Bullet Journal like a Boss
Do you want to be better organized and prepared for your days? If so, you perhaps have tried a planner, but then maybe you wanted something more. If you are a fan of organizing, tracking, and having awesome details about your life, then a bullet journal is for you. As the latest organizational craze all over the Internet, there are plenty of resources on creating, using, and maintaining your very own bullet journal. Never fear. Here are some of my tips. As someone who has been relying on a bullet journal since August of 2017 after months of research, I gathered my best advice on how to bullet journal like a boss.
What is a Bullet Journal?
Commonly referred to as a Bu-Ju, the idea of this type of journal was initiated by Ryder Carroll, who is a digital product designer. This kind of organization stemmed from a conversation with a college friend who was planning a wedding. Carroll had been using a bullet journal on his own and when he shared the system with his friend, she strongly advised him to share it.
He shared it on a larger scale in 2013 on www.bulletjournal.com. Initially, the website included a tutorial, which I will share below. In that tutorial, Carroll begins by saying that his method will help people track past, present, and plan for the future, too. It may sound like bogus, but trust me. It works.
In an interview with Evernote (which is another organization tool that I adore. More on that on another hub, for sure), Carroll simplifies the system even more by mentioning four elements that make it stand out.
Rapid Logging (Plus my Tips)
Rapid logging is one of the keys to a successful bullet journal journey. It is all about rapidly and efficiently taking notes and relying on page numbers. By doing this, you eliminate large bodies of text that can overwhelm you.
Now, part of using a log is that you need a system of bullet points to help parse the steps you’d like to take. While Carroll has a specific system that he suggests using in bullet journals, my first tip is to use what comes naturally to you. In fact, if the bullet points confuse or complicate the process, I am all for taking them out entirely.
For me, my bullet journal has squares for each task, and I use a simple check mark to say that it is done. Otherwise, I’ll simply put an arrow to indicate that the task is not done yet and needs to be revisited at a later date.
A bullet journal has different sections that you can dedicate to different segments of your life. My favorite tip about modules is to incorporate them into the system you have going on. It is really easy to forget about these elements of your journal. For me, I would get caught up on the actual schedules that I would forget about sections that mean a lot to me, like tracking books I was reading and purchasing, written essays and poems, highlights of the month, and so on.
What I do now is that I break down these modules into smaller bits that correlate to each month. In other words, I attach the module to the month rather than having a collection of entries in a separate section. This stylistic choice helps me with easier reflections.
Next, Carroll talks about monthly logs.
This one is easy. Every month, you list out the goals you want to accomplish. I also like to include a calendar of the whole month with highlighted dates of certain appointments, birthdays, and deadlines to provide a general overview. It is nice to have a bigger picture of what the month will look like so you can plan accordingly.
You may be wondering what happens when tasks are not done within the month. Carroll answers this question with the next element.
From week to week, or even month to month, you can always move unfinished tasks. The point is to evaluate the tasks and decide which ones you want to continue to pursue. This is perhaps one of my favorite aspects of bullet journals: they assist you in reflecting and ranking tasks. In doing so, you are freed from dragging the same tasks repeatedly. It truly gives you control of how you want to spend your time.
Here are some more tips that I would like to share.
Which feature of bullet journals appeals best to you?
Listen, I know people will tell you to buy your own fancy bullet journal, but I say you should buy the cheapest journal you can find. Obviously, you want to buy something that brings you joy. To me, something cute and colorful always makes me happy. Feel free to decorate it and make it seem more welcoming to you.
Another aspect to consider is the materials you use. Some people use expensive pens and markers. I found that it is less intimidating to use products that cost too much, especially when you still don’t know how you want to go about using them (if you even want to use them at all).
The Buju community is vast, spread-out across social media sites, which is a lovely combination for newcomers experience in particular. You can begin by watching videos on the official Bullet Journal channel. Then, I encourage you to research other uses for bullet journals. For example, you can look into layouts, page ideas, ways of tracking your productivity. Pinterest, in particular, has plenty of great variety in its bullet journal pins.
Example: Plan Your Bullet Journal
Explore and Personalize
As you research more, you may experience stress to follow a certain approach to bullet journals. Remind yourself that no one does bullet journals identically. You want to make it yours, and the only way to do this is by finding out what works best for you. Personalize your journal and tailor it to your own needs. Your brain is unique. Why not design a journal that satisfies how that brain works?
In some ways, bullet journals can be simplified life lessons. For instance, and this is my biggest struggle thus far with it, mistakes happen often. Your pen will smudge. Or, you will misspell something. You just kind of have to have a sense of humor about it. You can draw trees over them or whatever makes you feel better about the mistake.
Find Your Style
A lot of people like to make their journals into neat squares and clean lines. But, that doesn’t have to be your style, if you don’t like this approach. To me, straight lines and perfect fonts just don’t translate into what I can actually achieve without getting caught up in a cycle of perfectionism and inadequacy. So. I like stickers, colors, and a lot of squiggly lines.
Explore what works for you as the creator and user of this journal. You want it to be something appealing in order for you to look forward to it. Perhaps you like the simplicity of some people’s approach to these journals. Or, maybe you’ll like the intricate, almost therapeutic, process of creating detailed lists and decorative margins. It’s all up to you.
Bullet journals are a ton of fun because they are flexible and cater to its user’s need. You are about to get on quite the journey to find how your journal is going to look. It will change depending on your needs for that year, a couple of months, weeks, or days. As long as you are having fun with it, and making it a stress-relief mechanism rather than a stressor, you are good to go. Enjoy your bullet journal process.
© 2018 Dina