A Bullet Journal unites all the little notes we write in our everyday life. These include the important dates, the daily organization, the shopping list, the “remember to drink regularly” post-it notes, which we stick to our desks and the “Ideas for Christmas Gift” list, which we keep every year.
With an index and a system of symbols, we bring all these different things into a format that helps us to quickly get an overview, prioritize, and tick off these tasks.
The Bullet Journal Basic Supplies
The first thing you need is a notebook as a journal. This may have a dot pattern, as it will make writing easier for you. It is also practical if it has over one bookmark ribbon, so you can quickly access several important pages.
A nice black pen, pencil or a marker helps you to design the pages. If you want to be more creative, you can also use bright colors. However, for beginners, a black pencil is enough.
Depending on your needs, you can also use a ruler, or you can draw the lines freehand, which is easy with the dotted pattern.
Design the First Pages
If you look around and see some Bullet Journal ideas there are, you’ll overwhelm yourself. Many Bullet Journal specialists take the time to create their own overviews and over the years have found their perfect version, which is often very detailed.
Using an Index
We will leave the first pages blank because we will use them for a table of contents. During the design of the overviews and layouts, we will gradually enter the page numbers of these pages in the index to keep track.
Annual planning aims to get an overview of more significant events we have scheduled for some time. Birthdays and vacations planned, fall into this category. In many Bullet Journal manuals, we use a six-month plan. Therefore, you can start with the journal whenever you want, and you do not bind yourself to the beginning of the year.
The basic idea of the monthly overview is simple. In the 30 days, we note all appointments and tasks for completion in the current month. For example, “Car servicing,” “Paying tax,” and “Cleaning up the garage” fall into this category.
You can also create an overview for this and then be a little more creative by adding boxes for “goals,” “workouts,” and one for notes.
Here, you note down everything that’s pending in every task, every note, every little thing you need to tick off. With me, everything is on these daily lists, and therefore, they become long depending on where I am traveling. Example: “Take out the garbage,” “Call Mom,” “Don’t forget the keys,” “Buy spaghetti,” etc.
Systematic registration & tick off
So far, the Bullet Journal resembles a regular calendar. However, the trick is the legend – the way to sort, process, and move tasks and appointments.
- Tasks are marked with a small dot. If this task is complete, the dot becomes a cross.
- Appointments are displayed with a small circle.
- Notes are characterized by a dash.
At the end of the month, you take the time and arrange the overview for the next month. One goes through the weekly summaries and looks at the tasks we did not cross off. We now move the tasks to the next month marked with a small arrow to the right. Also, we move tasks into the yearly planning if they have a long completion timeline marked by a left arrow. We delete tasks that are not relevant using a strike-through.
Calligraphy and visual design
I found the overview layouts of the professional journalers, intimidating. Huge graphics with great pictures – wow. Since I thought it would take me at least three days to create such an overview, I haven’t done it for ages.
The important thing is the concept of Bullet Journaling. That is to have everything together in one book and to follow a system to work through tasks. Everything else comes by itself.
I still couldn’t resist being creative, and I gradually dared more. With a colored pen, for example, you can give each page a personal touch by pulling in a few delicate bars. Creating the headlines in big letters and painting them over with a little handwriting is another simple trick I thought was great, and that doesn’t require much skill.
Expanding your Bullet Journal
Once you have started with Bullet Journaling, you enjoy trying out more layouts like “habit trackers,” the tracking of certain habits. There is no lack of inspiration for which topics are suitable for this. You will find countless ideas of what you can track in the form of lists and graphics. A few inspirations I could well imagine trying out soon are:
- Drinking water – five to eight glasses a day. As you finish drinking one glass of water or any other drink, you can paint the spot as completed. Super sweet idea and being reminded of drinking every time I look at the calendar can’t hurt.
- Mood Pixel – with the help of a color code, the 365 boxes of the year, or in my case the next few months, are painted with colors at the end of each day. Depending on the mood, the box gets a different color: a good day is marked as green, a lousy day is red, etc. It’s a fun experiment I would definitely like to try out.
- Sleep – How much sleep you get is shown in an hour by hour overview.
- Gratitude Log / Gratitude list – I’ve often read about writing something down every day for which one is grateful, but I’ve never started such a list before. However, maybe the Bullet Journal is a good start.
Therefore, I’m in the Bullet Journal fever and have entered the first days super disciplined.