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Bullet Journaling: What It Is and Why You Should Start

You’ve probably seen it on social media – the pretty, decorated journals and to-do lists and calendars. Bullet journaling has become incredibly popular over the last few years, and for good reason. Unlike traditional planners or diaries or online calendars and reminder systems, the bullet journal is an all-in-one system – it can be your calendar and your to-do list and your diary all at the same time, along with anything else you want to stick in there.

  The basic idea is pretty simple – the original concept is basically just a daily log, meant to be quick and easy. Your log relies on different types of bullets (hence the name), which you use to signify different things. You might also choose to add in a monthly log or calendar, or use weekly pages instead of daily pages, depending on your needs. But the biggest point is that you organize using your system of bullets – you can put your to-do list and notes about your day and ideas that come to you all on the same page, in any order you want. “Call mom” can be immediately followed by “Had lunch with Sarah,” and it works.

  You can choose whatever symbols or “signifiers” you want to – a simple box that can be checked to mark completed tasks, a dash to mark notes, a star for ideas, and so on. It might be helpful, especially at first, to keep a list of all the symbols you’re using and try not to start with too many – it can easily become overwhelming. It’s also helpful to keep an index in your journal – some store-bought journals come with an index in them, but in others you might have to make your own by leaving a few blank pages at the front. This helps you find pages back if you want to or need to later.

  Your index also helps keep track of “collections,” which include your daily and monthly logs but also other things – a list of books to read or movies to watch, a page for planning your upcoming trip, or your latest grocery list. Collections can be whatever you want them to be – all you need is a new page in your journal! This is great if you’ve ever been frustrated with a traditional planner that lacked enough space for notes, or with a calendar app that was difficult to type in.

  One of the best things about using a bullet journal is how flexible it is. You might start with just a bare bones system, using only the basics, but it’s easy to add things and modify them to fit your needs. This is probably the type of bullet journaling you’ve seen – artsy, decorated pages full of hand lettering and doodles and lots of color. It can be intimidating if you’re not artistic yourself, but none of it is necessary! If you find that a minimal approach works best for you, go with that. Want to add some more color to your pages? Have at it! There are so many ways to customize your journal depending on what you want to use it for.

  If you’ve ever come across it on Instagram or Pinterest, bullet journaling might seem like a lot – all those pictures of perfect hand lettering and dozens of colored pens and washi tape. But at its core, bullet journaling is a pretty simple system that you can easily customize to fit your needs!