As a kid, did you use to keep a diary? And as an adult, how do you note things you need to remember? Do you stick a post-it on your desk or fridge? A bullet journal is similar to post-its and the traditional diary. It’s a better, newer version and a combination of the conventional dairy, sticky posts and calendar. It’s a new trend that started in 2013 and attracted attention on social media. It’s supposed to be the best way to organise your daily schedule and generally your everyday life.
But, how do you make a bullet journal? What do you need? And after all, why should you make a bullet journal? Find out how to make a bullet journal and answers to all your questions in our guide. Keep reading!
Table of Contents
What is a bullet journal, and why is it different from other journals?
A bullet journal or else Bujo is a combination of a personal planner, to-do list, brainstorming, a diary and so on. Ryder Carrol, a digital product designer and author from New York, first created it.
The bullet journal system is a bit complicated. It has many different components broken down into modules:
- Index: It’s the reference of the page numbers.
- Future log: Here, you write down your plans and aspirations.
- Monthly log: It’s for your shorter-term goals, to-do lists and deadlines.
- Daily log: It’s for your daily tasks and appointments.
But why is a bullet journal different from other forms of journaling? A couple of points make a bullet journal different from other hand lettering journals.
- You have one journal for everything. You don’t need to keep another journal for your grocery lists, the tasks you have to do daily, a reminder for upcoming events and so on. You can keep just one journal for all that really matters.
- The bullet journal system is briefer than other journals as you don’t use long sentences. You use bullets, dots, boxes, and other symbols to write down your notes in the bullet journal.
- Another difference is that bullet journals have sections and an index on the first pages. This is rather helpful as you can easily locate a page you want.
- You can organise your life, set goals and keep track of them.
Bullet journal’s terms
The bullet journal method uses symbols to explain things, create plans, schedules and lists and for other things you will add to your bullet journal pages. These symbols are called signifiers. The signifiers will allow you to quickly find out what you are looking for on any page. These signifiers are common for any Bujo. However, you can adjust them to your preferences.
- Box/ Bullet: the box is for the task you have to do.
- Triangle: It’s usually used for appointments and places you need to go.
- Dot: Use dots for things you have to remember.
- Dash: Dashes indicate notes.
- Circle: Circles are used for events.
- Checkmark: Instead of crossing off an entire sentence, use the checkmark to mark it off your list.
- X: Use X for the cancelled events, tasks etc
- Smiles: Use happy, sad, and other smiley faces as mood trackers to represent your mood of the day.
- Hearts: This sign is for memories and essential things you don’t want to forget.
- Star: Put a star next to a box, triangle or dot for things that need extra attention.
- Moon and sun: Draw a moon/sun to represent the night or daytime when writing on your bullet journal.
Apart from signifiers, there are a few more terms that all bullet journal users use and will be rather helpful for your Bujo as well.
- Migration: One of the main advantages of a Bujo is that you can move tasks forward to new pages. That is called migration. If you can’t finish a task and still want it on your list, you migrate it to next month’s pages.
- Spreads: A spread is usually another name of a bullet journal’s page.
- Collections: Collection pages cover specific topics or issues. From books you want to read movies to watch to meal plans and grocery lists.
- Trackers: A tracker is a spread used to look for specific information for a period. Trackers can cover a week, a month, a year or any time in between.
- Monthlies: It’s a brief word for monthly spread/log.
- Weeklies: It’s the shorthand for weekly spread/log.
- Dailies: The same as the above. It’s the short version of the daily spread/log.
- Rapid logging: This term is used by Ryder Carroll to describe the action of capturing information in a bulleted list. In simple terms, when you quickly note something in your daily spread, you are actually rapid logging.
How to make a bullet journal
If you start with a bullet journal system for the first time, you may find it a bit confusing. However, with some patience and the right guidelines, you’ll find that it’s an excellent way to stay organised. At first, you can start with the basics, a notebook and pen. And later on, you might want to use fountain pens, markers, highlighters, stickers, washi tape, bookmarks (or better make your own).
What’s more, you can find many printable bullet journal ideas online. Here we have prepared a step-by-step guide with a few tips and hacks to help set up your DIY first bullet journal.
Bullet journal supplies:
- A dot grid notebook (Moleskin, leuchtturm)
- A pen
- A ruler
Steps to follow:
1. Gather your supplies
The essential tools for your bullet journal are a notebook and a pen. Get an inexpensive notebook or make your own. Opt for one with blank pages so you can customise your own bullet journal to your liking. It isn’t necessary to have lines. You can get a dotted notebook, a grid or a blank one. When it comes to the writing tool, it would be best to use a pencil at first to erase your mistakes easily.
2. Create the index
You are going to have numbers on every page. Hence, the index will help you track the sections. The first two pages of your journal that fall side-by-side will be the index pages. Start by writing the word “Index” on top of both pages. You can use a pencil or a pen in your favourite colour.
3. Make the future log
Get to the next page to create your future spread. In this section, you will write down tasks you want to complete within six months. Here’s what you have to do.
- Count the lines and divide by three.
- Using a ruler draw three straight lines across the page and divide them into three equal sections on each page.
- Then, write a month in each section. For example, if you are making a Bujo for the new year, write “January” in the first box, “February” in the second, etc.
- Finally, don’t forget to number your pages. Once the future spread is in the first section, the page numbers will be 1 and 2. Then, go back to the index and write “Future log… 1-2”.
4. Make the monthly log
Move on to the next page to make your monthly spread. On these pages, you will make an overview of the month.
- Write the current month’s name on the left page and jot every date of the month. When you finish with the dates, write the abbreviation of the day of the week or the first letter.
- On the right page, write down the month’s task list. Use bullets to create your goal list you wish to complete the current month, bills you have to pay, upcoming birthdays.
- When you are done, write numbers on every page and fill in your index. Note, for example, “January Monthly Spread/Log…3-4.”
5. Create the daily log
Go now to the next page and jot down today’s date at the top of the page. Here things are simple. Use bullet points to write something you have to do that day, tasks you completed, and anything special and important that happened that day. Use as many lines as you need to record your day. When the day ends, use the line below or the next page for the next day.
Keep in mind that a Bujo is the short version of a diary. Don’t use full sentences. Instead, you can write short and simple sentences.
Why start a bullet journal
Bullet journaling isn’t only a useful tool to better organise your life. It also has other benefits that, once you hear them, they’ll surely intrigue you to start your Bujo.
- It’s a budget-friendly option. Unlike other planners, monthly calendars and journals you may use, this one is the most inexpensive option. You don’t need any special bullet journal notebooks to start yours. It only requires a simple notebook and a pen.
- It improves your productivity. We all set goals for ourselves even if we can’t achieve them. Start your own Bujo and have a section where you write down your goals and what you need to do to achieve them.
- It reduces stress and anxiety. It’s well known that planning your life help you reduce stress. A bullet journal can help you manage mental health issues and reduce anxiety as you organise your life and don’t worry about forgetting something.
- You can express yourself and your creativity. There isn’t a general rule on how a bullet journal should be. There are some basic stuff to help you start one, and afterwards, you can customise it as you wish. You can create doodles, fancy fonts and layouts, hand lettering, positive quotes, and stickers to make your journal more exciting and fun.
Start now your bullet journal! Get a notebook with 200 pages and a pen and organise your life. Customise it to suit your needs and lifestyle and make your life better. Follow our simple step-by-step template and set up your Bujo!