WTF Is A Bullet Journal And Why Should You Start One? An Explainer
I'm low-key obsessed.
You may have seen the term "bullet journal" popping up on these here internet webs in the past few months.
In late December, one of my favorite bloggers mentioned she was thinking of starting something called a "bullet journal." As someone who used to be a pretty prolific journaler but who has since gotten out of the habit, I was super intrigued. I followed her link to learn more about the concept, and my immediate reaction was, "Wait...what???" The website's explanation (and this video) left me totally overwhelmed and filled with tons of questions. Like, is it a to-do list or is it a diary? What the fuck is a "future log"? And what kind of to-do list doesn't have you crossing things off, which we all know is the best part of keeping a to-do list?
So I looked at some other bullet journal blogs...and was still confused AF, especially because these beautiful, hyper-detailed layouts seemed so at odds with the barebones pages shown in the video above.
But after hearing that a lot of my friends were both interested in the concept and also super confused by it, I was DETERMINED to figure it out.
So a few nights later, I bought a journal and sat down with the website and some scrap paper, determined to figure out this entire concept. And it actually didn't take long for the lightbulb to go off. Turns out, it's super easy to do, but incredibly difficult to explain to people!
I've been using my bullet journal daily since the beginning of January, and I'm low-key obsessed!
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.
Here's what you need to know to get started:
1. First, the bullet journal system uses a lot of fancy language that makes everything more difficult to understand. Here's what those terms actually mean:
2. The main idea behind the bullet journal is that you jot down quick notes instead of writing long sentences.
3. You can use any journal.
4. Is it a to-do list or a planner or a diary?
5. When you're jotting down your quick notes, you'll use a few different symbols to mark them.
It's also suggested that you keep a key (either at the front or back of the journal) to track what all your symbols mean.
6. When you're taking notes, the idea is to keep them super short, even if you're dealing with something really major and dramatic.
7. Every page in your journal gets a number.
8. Your bullet journal will start with an index.
9. The next four pages are your "future log" — which is just your yearlong calendar for the big stuff.
10. After that, you can set up pages for any big things you'd like to track over time.
11. 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.
12. If you want to have other monthly calendar pages, you can. For example, you might want to track your workouts, or the time you spend working on a hobby each month. So you can use the same format to create those specific pages.
13. OR you can track them all on a single calendar, like this:
Once your monthly pages are set up, you can just start using the bullet journal for your daily tasks, notes, etc.!
14. Despite this long-ass explanation, bullet journaling is not something that takes a lot of time (unless you want it to).
15. Some people put a lot of effort into making their bullet journal look beautiful and fancy...which you can do, but you certainly don't have to do.
16. Don't overthink it!
OK, now that you (hopefully!) understand the basics...my co-worker Nicole put together a roundup of the really fun/smart/cool stuff you can do with your bullet journal.
(You know, if you want to.)