Bullet Journaling Basics

Bullet Journaling Basics
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As an avid journaler, I am pleased to share bullet journaling basics with you here so that you can learn what a great tool it is for various areas of your life. Bullet journaling is an organized form of journaling, as you will learn.

The bullet journal is an analog system, meaning you don’t need anything more complicated than a notebook and a pen or pencil. While it’s very customizable, and you’re certainly welcome to change things around, in this article, I will walk you through the setup for traditional bullet journaling basics as first introduced by Ryder Carroll from BulletJournal.com.  

Use this as a starting point, to get comfortable with the basic system, and then change it from there as desired.

Supplies

You will  need a notebook, a pen, and a little bit of time to get started. The type of notebook you use is up to you. The traditional style is grid or dotted paper, but I find even ruled or blank pages work just fine.

The Key

The first page of your bullet journal will include your key. This will record the shorthand you use for your bullet entries. Here’s the traditional codes used. Feel free to add to it, or modify it as needed.

dot– Task
X –Completed Task
> Migrated Task
circle–Appointment
circle with X–Completed Appointment
> Migrated Appointment
— Notes

The Index

Your next two to four pages will be set aside for indexing. This will allow you to quickly find any collection, or get to a particular month. Title each page as an index page and move on to the next section.

The Future Log

With the original bullet journal setup this is a two page spread that records the coming 6 months. Many bullet journalers find it helpful to use a more traditional yearly calendar instead. This is a great place to record birthdays, anniversaries, or block out vacation time. Add or note the page number and record your future log in your index.

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Here’s the tutorial video that goes with the descriptions I am sharing 😊👇

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Monthly Logs

Start each month with a monthly log. Here you’ll record appointments and due dates. You can use a grid layout, or use one line for each day of the month. While this isn’t where you’ll track most of your tasks, the monthly log will come in handy for those times when you have a dentist appointment or your daughter is invited to a friend’s birthday party.

Daily Logs

The daily log is where you’ll spend most of your time in the journal. Start a new section each day and record anything important for the day. Make your list of tasks and cross them off as you get them finished. Make notes of anything important you need to remember throughout the day as well as appointments as they pop up. Everything gets logged in the daily log for speed and ease. From there you can move it as needed to the monthly or future log, or migrate it to a different day.

Migrating Tasks

At the end of your day, or first thing the next morning it’s time to review your tasks and cross out and migrate anything that isn’t checked off. For example, if you didn’t get around to doing laundry today, draw an arrow through it and add the task to today’s daily task list.

If you noted an appointment that came up yesterday, move it to your monthly list and draw an arrow through it in yesterday’s list. If something no longer applies then cross it out. Your goal is to deal with each entry from your daily list by completing it, migrating it, or crossing it out.

Collections

The final part of the puzzle is collections. These are basically thematic lists you make that aren’t date related. A perfect example is a list of books you want to read. Start the list on the next blank page. Title it and start jotting down the books you want to read. Make a note of the page you’re on and add this collection to your index page. Now when you want to add a new book title to this list, or reference it to see what you want to read, you can easily find it via the index.

Bullet Journaling Basics Conclusion

So, bullet journaling is an organized and adaptable style of journaling. This structured form described is just one person’s idea of it. There are simple versions you can use each day–for example, making a bullet point of 5 things you are grateful for from your day each evening.

I hope this basic intro has peaked your interest!

Here’s a mug I created about journaling 👇

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About Cate

I am a retired RN–stayed home after my second child was born, having worked for 10 years. I am in my mid-50s now, and I enjoy blogging, designing mugs and more and spreading a bit of positivity in the world.

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