The Beginner’s Guide to Bullet Journaling

It’s a trend that has become more and more popular recently, and has provided its users with a way to easily lay out their lives on paper. Bullet journaling is often regarded by many as an intersect between mindfulness and productivity, which is why it’s such as useful tool in our past-paced, digitized lives. Due to the flexible and highly customizable nature of the bullet journal, it is easy to have misconceptions as to what a bullet journal actually is. To start, a bullet journal is simply a new way for you to organize your life.

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Unlike a conventional journal where you write in paragraphs of your experiences, a bullet journal is used more to keep track of tasks and make all of the little things you need to do in life less overwhelming. You might be a good candidate to start a bullet journal if you:

  • Enjoy making lists
  • Enjoy using an agenda to keep track of your daily activities
  • Like creative freedom
  • Want to stay organized in many different aspects of your life

Interested in starting your own bullet journal? Being the organized person you are, it’s also important to plan out your journal ahead of time to ensure it’s something you enjoy referring to and feel inspired by. Read below to see the different components that will help you get started.

YOUR BASE

Your base is your actual journal book, and there are many different brands, designs, and styles you can choose from. The most conventional format for bullet journals is the dotted grid. Popular brands include the Leuchtturm hardcover journal and the Moleskine brand. Both brands make high quality products, and give you a variety of choices in terms of colour, cover style, and inside contents.

Image result for bullet journal leuchtturm
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You may also choose a different format for your journal. You can simply use a normal lined journal if that would help you stay organized better and suits your desired layout. Personally, I like to have some structure and don’t have the artistic ability or time to be able to create aesthetically pleasing layouts all the time, so I use a hardcover Moleskine weekly planner that is one side agenda and one side blanked lined sheet for me to create my lists so I can still have some structure. A hardcover notebook also withstands regular wear-and-tear better than a softcover, as I am very rarely found without my planner by my side.

Image result for moleskine weekly planner
The Moleskine Weekly Planner (x)

LAYOUT AND ORGANIZATION

There are many different ways you may choose to lay out your bullet journal. Many people will create a monthly spread that will allow them to see their activities for the month at a glance, then have weekly or daily spreads. Some may also insert pages with goals, to-do lists, or even reflections that is at frequencies to their own desire (eg. daily, weekly, monthly) The beauty of the bullet journal lies here in the user’s ability to include what is most compatible with their life. Determining how you want to lay out your journal is very important, and you definitely want to do your research and think through your sections before you make it permanent through pen. You can find inspiration for layouts and how to organize your lists on platforms such as Pinterest, and even with a simple Google search.

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If you’re new to the bullet journaling community or are just looking for some inspiration here are 10 awesome Instagram accounts that you should go and follow (if you aren’t already!) @showmeyourplanner One of my personal favorites for all things planner/bujo inspiration. I go there for fresh ideas and new people to follow for further inspiration. Bree | @breeeberry Bree has some of the cutest layou
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Symbols: apart from the actual content and layout of your journal, you can also use customized symbols to allow you to quickly distinguish the status of your tasks. The Leuchtturm bullet journals have a built-in key for you to create your own symbols, but even if you don’t have a pre-made page in your journal dedicated to that, you should create one that goes at the beginning of your book. There are so many different symbols you can use and assign in many different ways, but given that you want these to be a quick visual reminder, so my advice is to keep it simple!

Image result for bullet journal leuchtturm
Leuchtturm Bullet Journal Key System (x)

 

AESTHETIC

Now that you have an idea of how you want your journal to be laid out and organized, it’s time for the funnest part — making it even more your own by using unique lettering and incorporating your own artwork into your journal:

  • lettering: Depending on the style you are trying to emulate with your journal, you’ll want to practice different methods of lettering. There is a ton of inspiration you can find online and also lots of Youtube videos demonstrating different techniques.

  • art & doodles: Adding little doodles and artistic embellishments to your bullet journal layout will add personality. These can be doodles in itself, or you can work them into the layout of your actual journal. While not everyone is naturally artistic, you can look for inspiration everywhere: in nature, in objects, and online.
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