What is a bullet journal?

Bullet Journal 101: What Is A Bullet Journal

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Bullet Journal 101: What Is A Bullet Journal


You’ve heard of Bullet Journalling, right? It’s ok if you haven’t, I’m going to tell you all about it!

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Bullet Journaling has been a hot trend for a little while in the planner and getting organized communities online. There are instagram accounts and facebook groups devoted entirely to the practice and tons of people swear by bullet journals to keep them sane. If you love to-do lists and check-lists, then bullet journalling might be for you.


If you have too many things to remember and think about on a daily basis and you need a simple system to help you keep track, bullet journaling was made for you. We all have a lot of different daily tasks, appointments, and various things we need to remember. Trying to keep track of everything in your head becomes exhausting. And if you manage a team at work or a family at home, it becomes near impossible. Just think of how much more productive and less stressed you’ll be if you can stop trying to remember all this “stuffâ€.


A bullet journal is a way of keeping track of everything you need to do in one notebook. It usually consists of three different parts.


Note that in this article we are going to talk about the BASIC bullet journal set up. If you do even a little bit of searching on Pinterest or Instagram you’ll see that there are many of us that embellish our journals quite a bit. This is fun, but totally optional!


The first part includes the index and key. They will occupy the first two pages of your journal and help you stay on track with what’s where and how the journal works.


The second part consists of a monthly log or calendar, and then running daily entries. More on how these work in a minute.


The last part of a bullet journal is something called collections or lists. They are just that, lists of related things you want to keep track of. For example, you may have a list of books you want to read, or a list of clients you need to contact this month. I keep a basic weekly task list in mine. It’s things that I do every week either for myself or my clients and it doesn’t really change. 

bullet journal weekly schedule

You’re going to need a journal book do do this. Really any journal will work, but I prefer certain types. 

This one is my favorite, and a favorite of many bullet journalers. It has dotted pages, which is kind of like graph paper, but with just dots instead of solid lines. (see the photo above)The dots make it easier to divide the pages into columns and boxes, and give you a guide for writing. 


The idea with a bullet journal is that you set aside two pages for your index and then record things as they come up throughout your day, week, or month. At the beginning of the month you set up a monthly page. This is your space to record appointments, anniversaries, birthdays, events, and such. Some bullet journalers will simply make a list of 1-30 (or 31) and then leave space to note appointments as they come up. Others prefer to draw a more traditional monthly calendar grid over two pages. Try both and see what works better for you. As you draw each monthly grid or list at the beginning of the month, make a note of what page it is on in your index.


On the next blank page, enter today’s date and start recording things you need to take care of, appointments to keep today, and anything else you need to keep track of including quick notes and ideas. This is where you key comes in handy. There are two common ways to do your key along with many variations in between.


Original Key:


⃞  Task

â–  Completed Task

∠Migrated Task


âƒÂ    Appointment 

⬤ Completed Appointment

⟴ Migrated Appointment


–  Notes


New Key


᧠(Dot) Task

X Completed Task

> Migrated Task


Appointments and notes are used as before.


Any task on your list can be crossed out if it is no longer applicable or needed.


Get Started

Pick the key system that seems most intuitive for you and start recording the things you need to keep track of and remember in your Bullet Journal. One way to think of it is as the ultimate ongoing to-do list.


At the end of the day, review your list. Things that have not been completed need to either be crossed out because they are no longer relevant and important, or they should be moved to a tomorrow. If you don’t want to, or can’t tackle an item or two the next day, leave it open and make sure you review and work it in at a later date. 

bullet journal 101: What IS a Bullet Journal?

Enjoy your new Bullet Journal! Do you already use one? Tell me what your favorite part of it is in the comments. 

I have a simple cheat sheet with my Bullet Journal Key. 


click to download – Bullet Journal Key


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