What is Bullet Journaling and Where do I start?


Can I begin by stating that bullet journaling will change the way you organise your life from here on in!  (Pretty bold statement I hear you say...well, as a previous highly disorganised person, I can confidently say I am a lot more organised now than I have ever been since using the Bullet Journal Method).  

So let's get started...

What is Bullet Journaling?  It is a method of organising and tracking activities, events, to-do lists, brainstorming etc in one single notebook/journal. It was developed by designer Ryder Carroll. His short overview of The Bullet Journal Method is: 'Track your past, Order you present, Plan your future.'

What do I need? All you need is a notebook and pen/ coloured pens (yes really that's all). I do however recommend you invest in a dotted paged notebook around A5 in size (available on my website shop www.julieharron.co.uk).  This makes drawing grids easy without the use of a ruler but also is a handy size to fit in your bag or carry with you.  Once you have got your head around the method and how to set your journal up etc, you can get super creative with your page designs and layouts but for now I would keep it simple.  (I have taken photos of my personal journal as a good place to start).

How do I begin my Bullet Journal? There are 4 key concepts of Bullet Journaling.

Index. This is the genius part of bullet journaling in my opinion.  Your index page acts like a contents page.  You number the bottom of each page in your journal.  Then when you create a new entry just flick to your index page and write the subject/ description and it's page number in your Index so you can find it easily in the future. 

  

Collections (Entries in your journal are called collections).

There are 4 main types of collections that make up your journal (There are others too but I will discuss them later). The focal ones are: Future Log, Monthly Log and Daily Log and 'other/custom collections'. 

 1 = Future Log.

This is like a year to view section you would find at the beginning of a diary.  This is where you can write out future events in the months to come which can be seen at a glance. 

 

 

 2= Monthly Log

The Monthly Log consists of two pages (also know as spreads) side by side. One is the Monthly Calendar (Known as Monthly Log) and the opposite page is The Monthly Task Page. (This is a copy of my personal Journal hence some tasks are taped up for privacy).

 

Calendar Page - Use this page to write down your events, appointments, a quick note about something particular that happened that day. Again, this is set out so you can see quickly at the beginning of the week if there is something you have coming up and need to begin focussing on or getting organised for. 

Task Page - This is where you list your monthly to-do's.  Things you would like to get done this month and potentially things carried over from the previous month that still need to be carried out. 

 3 = Daily Log

This is another important feature of The Bullet Journal.  This section is used on a day-to-day basis.  The date will be the topic.  Throughout the course of the day you will 'rapid log' tasks, events and notes as they occur.  (I will discuss Rapid Logging further in this blog)

 

4= Other/ Custom Collections

Collections are a group of related ideas.  Every page in your journal will technically have a topic assigned to it (also known as a collection).  For example. a food log, shopping list, meeting notes, List of Movie's you would like to watch or podcasts you would like to listen to.  

Collections can take any shape or form e.g. mind maps, goal plans, trackers, sketches, mock-ups.  Absolutely anything that is helpful for you to remember or track can be noted. Just note down what your 'collection' or topic is and don't forget to check what page number it is on and write the topic/ collection name in your index. 

 Below are some examples of my additional collections.

       

  

 Rapid Logging

This is how the Bullet Journal got its name. Rapid Logging consists of Bullets and signifiers.  Rapid logging is supposed to be a quick form of notation using symbols.  There are two parts to Rapid Logging, Bullets and Signifiers. 

(See photo below)

BULLETS

TASK Bullet: The Task Bullet is indicated by a dot .  It turns into a completed task when you mark it wit an X.

MIGRATED Bullet: If you didn't complete a Task, you migrate it to another collection.

SCHEDULED Task: Tasks with specific dates in the future. These can be added to the Future Log. 

See examples below: 

 

 

 EVENT Bullet: Indicated by an open circle. These are date specific.  You would add them to relevant collections e.g. Future Log, Monthly Log and Daily Log. 

 

NOTE Bullet: Indicated by a dash.  These are Notes that you want to remember such as ideas, observations, thoughts and facts.

 

 SIGNIFIERS

Signifiers: add extra context to the Bullets.  They help you see quickly what the Bullets represent.  You do not need to add a Signifier to each Bullet, only the ones you would like to have more information about and to stand out.  You place them to the left side of the Bullets.  

 

 Migration

This is the final concept of the Bullet Journal but certainly not the least.  Another way to view Migration is to see it as a review process. Migration is the act of moving over undone/incomplete tasks to another collection.  

Migration is usually completed at the end of each month when preparing for the month ahead.  You look over the undone tasks from your collections and assess each one.  'Migrating' / moving the ones you still need to complete over to the next Month's Log.  If you no longer need to do certain tasks then just cross them off.  Any Tasks that do not need to be completed in the following month can be added to your Future Log. 

Overview: 

To recap there are 4 key concepts to the Bullet Journey:

1- Index    2 - Collections    3 - Rapid- logging    4 - Migration

I hope you have enjoyed learning this process of Bullet Journaling and that it helps you to stay as organised and efficient as it has helped me.   I would love to hear your feedback and if you found this blog post helpful so please feel free to get in touch and let me know your thoughts. 

Setting up your Bullet Journal.

1) Set up your Index (Number pages 1-4 and Title them 'INDEX').

2) Set up your Future Log (Number pages 5-8, divide into 6 sections, Label sections with upcoming months, Add future Tasks and Events, Add it to your Index). 

3) Set up your Monthly Log (Number pages 9-10, Title pages with current month, List dates and monthly Tasks, Add 9-10 to your index).

4) Set up your Daily Log (Add page number, Add today's date as the Topic/Heading, Write down today's Tasks - Daily logs don't need to be indexed.

5)  Custom Collections (Used to store related content like goals, projects or focused lists.  Set them up in the same way (with Topics and page numbers) to add them to your index.  

Remember, have kept the examples used in this blog quite simple.  After a couple of months of getting your head around how Bullet Journaling works then you can get creative with designing colourful and arty page spreads. Bullet Journaling is supposed to be a simple way to help organise yourself and your time so only do the fancy pages if you enjoy this and it adds value to your time.  

(Note: I have taken notes and based this blog on Ryder Carroll's book - The Bullet Journal Method.  If you would like to gain more information around The Bullet Journal Method you can also check out www.bulletjournal.com )

I also have Bullet Journals and accessories available to purchase from my website www.julieharron.co.uk.  I really hope this post has helped you understand what a Bullet Journal is and that it has inspired you to try one out for yourself.  

 Julie xo