Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling: How I Keep My Life Organized

Bullet Journaling and an Organized Life

My life turned upside down in the fall of 2014. After ten years of working at the same school which was walking distance from my house, the district moved me to a different school in the next town over. In addition to having to adjust to a whole new schedule, I started attending SNHU as a full-time online student, and was juggling two new classes every eight weeks.

Being the oldest child, and having a type-A personality, I was soon feeling not only out of sorts, but like things were slipping out of my control. It was not a good time in my life. One afternoon, while I was taking a mental health break in between studying (read: wasting time Online), I stumbled upon a Kickstarter for something called a Bullet Journal. This guy, Ryder Carroll, was working on creating a journaling system that users could adapt to their own needs. I was hooked from the start and signed up. As a backer, I would get his official journal when it released, but in the meantime, I began adapting the method on my own.

I started with a notebook I got at Target. It cost around $5 and the cover read “Shakespeare never tweeted a sonnet.” You can use any notebook and a pen (or pencil). The key components to a Bullet Journal are numbered pages, an index, and rapid logging.

The easiest way to begin with Bullet Journaling is to start out with the basic methods described on Ryder’s website. You add a topic to your page, number it, and then use rapid logging to organize your entries. Entries are broken up into three categories: tasks, events and notes. These are differentiated with signifiers, which have changed over time. You can see that when I first started, events were open circles, tasks were boxes, and notes were dashes. My topic was the date, and when I completed a task, I checked off the box (if you are wondering what YNAB is, that stands for You Need a Budget, and I will be blogging about that sometime in the fall).

Simple Bullet Journal

After about a year, I began adding color to my Bullet Journal.  I was also using a different signifier system, which Ryder explains on his website. You basically start with a dot for each task. If you complete it, it gets turned into an X. If you migrate it forward, it turns into an <. If you delete a task, it gets a line through it. I also started tracking the weather. People track the weather for a variety of reasons. I have two: I track it in my personal Bullet Journal because I suffer from a migraine disorder and it helps in conversations with my doctor, and I track it in my work Bullet Journal because it shows a pattern of use with our Food Pantry. It’s not a required item, but it can be fun. Also, if you are are a knitter or crocheter, it can help you in case you want to make a weather afghan or scarf (you’re welcome).

Bullet Journal Year Two

Shortly after that time, I moved into a Moleskin notebook. I wanted something a little nicer, and I also wanted to try out dot grid pages. You can see here that By this time I was using banners in my daily header, and more color. I also show a collection page here. Collections are just what they sound like; lists of things you want to keep together. Some collections include: books to read, movies to watch, recipes to try, birthdays, gift ideas, etc. We gave up cable in 2015, so last fall I created our own 28 Days of Christmas list using movies we owned and Netflix (signified by (NF), so that we could still enjoy holiday movies. I put a sticky tab at the top of this page so I could refer to it easily during the holiday season.

Daily pages and a collection

At the start of the new year, I moved into a Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, which is my current Bullet Journal. There is no “best” journal to use, although I will be sharing my favorite supplies with you on Wednesday. One of the issues I had when I first began Bullet Journaling was that there was no way to keep track of what was coming in the future; you only worked one month at a time. To solve this problem, people began creating future logs. This is the format I have been using for the past year. It shows the next three months, and then allows for room on the facing page to brainstorm ideas. My current Bullet Journal is almost full, and I will be moving into a new one in June. I will be modifying my future log to show the next three months on the left page, and the rest of the year on the right page, in a different style. I think it will work out much nicer.

Future Logging

This photo shows a monthly layout. Now, Ryder’s original method has you write a list from 1-28 or 31, then list the letter of the days of the week next to it, and then any events next to those days, in list form. In fact, it looks similar to how the very left side of my calendar looks, but instead of a calendar created out of it, you would just write the tasks next to those numbers on one page.  I tried this method for a year, and while it works very well, I prefer this type of calendar better. I got this idea from Kara over at Boho Berry.com, and just loved it. The left column lists all the things that happen on the day, such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. Then, by time of day, I fill in appointments, meetings, etc. which are all color coded by person. My code is at the bottom. Even my puppy has a color.

Monthly pages

Each week, I will be sharing on different topics that have to do with living an organized life. Scattered in there will be posts about living a creative life, self-care, and a few other topics near to my heart. Each Friday, if it’s applicable, I will be sharing with you how I use my Bullet Journal to manage that week’s topic.

* This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. (Learn more here)

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