Approximately 2 months ago I was watching a video on YouTube from Lily Pebbles. I can’t remember which video it was but she mentioned something called a Bullet Journal. My stationery senses were tingling and after googling, pinterest-ing, youtube-ing and everything else-ing I finally decided that it sounded like something that would be good for me and I was going to give it a shot.
Now, approximately 2 months later, every man and his dog seems to have one. #TrendSetter
Last week, I did a Bullet Journal flip-through on my YouTube channel. And, just over a week later, it has already surpassed 1,000 views. (Which, oh my god, is so amazing for my channel I almost did an excited wee.)
I’ve had a few requests to do a blog post to go along with the video, so here it is. I was already planning on doing this post, I know some people prefer to read rather than watch, but flipping heck I’ve had to speed it up because you guys really wanted this! So, let’s start from the very beginning.
What the hell is a bullet journal?
The best way I can describe it is that bullet journaling is a system, rather than an object. I’ve had a lot of people ask me where they can buy one, and so that’s how I’d describe it. You don’t necessarily just buy a bullet journal, (although you can actually buy one from the guy who created the system now. So that’s cool.) it’s more that you implement a system in a pre-existing notebook. Honestly, I will never be able to explain what bullet journaling is better than the man himself. So check out the bullet journal website and give the video a watch – it will clear everything up for you.
Omg where do I start?
You gots to gots to pick your perfect notebook, yo. Most people either use a Moleskine (not sure which one exactly – soz) or my bae the Leuchtturm 1917. (Which you can buy on Amazon in a bunch of pretty colours, just FYI.) I think a lot of people’s personal preference when it comes to size is A5 – I know I love it because it’s small enough to fit in my handbag but big enough to write in without needing a magnifying glass to read. I also personally prefer the ‘dotted’ style, rather than lined or squared. But, again, it’s all personal preference.
Once you’ve chosen your notebook, you’re going to want to maybe do a bit of research. But not too much because it can be hella daunting. Some people use bullet journals as literally everything planners. They make them look pretty, keep them forever to look back on in years to come, store memories in them, use them almost like a scrapbook. I don’t. (Again, personal preference. Gonna be saying that a lot in this post.) I use my bullet journal as a diary/planner – a way to generally keep my life organised. I do also incorporate some other “lifestyle” bits and bobs and try to keep it neat, but at the end of the year I will be binning it and starting afresh. For this reason, some of the things I commonly see in bullet journals on Pinterest and YouTube I have chosen to emit from mine.
THAT’S THE BEST THING THOUGH. The single best thing about a bullet journal is that it’s completely your own. You can do whatever the hell you like with it, put whatever the hell you want in it and put everything where you want it. You can try something for a month then adapt/change/completely get rid the next if it doesn’t work for you. You can have an idea one month and just start trying it half way through the year. It’s just fab, honestly.
So what’s in your bullet journal, then?
Like I said earlier, I just use mine as a diary/planner rather than anything more permanent. So I don’t include anything like gratitude planners (anymore, I did try this out, but it didn’t work for me.), memory pages, monthly reviews etc. But, also like I mentioned before, I do include some ‘lifestyle’ type things. Let’s take a look.
I start off with my index (which is, conveniently, already included in my Leuchtturm 1917). The index is just an easy way for you to find pages in the journal. I mark any pages that are static (AKA I will need them throughout the whole year, rather than monthly segments that I will renew every month) in blue so I can find them quicker and any monthly segments that will repeat every month are left un-marked.
I then move onto my key. The key is the heart of the bullet journal system – a way for you to easily see what tasks you have to do, what are completed, what has been scheduled for another day, any events you have etc.
Included in what I would consider to be “lifestyle” segments, rather than just basic diary/planning segments are:
- A wishlist (just to keep track of anything I want/need)
- A savings goal tracker (a way for me to have instant visual gratification of how much money I have saved/paid back people I owe/debts)
- Blog and youtube ideas (self explanatory)
- A habit tracker (a way to keep track of my day-to-day activity)
- A gratitude log (although, I’ve decided to bin this from next month as I didn’t use it enough)
- Monthly expense logs (every penny I spend, what category it falls under and how much left I have in my monthly budget)
- ‘Waiting on’ pages (anything I’ve ordered online, any PR samples, basically any information or product I’m still waiting on. Then I cross them out as and when I receive them)
- A blog statistics page (a quick way for me to keep track of my monthly statistics and follower counts)
These are things you can pick and choose from and if you take a look on Pinterest or YouTube you’ll find even more inspiration of things to include, if that’s the route you want to go down.
Included in my diary/planner segments are:
- A 3-month future log (A way for me to jot down important future events/notes. I’ve since changed this to a 6-month log over a 2 page spread)
- Brain dump (A place to stick any notes/musings/non-immediate tasks for me to refer back to)
- Monthly calendar (self explanatory)
- Daily log (a day-by-day diary/planner. I’m never more than a day ahead – e.g. If today is Monday, I won’t write down any tasks for Tuesday until Monday is over – meaning I never run out of space and everything is totally customisable to my time frame per day, as every day is different)
- Weekend logs (the same idea as a daily log, except grouped together for the weekend/long periods of time where no tasks are day-specific)
Other key bits of information
- Page markers are my bae. There are two in my Leuchtturm 1917. I use one on my currently daily log and the other on my monthly calendar. BUT let me tell you, two is not enough. I also mark a couple of pages with paper clips just so they’re super easy to find – my expenses log and my 6-month future log.
- My bullet journal is teaching me it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay not to be perfect. See that page in the last photo? That was my “hey, let’s try out a bunch of headers” page. I’d also lost my pen so had to use a shitty biro that was running out. It looks super messy, but I don’t even care! Also, the big chunk of washi tape at the top? That’s covering where I started writing Wednesday instead of Thursday. *hair flick*
- The bullet journal is 100% helping my anxiety. One of the ways I have to manage my anxiety is by making loads of lists to ensure I’ve not forgotten anything – I get really anxious about forgetting things. Having such a solid system has chilled me the hell out. Win-win.
Also just another note, this isn’t my current bullet journal anymore. I had an incident at work that, long story short, ended with my bullet journal being soaked (and subsequently ruined) with a full cup of tea. (See this Twitter thread for the full story and photos *cry*) I’m going to be doing an updated flip through video with everything I’ve changed/adapted in my new journal in a few months time! (My new one is yellow and it rocks.)
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