Blogging & Social Media

The Bullet Journal – My Perfect Planner?

Last Updated on November 7, 2019 by Jody Halsted

I’ve not been able to stick with a planner for more than a month or two. There is just something that doesn’t quite fit… My thought patterns and work processes are not quite linear. In fact, they are more like spaghetti. And after a short time I would just quit using a planner that was too… rigid.
And then I began a Bullet Journal…

I think I admitted this a while back…  I have a planner addiction. It goes well with my love of pens. And color-coded entries.

But I’ve not been able to stick with a planner for more than a month or two. There is just something that doesn’t quite fit…  My thought patterns and work processes are not quite linear. In fact, they are more like spaghetti. And after a short time I would just quit using a planner that was too… rigid.
How the Bullet Journal became my perfect planner.

Back in February I began using a system I had learned about the previous fall. It intrigued me, but I had a new journal I wanted to try first.

Which I failed at.

So I returned to the intriguing system…  the Bullet Journal.

My first Bullet Journal- cover
My Bullet Journal. This is a Moleskin dot grid, 5″x8.25″. I used a fun rub-on on from my scrapbooking supplies for the cover.

And nearly 6 months later I’m still using it!

So…  What is a Bullet Journal?

Bullet Journaling has been a hot trend for a little while in the planner and getting organized communities online (where it is often referred to as BuJo), but it may not be something that you’ve heard of. If not, you’re in for a treat. If you love to-do lists and check-lists like I do, you’re going to love this!

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, the bullet journaling system 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. How much more productive and less stressed would you be if you could stop trying to remember all this “stuff”?

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.

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.

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 and the like. 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.

Monthly Spread from my second month of Bullet Journaling.
Monthly Spread from my second month of Bullet Journaling. This has changed a bit – I’m still trying to find my best flow of ideas…

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.

Key:

• Task
X Completed Task
> Migrated Task

O Appointment
⊗ Completed Appointment
⊕> Migrated Appointment

– Notes

Appointments and notes are used as before.

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

Bullet Journal Weekly Pages
Weekly pages from my second month of Bullet Journaling. I use my BuJo as both an ongoing list/ planner and a scrapbook/ memory journal. Basically, it’s my life.

Pick a key system that seems most intuitive for you (yes, you can create your own!) 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.

Clear as mud? Check out this video by Bullet Journal creator Ryder Carroll.

Still not sure? I’ll be going through how I use my Bullet Journal, a few alterations I’ve made to fit my life, and what products I like best, over the next 9 weeks.

Yep, it’s a 10 week series (and there will be a fun giveaway at the end so I hope you’ll stick around!)

So, what do you think so far? Might a Bullet Journal be your perfect planner?

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9 Comments

  1. OK, I could really get into this. I have also tried tons of planners and never really found one that “fit.” I just watched a few YouTube videos about this system and I’m going to give it a try. Looking forward to the rest of your series.

    1. I’m excited to have you follow along Shannon! The best part of the BuJo is that it can change as you need it to! In June I used it exclusively as a travel journal…

  2. I’ve heard of bullet journaling but I never really knew what it was! Your journal is so colourful and pretty! Definitely inspiration me to start one!

  3. I have a blog planner that I really like…when I’m at home. It’s too big and bulky to really be portable and since I sometimes spend more time traveling than at home, I have a hard time keeping up with it. I recently learned of the bullet journal and thought it may be a system that would work for me. Looking forward to the rest of your series.

    1. That was a big problem for me too, Tonya! And if I got a travel size it was so bulky!
      I hope you enjoy the rest of the series- I look forward to chatting more as I go along!

  4. Ok, I’m intrigued! Im always torn between using the electronic calendar on my phone vs. a larger paper planner. I love the portability of the phone, and it’s always with me. BUT, I love color-coding, being able to check things off my to-do list with A PEN, and also just being able to see a week or month at a time. I’ll be following along with these posts. Thanks for sharing!

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