Create a Bullet Journal + Get Organized for Good

Do you love marking off completed tasks and to-dos? Then you'll adore this DIY planner.

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If you’re a planner lover like me, chances are you might have come across an Instagram photo or a YouTube video about bullet journaling.

Bullet journaling has been popular for a few years now, and it’s developed it’s own cult-like fanbase of bullet journaling fanatics. And while it’s not necessarily complicated, you do need to understand some basic concepts before you can dive in and start bullet journaling on your own.

So, What Is Bullet Journaling?

Dubbed "the analog system for the digital age," bullet journaling aims to simplify the planning process to the bare-boned basics. Unlike other planner systems that encourage stickers, washi tape and other decorations, bullet journaling purists say that all you need is a pen and a notebook to get going.

Bullet journaling allows you to combine elements of other planner systems such as calendars, to-do lists, trackers and wish lists, but since you essentially create each page, you have a lot of flexibility to turn your journal into exactly what you need it to be.

Here is the super simplified explanation of bullet journaling:

You start off your journal with an "index" page, which is basically like your table of contents. On this page you write out the topic and page number of your future journal pages. This system allows you to let go of the idea that things must be in a certain order, as your index will easily help you keep track of all of your pages.

Every page in your bullet journal needs to be numbered.

Each page has a topic. (Purists often like to keep one topic per page, but you can do what works for you.)

All of your items are written in simplified, short sentences.

Symbols or signifiers are used to indicate what type of task you're listing. You can use standard bullet journal symbols or create your own. For example, a bullet indicates a task; an 'X' means that you have completed a task, etc.

A "future log" keeps track of things on your long-term to-do list or wish list.

Calendar pages can be set up in a way that works best for you: daily, weekly, monthly or all of the above.

Those are the basics; however, as bullet journaling has become more and more popular, fans have expanded on the simple approach and created all sorts of variations and new styles of lists and journaling.

Here’s a detailed daily timeline:

Here’s a health tracker:

And a Pokemon GO tracker:

If you’re feeling a little confused, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, with bullet journaling, it seems pretty common to feel a bit confused and overwhelmed at first. But once you get the basics down and understand the process, you’re on your way.

Who Should Bullet Journal?

Bullet journaling is not for everyone, but from what I’ve seen, it works really well for people who...

...haven’t quite found the right planner system to fit their needs (or are bored with their current method).

...love to make lists and track things.

...don’t hate their own handwriting.

...are mildly obsessed with notebooks, pens, paper and anything stationery-related.

...are looking to get more organized.

...are looking for a bit more flexibility in their planner.

...don’t really love the cutesy/decorated approach to planning with endless stickers and washi tape.

Why Should You Try Bullet Journaling?

Despite all the rules and symbols, bullet journaling really is an easier way to get organized once you get the hang of it. Hardcore bullet journalers get addicted to the tracking and the everyday rush of X-ing out to-dos and filling in boxes. I mean, who doesn't love that feeling?

It might just give you the flexibility you’ve been looking for in a planning system.

How To Get Started

I always recommend that people do a bit of a deep-dive before jumping in head-first into bullet journaling.

Many journalers like to use a Moleskine notebook and some of their favorite pens for their bullet journal. Here is a great roundup of the supplies you need to get going.

If you already have a planner and like your current system, you could even try incorporating bullet journaling into one or two aspects of your planning process. I’ve found it’s really helpful, for example, when you’re trying to develop a new habit and you want to track it.

Here are some of my favorite resources that you can use as you get started on your bullet journal journey:

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