Bullet Journaling

A Game Changer for Everyday Planning

By Summer Vodnoy

Bullet Journaling is the popular new way to plan out your life in a creative fashion. It combines a planner, sketchbook and diary all in one, to make it easy to track your life. The journals are completely customizable too, so it can be as messy or as organized as you want. There are guidelines that all Bullet Journals have, but beyond that, yours can be however you want it to look, which is why people all over are in love with them.

“Regular planners are hard to fill out and stay inspired by. A Bullet Journal is a big-time investment, which makes you more likely to use it,” says Becky Brown, a University of California, Davis student in an interview with The BCC Voice. Brown has been Bullet Journaling since January 2018, and enjoys the creative outlet it affords her. “It’s super relaxing for me. I like being able to plan out my day and make it look nice at the same time,” shares Brown. She researched how to set up her Bullet Journal on multiple platforms and shared her process with The BCC Voice, along with some tips.

What you’ll need:

  • Blank journal with grid pattern or dots; it doesn’t need to be too expensive and there are plenty of good ones on Amazon.
  • Felt tip pens. Again, no need for expensive $50 pens; there are packs of 100 Crayola Supertips on Amazon for $10.
  • Optional: Patterned washi tape and stickers.

How to set up your journal:

  • First, you need to make your index. This is where you will record all your pages and their numbers so it is easy to find them later. It’s important to number each page so you can put it in the index.
  • Make a key or legend. This can be whatever system works best for you, but the Bullet Journal standard has a dot for a task, an open dot for an event, a triangle for an appointment, a dash for notes, a greater-than symbol for migrated, a less-than symbol for scheduled events and a crossed-out line for canceled events. This will help you keep track of all your events and notes inside the journal. If you want to make it simpler, you can make a box for each task and then check it off later.
  • Next, you’ll make your future-log. This can range from three months out to an entire year, whatever makes more sense to you. Here you will divide the page into sections for each month and put birthdays or other important events. The future-log helps you see things from a larger perspective.
  • The next step is to make your monthly. This can be in whatever format you want, but it should include an overview of the month you’re in. It can be in a calendar format or have highlights from each day of the month.
  • Then, you will make your habit-tracker and mood-tracker for the current month you’re in. It doesn’t have to be super fancy, just efficient for tracking your habits and moods. You can set it up however makes the most sense to you.
  • Finally, you’ll make a weekly log. This is where you will have your everyday events, tasks and appointments for the week written down. You can use your notation from the key to keep track of each important note.

These steps are the basics used in most Bullet Journals but you can add whatever pages you want! Some ideas for pages include: an expense chart, a favorite-places page, a goals page, a wish list and a books-to-read list. The important part is customizing the journal to your needs.

“Washi tape and white out are game changers and really help when you make mistakes,” shares Brown, emphasizing how the Bullet Journaling process isn’t perfect at times and takes some time to get used to. “A big reason I like Bullet Journaling more than conventional planning is because of the flexibility. I change my formatting every month and even from week to week to try new looks.” It’s a learning process that will change as much as you do.

If you want to learn more about setting up your Bullet Journal, there are plenty of websites that can give you further explanations. BuzzFeed has several videos on Bullet Journaling, and bulletjournal.com can also help you set up your journal successfully. Brown advises to get started using basic guidelines and then stray away from using the templates in Bullet Journaling how-to videos, saying, “Make it completely your own and do whatever makes sense for you and makes you feel happy.”

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