Bullet Journal: The last planner (agenda, journal, notebook, calendar, etc.) you will ever need.
I say this with confidence. For the last five months, this is what I’ve used to organize and envision my life.
I’m a lover of notebooks, journals, planners, agendas, and most paper products in general. I love to write and sketch and plan, but on my minimalist journey, I realized I was a bit of a hoarder when it came to these objects.
Having multiple notebooks and planners was not helping me live simply or stay organized. I even designed my own planner, but it still wasn’t simple enough for my needs.
So I went pinteresting for all-in-one planners. I came across the popular Day Designer and I was tempted to purchase the Passion Planner, but I felt there was something even simpler that could meet my needs and that’s when I found the bullet journal.
The bullet journal is simply a series of lists. You can add more to it, but at it’s core the bullet journal is all about lists.
I’m going to outline the main pages of the bullet journal and I have included pictures of my journal below.
Main Components of a Bullet Journal
The key tells you about each type of entry on your various lists. Some types of entries you may have are tasks, notes, events/appointments, transactions. You can further notate these entries to show priority, favorites, research needed, complete, migrated, scheduled or questions. This is the key I use, but you can create your own type of entries and notations to suit your needs.
Sidenote: After using the journal for a few months, I realized I only use a few of the entry types and notations consistently. These are the ones most intuitive and integral to my thought process and I will only include those in the key of my next journal.
This is probably self explanatory, but this is where you will list your pages and page numbers.
Tip: If you write a lot like me and notice you’re running out of space on the index page, you can leave the back page blank or make an entry for index #2 at the bottom of the first index page.
This section allows you to do an at-a-glance look at your next six months. It is not meant to be super detailed, but to note any major events you're aware of and goals you want to achieve in the next six months.
The monthly log is your calendar in list form. I enter the first letter of the day and the date on each line. Here you will fill in events and tasks for that month. Once you’ve completed your monthly to-do page (next section), you can go back and fill in more events and tasks. You can do the monthly to-do before the monthly log, but either way, I recommend having the pages facing each other.
On the monthly to-do page you will list everything that needs to get done that month.
This is where you note what needs to get done on a daily basis. You will use the monthly log and to-do lists to schedule your days. The bullet journal website recommends completing daily logs no more than 1-2 days in advance and I agree.
Focusing on a few important things that need to be completed that day will help you be more productive and remain present. It allows you to give each day it’s space and reflect.
Long term planning is necessary, but what you focus on day-to-day will ultimately determine if you’re successful in those long term goals.
Special pages can be anything you want. My special pages include a savings tracker, sales tracker, journaling, blog post drafts, checklists, and lots of other content that don’t fall into the categories above.
Your life made simple.
It’s so simple. All you need is a notebook. You can use plain, lined, or graphing paper. I created my own notebook with leftover graphing paper I had and used the cardboard backing to create covers. I purchased metal utility wire for $1 to create the notebook rings. I also bought a small notebook for $1 I only use for my day job. You can also buy the official bullet journal, but it’s not necessary.
What I love about the bullet journal is it keeps you focused on the moment and what’s going on in your life currently. You create it as you go along and you only ever have the one day before you. For me, it makes me feel my day and life in general, are conquerable and mine to control. You can personalize it. Do a search of “bullet journals” and you can see how creative some people are with their journals, but regardless, it is yours to shape, just like your life.
Create your own.
Interested in seeing if the bullet journal could be the answer to your organizational needs? I've created a free template you can use to create your own bullet journal or print the pages and use as is.
What is one organizational tool you cannot live without?