Bullet Journaling: 101

BULLET JOURNALING 101

In my POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION JOURNEY entry, I mentioned how much Bullet Journaling has helped me since bringing J home. So before we begin, there are different levels of Journaling. One day, I’ll get to the advanced version where I have an Index (yeah like with college research papers that said what subject was on what page), a weekly activities page, intense project breakdowns & even beautiful hand lettering (I just wasn’t blessed with the calligraphy talent). But for now, mine is just the basic of basic – getting me through the day & just enough information for me to write every day without spending too much time in the planning stage.

WHAT IS A BULLET JOURNAL?!

It’s basically a planner, to-do list, journal & note taker combined. & it’s glorious. All you need is a blank notebook & pens. THAT’S IT! I’ve found this customizable planner has 100% skyrocketed my own productivity! I get so much more done (most days) & just feel so much more accomplished at the end. The best thing being you will learn new things along the way so you can change it up as you wish!

WHY DID I TRY IT!?

Other planners that already had a specific layout felt like I was missing something or had extra parts I never used. Plus some are just too damn expensive! Please explain to me why I would pay $50+ for a planner I’m not even completely in love with?? Also, although some may see this as a challenge rather than a positive but you’re designing your own planner from scratch. Like from nothing! So it’s an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing!


HOW I BULLET JOURNAL

My main & current entries are my monthly calendars, monthly activity pages& daily activities pages. Like I’ve said before, more advanced journals include many more options but I only used what I felt I could handle & primarily use. Feel free to add or take away whatever feels right for you & your life

MONTHLY CALENDARS
If you’ve been to my house, you’ve seen the dry erase monthly calendar on the fridge. With 3 adults, 3 dogs & an infant, I’ve found this is CRUCIAL to know when everyone’s appointments & plans are. In my journal, it’s simply a smaller version of my fridge calendar. That way whenever I’m out, I don’t have to rack my brain trying to remember because I have it written out here too

MONTHLY ACTIVITIES PAGE
So I’m still getting the hang of this page but I feel like it’s my favorite. Every month, I divide this page into 5 sections & label them – GOALS, PROJECTS, BLOG, ORDERS & NEXT MONTH. I’m still working out the difference between why things would be written in GOALS rather than PROJECT but its purpose is to give me a visual of things that need to get done by the end of the month. BLOG has blog entries I’d like to make that month along with an estimated date, ORDERS is anything I’ve ordered, the date & price (because tracking how much money I spend is also crucial) & NEXT MONTH for any appointments made for the following month that needs to be noted in ONE SPOT & can be written onto next month’s calendar.

DAILY ACTIVITIES PAGE
This is where I write things down the night before or first thing in the morning – things that need to be addressed that day. (However, instead of bullet points, I do check boxes). For each day, I make sure I write down the date & day of the week at the top of the entry. Because you don’t set up the next day until you’re done with the current one, you have as much room as you need to take notes, jot down reminders, whatever! This gets rid of the stress to estimate if you have enough space 


HOW DO I START?

So you think this is something you want to try or have been wanting to try but may feel a little overwhelmed with all the options? YOU’RE NOT ALONE! I’m still finding my footing & it almost been 6 months since I started. It’s all a learning process but that’s the fun of it! It’s nice to change up the designs as the months go on.

What I’m trying to get to is you have to start somewhere. Your journal won’t look like the ones on Pinterest yet but you can work towards that! Here are some tips to get you started with confidence:

PURCHASE A CHEAP NOTEBOOK
I use this Moleskine but I’d recommend a standard 5 x 8 in notebook from Office Max. Also very helpful to try to find one with a ribbon to place where you wrote last & an elastic band to hold the notebook shut. I ALWAYS keep a pen inside so I don’t have to search around for one when I need to write something down so I find the elastic piece to be very important. 

UNDERSTAND YOU'RE LEARNING
I totally get that you want to jump right in & try to mimic the gorgeous layouts you’ve found but realize mistakes will be made. That’s part of the fun! Don’t get too attached to your first design. You could realize you want to include something additional or move stuff around. CHANGE IS CONSTANT 

DREAM LAYOUTS
Before you start, make a list of some of your favorite designs or layouts – for inspiration! Know you definitely want to include a specific font or boxing technique? Sketch them all out before you commit. & speaking of sketching..

PENCILS ARE YOUR FRIENDS
When it comes to my monthly calendar & monthly activities pages, those are set in stone for the month once they’re written out. So I sketch it out towards the end of the previous month in pencil then trace over in pen. That way, I know I have enough space for the entire month. There’s no shame in practicing in pencil!


I’ve mapped out the entire year just in case if I need a quick glance of the year

I’ve mapped out the entire year just in case if I need a quick glance of the year

So a KEY isn’t needed but I find it helps organize my days even more. Sometimes they’re used. Sometimes they aren’t. 

So a KEY isn’t needed but I find it helps organize my days even more. Sometimes they’re used. Sometimes they aren’t. 

Monthly calendar & monthly activities page. Simple & to the point but I love changing up the activities page

Monthly calendar & monthly activities page. Simple & to the point but I love changing up the activities page

Current daily layout. Found this one to save more page space rather than making vertical lists.

Current daily layout. Found this one to save more page space rather than making vertical lists.


I hope if you’re giving this a try, you find success in whatever version you find works best for you! Feel free to share your own!

HAPPY JOURNALING!