Bullet Journal: A Guide for Beginners


There are many ways to stay organized, and one of them is by keeping a bullet journal. (Image: Dreamstime.com / Bullet Journal © Josieelias)

Nowadays, life has become so stressful and hectic for many people, staying organized and remembering to do things in time has become daunting. There are many ways to stay organized, and one of them is by keeping a bullet journal. This is what many professionals use, especially those who are living a hectic life balancing time between work, home, and family.

What is a bullet journal?

You can think of a bullet journal as a helpful daily planner that helps you stay organized so you can meet your professional as well as personal goals in time and in the best possible way. The journal can be customized and made flexible according to your needs. It was invented by Ryder Carroll, a New York Times best-selling author and digital product designer.

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Carroll says: “The only thing that the bullet journal needs to be is effective, and how it can best serve its author is entirely up to them.” The users need to customize their journals with symbols and with sections called “collections.” These can include sections like a diary, fitness log, and fertility tracker.

Watch this video on how to bullet journal:

This type of journal has proven to be more effective than traditional organizers and planners. It lets the users examine how their tasks and goals make them feel. Carroll adds: “It doesn’t matter what your bullet journal looks like. It’s about how it makes you feel, and how effective it is in moving you towards the things that matter to you.”

Components of a bullet journal

To make your journal functional and easy to use, you have to deploy what’s called “rapid logging.” This is the official language for engaging in bullet journaling.

Index: This is like a table of contents and has page numbers along with a symbol key.

Future log: This is like a calendar with goals and future events and plans.

Monthly log: This lets you have a peek at the monthly tasks.

Daily log: This is the to-do list, per each day.

What about the symbols?

If you look at a typical bullet journal, you will see almost every page contains symbols, which can include, for example:

  • Priority: *
  • Events: O
  • Tasks: •
  • Notes: –
  • Inspiration: !

What will you need?

The nice thing about getting into the habit of using this type of journal is there is no fixed timing. You can begin developing such a journal any time of the year. You can buy official bullet journals for sure. However, those who do not want to spend too much can use any regular journal or notebook. Carroll emphasizes the journal is not as much about looks as it is about functionality and its usefulness as a productivity tool.

For instance, you should not worry much if your handwriting is not that good. This type of journaling is flexible, even for those who live crazy, hectic lives. You have to devote about 15 minutes a day updating your journal once you set it up.

The bullet journal has proven to be more effective than traditional organizers and planners. (Image: bulletjournal.com)

How to use a bullet journal effectively

Initially, you have to make your mindset ready for indulging in bullet journaling.

It is best if you get a regular notebook as the first few pages can turn out messy. Using a pencil is better than using a pen.

An index has to be set up first and it will serve as the journal’s backbone. It will be followed by logs, of which, there will be various types.

You have to use symbols to mark upcoming events and plans.

You will also have to make collections. These are future plans kept in a queue.

It will be necessary to keep updating your journal. Be patient, as it may take some time before you learn how to make the best use of it.

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