If you need to get a better handle on your to-do list or want an outlet to help you relax, a bullet journal can help. But what exactly is a bullet journal? Essentially, the bullet journal (or a BuJo, for short) is a highly customizable planner system that allows you to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.
Whether you're just getting started or you've been bullet journaling for a while, here are tips that will help you make the most out of your bullet journal:
The Beginner's Guide to Bullet Journaling
- Keep it simple.
It's easy to be inspired by how others use their bullet journals, but the important thing to remember is not all pages work for every individual. If too many section options are overwhelming you and you can't get started, then it might be a good idea to focus on just the core bullet journal pages: your index, monthly log, and daily log (or 'dailies').
Use just these pages, at least until you get into the groove of things. While it can be tempting to add in a myriad of different sections—from habit trackers to reading logs—the core pages are enough to handle all your basic organization, planning, and journaling needs.
- Focus on the system.
At the heart of bullet journaling is a really simple but effective organization system. Remember the index being one of your core pages? Well, it's the backbone of every bullet journal. Think of it like the table of contents in a book, the key to finding certain sections or pages in your bullet journal. It will also contain your legend of signifiers a.k.a. the symbols used to organize your monthly logs and dailies.
Of course, your bullet journal is all customizable and over time you'll arrive at a system that's effective for you. Don't feel like you have to tweak the system constantly or set up unique methods of logging your tasks. Just try out the basic system first and see how things work for you from there.
- Don't force yourself to be artistic.
Contrary to what you may see on Pinterest or Instagram, you don't always have to fill up your bullet journal with fancy banners and hand-lettered headings. When you disregard what your spreads will look like, you'll have more time to focus on using your bullet journal as an organization tool. Don't feel like you have to exhaust your creativity when starting out a new page, it totally beats the purpose of your journal.
Sometimes the best way to bullet journal if you aren't artistic is to keep it simple. A minimalist style doesn't mean you can't have color and designs. It simply means that you don't have to go crazy with the designs. The best part is that you wouldn't have to draw at all!
Bonus tip: Colored pens and stickers are a great way to spice up your spreads without the extra effort!
- Make a 'collection' of page ideas.
Got tons of ideas swimming around in your head but can't decide which one to start with? Start with a collection of page ideas! Create a section in your journal where you can jot all of your ideas in one place and dip into the list whenever you find the motivation to create a new spread.
Getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper will create some space in your mind and allow you to review each idea before deciding which ones are worth your time.
- Make time for it.
Allot at least five minutes of your day to sit down, reflect, and update your bullet journal. Think of it as a new addition to your self-care routine! Cross off items on your dailies and monthly logs as you complete them, write page numbers on the bottom of each page, and update your index.
It's easier said than done, but if you get a bit creative it gets much simpler. The secret here is to plan when you have time. Do it during your morning coffee, your lunch break at school, or your breaks in between doing homework. If you get consistent with it, it will eventually become a part of your everyday routine. After all, no productivity method works unless you put effort into it.