Follow my blog with Bloglovin AmazonWhen I was home over Christmas, my daughter introduced me to this “new thing” called a Bullet Journal. While I’m pretty up on using technology for organization, there is nothing like the organization and satisfaction of making lists on good old-fashioned paper! I began to explore this notion of the Bullet Journal more . . . and soon I was creating my own! It has been an awesome tool for organizing so many aspects of my life in one place, and was not nearly as complicated as it looks!
But what – exactly – is a Bullet Journal?
The Bullet Journal (or BuJo) is actually a registered trademark of Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer. His original model is very simplistic, clean-lined, and effective. It starts with a journal that has dotted pages, like the Leuchturm 1917 (about $20-$35). Pages are numbered and indexed, and tasks are outlined with the goal of being more productive. You can find out more about his methodology here.
But I wanted more – – –
I used some of Carroll’s methods, but I always like a bit of sass and flair in the things I do. Pinterest is full of ideas for Bullet Journal spreads that are beautiful and artistic. I love the creativity, but I’m just not that talented. And, if I have spent two hours designing a fancy spread to keep track of the foods I’ve eaten all week, I certainly don’t want to have to recreate it again the following week! [Nobody has time for that! And if you do, I want to hear from you!!]. So I found myself creating digital spreads that I could use again and again. (Which I’d love to share with you!).
Pre-Planning Your Journal
Before you even think about a journal, take a couple of days to think about things in your life that need organizing, or goals you’d like to accomplish, or just things you’d like to keep track of. I decided I had seven “major” categories: Schedules, Health, Food, Blog, Projects, Travel, and Other. [I actually divided my journal into eight sections, leaving one blank for overflow or if I thought of another later.]
Next, I looked at options for journals. There are dozens of beautiful varieties, but I just wasn’t sure if I’d stick with it, so didn’t want to invest a lot of money. I had seen a version with graph paper and liked the idea of staying neat with that. So I bought an inexpensive composition notebook with graph lines.
Pens are a whole other world among the Bullet Journal purists. There is actually a Facebook group (Bullet Journal Junkies) with over 100,000 members! They recommend non-smearing, colorful pens like Tombow Dual Brush Markers. But again, most are more artistic than I. Since I like a good Pilot G2 pen at work, I just purchased a colorful set for the sole purpose of my Bullet Journal . The only smearing I’ve had was on my slick tabs.
I happened to have a little package of Post It Tabs, similar to these that I used to divide my sections.
I have always been a fan of simple composition notebooks, but love fabric covers, like these from Heather at The Happy Haberdashery on Etsy. I’ve made my own, but Heather’s are reasonably priced, and she will work with you on custom colors! I have a new one coming soon from her that I will share when it arrives!
How to Set Up Your Journal
My notebook had 200 pages (100 sheets) so after dedicating the first page as an Index, I basically counted off about 12 sheets per section. Since this was my first journal, I wasn’t sure how much space I would need for each section, so they are all the same size. When I do my next one, I will allow more space for some sections, less for others, which I’ve learned just by the experience of using the Bullet Journal. I put the tabs at the beginning of each section, and numbered all of the pages in the lower right corner.
Create Your Index
The first page of my notebook, I titled Index. Next time, I will have the Index be a two-page spread. I’ve found I am using the backs of pages (that currently I’m labeling as #a). Every time you “create” a page, go back to the Index and write that down so you can find it later.
Start putting your templates in sections. Have fun and be creative! Use the templates wherever you can, and create pages as needed. Again, look through ideas on Pinterest! I have added a couple of inspirational pages that took longer but were fun to create.
I’ll share more ideas on ways to use the Bullet Journal to keep you organized in an upcoming post!