What is a Bullet Journal?
A Bullet Journal (bujo) is a blank book that is used to create your own combination of a planner, to-do list, and journal. Watch this video for a description of what a Bullet Journal is and how to design and use one.
The Bullet Journal was originally invented by Ryder Carroll and shared with the world in 2013. He recently wrote a backstory for the Bullet Journal to celebrate its 3rd birthday.
Kim at Tiny Ray of Sunshine has created a great graphic Bullet Journal Reference Guide. It is a printable sheet that covers all the basics in a step by step format. It is printable to keep next to you as you get started.
I like to think of it as the ultimate to-do list. I can make lists of things to do for this blog, for my VA business, for my personal life, things to do in the future and then keep all of them together in one place!
There are many people who get very creative in their Bullet Journals. They use special pens, washi tape, stickers, and stamps. Don’t let them intimidate you! Remember, first and foremost this is an organizational tool.
I have not gotten too fancy, just a little washi tape here and there and some color for titles. Mostly, I want mine to be very useful and easy to use.
So the beauty of this process is that the only things you need are a notebook and a pen. I am betting you can scrounge that up in your house right this minute. The most popular notebooks seem to be the Moleskin Dotted and the Lechtturm 1917, but I got this Peter Pauper notebook.
Set aside a few pages for an index if you think you want one. Most people seem to have one but I did not include one in my bujo this time. I don’t know if I will regret that later, but I figure if I really want one I can add it at the end of the book.
Then just start writing. Jot down some notes, a list, draw a picture or create a calendar. It doesn’t matter how you start, just start.
Don’t be afraid to mess up. As you start writing you will figure out what works and what doesn’t. This is not a Piece of Art, it is creative, and creation is messy! You will mess up, I spelled August wrong (I told you I was a bad speller) on one of my weekly spreads, but that doesn’t stop that spread from working!
What to Include
The aspect of the Bullet Journal that got me the most excited in the beginning was the flexibility in types of pages I could create. I love planners, but I don’t love how rigid they are. I always have chunks of pages I don’t use, or find that the layout is cute but doesn’t work for me after all. It feels so wasteful!
RELATED POST: Bullet Journal for Business and Blogging
Now I can experiment with different layouts and lists. I have been checking out different blogs to see what other people are doing and trying some of the spreads that they share.
What can you put in your Bullet Journal?
- Monthly calendar
- Weekly calendar
- Daily pages
- To-do lists
- Movies to Watch
- Books to Read
- Meal Planning
- Zentangles or Doodles
- Habit Trackers
- Gratitude Journal
- Plan a Trip
- Weight Loss Tracker
- Debt Payoff
- and so much more!
I have also created a Pinterest board where I am pinning all sorts of ideas. There are tons of people sharing #bujo and #bulletjournal on Instagram.
The most important thing to remember is to make it your own. Don’t try to be someone else is this book, it is about you. What do you want to track? What do you want to remember?
How to Use a Bullet Journal for Work
The bullet journal is the perfect place to track those daily tasks that never really get written down and just niggle the back of your brain. I am always thinking about social media scheduling and commenting on blogs and Facebook groups at 2am when I wake up to nurse the baby.
Now I have created a weekly spread where all those things get written down. I plan out about five things to do every day that are important to my blog goals but small enough that I can sit down and bang them out in an hour.
This has actually helped me more than I expected. Not only do I not think about these things in the middle of the night but it has created a structure to my posting that I did not have before.
RELATED POST: Plan Your Best Year with The Living Well Planner
I use the free version of Buffer and can only schedule 10 tweets at a time. Before I started my bujo I was always unsure the last time I had scheduled and was checking it multiple times a day and never filling up the queue.
Now, I know which days to check and always fill up my queue on those days. I do the same for Tailwind and Pinterest. Plus, I like to mark off when I re-tweet someone and comment on blog posts.
I also use my bujo for making all sorts of work-related lists: possible blog post, guest posts, freebies, and goals. I made a stat tracker and monthly tasks page. It is amazing having all of these things in one place and being able to refer to them at any time.
How the Bullet Journal Fits into My Daily Schedule
- My bujo goes in my bag so I can jot down thoughts throughout the day.
- I keep it open next to me as I work to keep me on task.
- BEFORE I open the computer, I try to write down what needs to get done so I don’t get lost in Facebookland.
- I have three to-do lists, personal, VA work, and Blog work. When I sit down to work I work off of the appropriate list so I don’t miss anything.
- Every weekend I sit down and create the next weeks spread, list my appointments and create my to-do lists.
- Each night before bed I try to do a brain dump. I add to-dos to the next day or the appropriate list and take a minute to clear out my brain.
Make your bujo work for you! Use it the way that works best for your schedule. There are tons of places to get inspired and then once you have used it for a while you will know what works best.
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