is all about creating a system that works for you and nobody else. Starting simple can help you figure out what does and doesn’t work for you and keeps your system minimal and useful.
Step 2: Set Up Your Key
The heart of the bullet journal method is the key. Just like a map has a key at the corner to decipher it, your bullet journal should have a key (that you can decide on your own) to quickly categorize the tasks you have. For example, you can use a ‘.’ to signify a task you have to complete and a ‘o’ to signify an event you have to attend.
There is no limit on what symbols you can use, as the bullet journal system is entirely customizable. If you want to track your moods, you can even use a variety of smiley faces next to the date to signify your overall mood over the day. A key helps you quickly jot down complex to-do lists in a way that’s organized and makes sense. Confused about where to start? Here’s the key I personally use for reference:
Step 3: Make Your Spreads
While spreads are staples of bullet journals, they’re actually optional. You don’t necessarily have to structure your bullet journal at the start of every year or every month. It is entirely possible to take it as you go and write out your day-to-day tasks using your key. But if you’re looking for a more comprehensive summary of your tasks on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis, making spreads is a good idea. Here are some common spreads to get started with:
Monthly Spread: A monthly spread is essentially a calendar that contains all your important tasks, events, and appointments for the month. This will give you an overall idea of what the month ahead is going to be like and helps you visualize deadlines and appointments up ahead. To make this spread, draw a calendar in your journal and mark it with dates and days of the week. If you prefer to use digital calendars like Google Calendar, you can skip this spread.
Weekly Spread: If you prefer to organize your schedule week by week, you need to make a weekly spread. Simply write down all the days of the week across two double pages with sufficient space to write down all your tasks, and you’re done! Weekly spreads are some of the simplest to make but also the most useful. Seeing what tasks you have for every week helps you add more tasks to days when your workload is lighter so you can complete all your work on time.
You can also add trackers to your weekly spread if you prefer seeing your overall performance through the week. These trackers can include exercise, drinking enough water, getting 7 hours of sleep, journaling, or any other good habit you want to inculcate more consistently.
Future Log: If you’re starting a brand-new bullet journal, it’s a good idea to make a future log spread at the beginning of your bullet journal. A future log has space to write down tasks or important events throughout the year. When you’re making your monthly or weekly spreads, you can refer to the future log for tasks or events you have to complete. A future log can also give you an idea of what the months ahead are going to look like for you.
Step 4: Personalize Your Bullet Journal
As I keep repeating throughout this article, the best bullet journal is one that fulfills YOUR needs and nobody else’s. That’s the beauty of this system. It can be tweaked to fulfill any need you have. If you’re looking for a purely utilitarian planner that helps you keep track of your to-do lists, you can do that. If you’re looking for a journal that inspires you to be more creative and dream big, you can do that too.
There are no limits on what a bullet journal can and cannot be. Youtube is a great place to find inspiration, but try to remember that you don’t have to recreate anyone else’s bullet journal. You just have to create your own. So what are you waiting for? Grab a pen and a notebook and get started. Happy Journaling!
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