One day as I was looking at artistic journals on Tumblr, I came across this new term: bullet journaling. I saw tons of pictures, but didn’t fully understand what it was. Most of the layouts were very intricate and artistic. They were beautiful. I love planners and journals and art, so whatever this was, it was perfect for me. It starts with a blank journal and a pen which is deceptively simple and almost boring, but it's also incredibly genius.
A bullet journal is good for:
- People who have a million little to-do lists floating around.
- People who like pen and paper to-do lists.
- People who are into goal-setting and habit tracking.
- People who like stationery, journaling, scrapbooking, beautiful pens, etc.
- People who really love planners.
- People who want to really love planners, or who want to be more organized.
- People who would really like to keep a journal/diary but are having trouble sticking with the habit.
But none of these things are requirements for liking bullet journaling, and you can use any journal.
On the Bullet Journal website, bujos are described as a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary. It says it will teach you to do more with less. It claims to be the long-awaited answer to your planning needs. Note-taking and traditional journaling takes time, and the more complex the entry, the more effort is expended. The more effort expended, the more of a chore it becomes, the more likely you’ll under-utilize or abandon your journal. Rapid Logging is the solution. Rapid Logging is the language in which the Bullet Journal is written. It consists of four components: topics, page numbers, short sentences, and bullets.
Before you start, make your index. The index is where you’ll keep track of what page everything is on. The index is the first and second full spread of your journal. The index will make referencing back to what you’ve written easier, since things tend to get spread out all over the place since there’s no need for sections or any form of continuity.
The next four pages are your “future log,” which is just your yearlong calendar for the big stuff.
After that, you can set up pages for any big things you’d like to track over time: catalogs and trackers.
Next, many bullet journalers have at least two pages devoted to the big-picture view of each month: a monthly calendar page and a monthly tasks page.
The first step rapid logging is to add a topic on top outer corner of the page. A topic is simply a short descriptive title. Give it a little thought, as that can help you clarify your entry. Once that’s done, be sure to number the page. As you start filling your Bullet Journal, get into the habit of titling and numbering your pages before you add content.
Rapid Logging relies on the use of short-form notation paired with Bullets. Every bulleted item should be entered as short objective sentences. The Bullets will help organize your entries into three categories: Tasks, Events and Notes.
Tasks are represented by a simple dot “•” and include any kind of actionable items like “Pick up dry cleaning.” The task bullet does a lot of heavy lifting in the Bullet Journal so it has three additional states:
X = Task Complete
> = Task Migrated
< = Task Scheduled
Events are represented by an “O” Bullet. Events are date-related entries that can either be scheduled (e.g. “Charlie’s birthday”) or logged after they occur (e.g. “signed the lease”).
Notes are represented with a dash “–.” Notes include: facts, ideas, thoughts, and observations. Notes are entries that you want to remember, but aren’t immediately or necessarily actionable. This Bullet works well for meeting, lecture or classroom notes.
As mentioned before, a lot of bujos are beautiful and artistic, but yours doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple or as complicated as you like. That’s the true beauty of the bujo: It’s tailor-made and personalized for your needs. Now you just need to get your notebook and get your bujo on!