A few months back as I was surfing the web, I kept coming across a new term: Bullet Journaling. I kept seeing beautifully intricate notebook pages with dots and lines and symbols. It looked like a foreign language that everyone was becoming privy to except for me! I was intrigued. As someone who has always tried to keep a journal (I have like 20 half filled out journals lying in a box somewhere—anyone else?), it’s always a habit I’ve admired but failed to keep. I also love physically writing out my to-do list with pen and paper. The act of literally writing it out and then having it tangibly in front of me has always helped me feel organized.
If this is resonating with you—keep reading. If not, you should still keep reading because bullet journaling (or BuJo if you’re in really deep), serves lots of purposes and can be helpful for anyone. What the system does is create a space for journaling (aka writing down your thoughts, notes, and basically any mundane—or super exciting—thing you want to remember), planning (what does your week or month ahead look like?), and daily to-do list. The whole shebang is categorized by a set of alien looking symbols that, when you get a hang of it, make total sense. Maybe I’m brainwashed?
How the system works
I won’t go into all the details, but the basics for bullet journaling are: you start a new page, write the date at the top, then go ham with your symboling. Here is a quick breakdown:
– The bullet symbol goes next to to-do’s. For example, go to the gym.
– An (x) marks that a task is complete. Once you’ve gone to the gym, you can put an x over that bullet to mark the change.
– The less than symbol (<) means something on your to list has been scheduled. Aka the “make hair appointment” to-do has been completed and scheduled for next Wednesday (this is different than a task being complete and done, it will be occurring in the future).
– The greater than symbol (>) means “migrate” in BuJo language. This is just a fancy way to say you didn’t get it done and you’ll need to move it to another day.
– A dash (-) signifies a note (I like avocados now, Katie broke up with Sean…literally anything you want to just jot down).
– The open circle (o) is the symbol for an event (ex: Sarah’s birthday dinner!).
The whole idea behind this is to keep everything concise, to the point, and organized. There are other parts, like an index, future log, etc. but you just have to figure out what works for you by trial and error.
Why you should start
Now the important part: WHY?
Once you get the hang of this system it’s completely simple and life-changing. It helps you get everything all on one page. From your little to-do’s to big deadlines, to events and the banal things you just don’t want to forget. It also forces you to slow down and look at the big picture, which in turn helps with stress and feeling overwhelmed. I would even go as far as to say it’s meditative in the sense that it keeps you mentally fresh. Sold yet?!
P.S. Here’s a video that is super helpful.
Do any of you bullet-journal?
And what do you find it most helpful for?
Written by contributor Chelsea Becker.