What Is a Bullet Journal?

What Is a Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is a personalized system for organizing daily tasks and long-term goals. Learn how to use a bullet journal to organize your to-do lists, hopes, and other thoughts.

A bullet journal, also known as a bujo, is an analog planning system for tasks, goals, and aesthetics. Ryder Carroll, a product designer based in New York, developed the bullet journal method to maximize planner functionality and expand scheduling capabilities beyond simple monthly calendars. DIY bullet journals typically adhere to a similar template of common elements, such as brainstorming spreads, meal planning spreads, and mood trackers.


3 Benefits of Bullet Journaling

The bujo, which is part sketchbook, calendar, and diary, serves as a single record of your meditations, tasks, and dreams. Using a bullet journal has several advantages:

1. Bullet journals encourage experimentation. Bujos provide space for reflection and creativity. Bullet journal pages may be filled with spreads for stickers, doodles, and scrapbooking. Bujos can be minimalist or maximalist in design, allowing users to have fun personalizing their own.

2. Bullet journals are useful. Bullet journals use daily and monthly spreads to help users map out their schedules. The bullet journal system, however, is more than just a calendar; as an analog form of record keeping, bullet journals provide users with a tactile way to plan their current to-do lists and future goals.

3. Bullet journals can help you take care of yourself. By providing a place to clearly organize tasks and articulate your vision, the bujo can become a vehicle for self-care and help you improve your mental health. Write step-by-step instructions to help you break down tasks; this is especially useful for people with ADHD.


Bullet Journal Index: 6 Things to Include

A bullet journal index lists the contents and page numbers of your journal. The order in which you organize your bujo is entirely up to you, but common elements in bullet journal setups include:

1. Collections: In collections, you can track anything that isn't directly related to your current tasks. These sections frequently prioritize your aesthetic preferences; these could include song playlists you want to curate, goals you want to achieve in the coming year, doodles to help you relax, memories you don't want to forget, or anything else.

2. Daily log: Divide your daily tasks however you see fit in order to organize your actions each day.

3. Future log: Keep track of upcoming dates, appointments, tasks, or goals in your daily or monthly log. Simply write these dates or ideas in your future log spread, and then as you set up new monthlies, write that relevant information in and cross it out in your future log.

4. Habit tracker: To develop habits, keep a bullet journal. Documenting your good and bad habits, as well as when you practice them, allows you to hold yourself accountable and shows you how frequently you engage in these behaviors. For example, you could use a habit tracker to keep track of your gym visits or the times of day when you lose your patience.

5. Monthly log: Your monthly log tracks larger goals you hope to achieve from month to month. Layouts will vary (monthlies can be in a grid style or a series of notes), and some bujos will go even further with weeklies.

6. Spreads: A spread is each left and right page of your open bullet journal. Two-page spreads can be used to keep track of travel plans, birthdays, and chores.


Five Bullet Journal Ideas

If you're ready to get started with bullet journaling, consider some of these creative ideas:

1. Personalize your cover. You can personalize your cover by using washi tape, stickers, stencils, collages, and other art supplies.

2. Recognize that there is no one way to journal. Bullet journal spreads can take any shape you want. There is no right or wrong way to make one, so have fun experimenting with different ways to organize your thoughts using this more creative scheduling technique.

3. Decide on a color scheme. To unify your bujo, you can use a consistent color scheme or use different colors to code different sections of your bujo.

4. Make room for doodling. You'll need some empty space in your bujo for collections if you want to manage stress and have fun. Set aside some spreads for doodling or lettering.

5. Make use of a dot grid notebook. These grids are softer than those with crisscrossing vertical and horizontal lines, allowing you to connect and use the dots as you see fit.


How to Keep a Bullet Journal

You can get ideas for your bullet journal from social media. To begin your bujo, follow these steps:

Make your layouts. Your spreads are the foundation of your bujo: decide what content you want in your journal and categorize it. These spreads will keep you organized, and your table of contents will determine what content goes on which page.

Create your own method of rapid logging. To communicate ideas quickly, use symbols (dashes, crosses, circles, etc.) that mean different things throughout your bullet journal. Your shorthand language is rapid logging.

As you grow, migrate. Your bullet journal will always be in flux, and as your projects grow, you may need to migrate content to new pages or even a new bujo.

Reflect. Reflect on how your bujo works for you and make changes as needed to make it as relaxing, creative, and effective as possible.