A Bullet Journal is a great analog method, which means you really don’t need to have anything more complex than some sort of notebook along with a pen or pencil. A Bullet Journal is really easy to personalize, and you’re certainly encouraged to switch things about. But in this article, I’ll take you step-by-step through the setup for any traditional bullet journal.
The Bullet Journal was first created by Ryder Carroll from BulletJournal.com. Watch the video below to get an overview.
Bullet Journal Supplies
You’ll require a notebook, pen, and some time for you to get started. That’s it! Although with time you might choose to use different pens and books, right now to get started that is all you need.
The kind of notebook you utilize can be completely up to you. The standard style is grid or dotted paper, however I find even ruled or blank pages work all right.
Page one of the bullet journal includes your key. This records the shorthand you use for bullet entries. Here’s the standard codes used. You can add to it, or modify it as needed.
The starting point is tasks, which are represented by a dot “•” bullet. These are either completed or migrated.
• (Dot) = Task
X = Completed Task
> = Migrated Task
Next are events/appointments and notes. These are represented by an “Ο” bullet.
Ο = Event/appointment
– = Note
You can also use signifiers to give extra context to bullets. For example “*” can be used in front of a task bullet to indicate it is high priority.
The next 2 to 4 pages of your journal is going to be put aside for indexing. This will help you to rapidly find any collection, or get to a particular month. Title each page as an index page and go on to the following section.
The Future Log
Using the original bullet journal setup this can be a two page spread that records the approaching 6 months. Many bullet journalers think it is useful to have a classical yearly calendar instead.
It’s a great section to record birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or plan vacation time. Add or note the page number and record your future log in your index.
Start every month with a monthly log. Here you’ll record appointments, events and important dates for the month ahead.
Use a grid layout, or one line for every day of the month. Although this isn’t where you’ll track tasks, the monthly log will be handy for individual events such as a dental appointment or a friend’s birthday celebration.
The daily log is where you’ll spend most of your time in the journal. Begin a new section every day and record anything important for the day. Make a listing of all tasks and cross them off as they are finished.
Make notes of anything important you have to remember during the day in addition to appointments that come along. Everything will get logged within the daily log for speed and ease.
After that you are able to move it as required to the monthly or future log, or migrate it to a new day.
When the day is finished, or first thing the following morning it’s time for you to take a look at the day’s tasks. Cross off those that are done and migrate those that aren’t checked off.
For instance, if you didn’t get to the laundry today, draw an arrow through it and add it to today’s daily task list.
Should you have a scheduled appointment that came up yesterday, move it to your monthly list and draw an arrow through it in yesterday’s list. That way it’s logged and will be added to the relevant daily log when it’s due.
If something no longer applies then cross it out. Your ultimate goal is to handle each entry in your daily list by finishing it, moving it, or crossing it out.
The last part of the Bullet Journal puzzle is collections. They are essentially thematical lists you are making that aren’t date related. There really is no limit to these and you can be as creative (or organized) as needed.
An ideal example is a summary of books to read. Start the list on the next blank page. Title it and begin jotting down the books you want to read. Take note of the page you’re on and add this collection to your index page. Now when you wish to include a brand new book title to this list, or reference it to determine what you want to read, it is simple to find it through the index.
The Bullet Journal is a fantastic, yet simple, analog way to get your life organized. Start with the basics above and put it into action today