What is Bullet Journaling? (Part 1)

I’ve been posting some photos of my Bullet Journal for the last few weeks and I’ve had a few friends ask me what it is. 

So here we go!

Quite possibly the best explanation is given by the creator of the Bullet Journal system, Ryder Carroll. He has a few videos and a beautiful website that takes you through the basics. 

Here’s the thing about it, though. Because the system is so flexible, you can really make it your own. I’ve followed a few Instagrammers, bloggers and YouTubers to gather ideas for decorating, handwriting and overall organizing for my journal. 

It’s essentially list making. 

Before I found this system, I just had a running task list of all the things I needed to get done that day. At my last job, people would often come into my office to ask me to do something for them and before the Bullet Journal, I was lost in a sea of Post-It notes and memo books with lists upon lists. 

 

My index.

 

The key.

The Bullet Journal system enables me to divide my tasks by day, transfer ones that can be done tomorrow and also keep me driven by seeing the impact I’m making to my list. It brings order to my chaos.

The gist of it is that you use a few different symbols, a check box, circle, triangle, bullet, astrix and an exclamation point to help organize your list. 

You begin by creating the Index and Key, which you can see in my photos. I added an eye and a little spoon and fork to indicate something I should look up and what I had for a meal, respectively.

I use the check box for tasks, a circle for an event that occured that day, a triangle for an appointment or meeting, a bullet point for a note, an asterix for something that is deadline and the exclamation point for an idea. 

There is a language to the check boxes, too. A filled in box means the task is complete, half filled is in progress, with an x is canceled, with an arrow is migrated to the next day and with a line through it is irrelevant. 

You can get even more creative and use color coding, which I do for just my personal and work tasks. I keep them all in the order they pop in my head, so I generally have a good mix of pink and green (personal and work) things in my to-do list. I did try keeping them separate, but it’s just a lot easier for me to keep them all in a running list.  

By the end of the day, my bullet journal looks like a half to-do list, half journal. That’s the point. It’s for keeping track of what’s happening now  

My Sunday task list.

 and what happened in the past. I even make a note of fun statements and funny things that happened to me that day because it’s all part of my life — the work stuff and the personal stuff. If I have any room left over, I usually just write about things that happened that day to fill it out.  

 The cool part about this is how customizable this all is. You could keep a plain journal with just a black-and-white color palette, or you could go full-on scrapbooker with stamps, washi tape, colored pens, stickers and pretty designs if you want. The system really answers to all journaling preferences. 

For the last few weeks, my design style has kind of started to show. I like washi tape, pretty lettering and stamps. My favorite stamp is of a giraffe I call Monty who I’ve decided will give me a little inspiration or encouragement when I need it. 

 

Monty says!

 Spreads are another huge part about Bullet Journaling, but I feel like I’ve written enough for you here now. But I will do a part 2 tomorrow about spreads and functional they are to me.   

In the mean time, I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, just leave me a comment here. If you want to see some more photos of my Bullet Journal, just visit my Instagram account, which you can see here or on the right side bar, where I’ve been posting more photos of my daily Bullet Journal creations. 

Enjoy!

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