I have always loved planners. I remember in the mid 90’s lugging around my giant Franklin Planner with all of the fancy pages and gadgets! It made me feel so cool. Over the years I have tired different electronic type planners but I personally love the process of writing things down and always find myself gravitating back to paper type planners. The problem for me is that predesigned planners always feel too limiting and big. I wanted something that could hold my calendar, to-do list, and provide space to take notes, brainstorm, create lists, or just doodle.
A little over a year ago Johanna from Mindful Style told me about bullet journals. These are a new concept of journal that is meant “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” The concept sounded perfect but when I hopped on Pinterest I quickly became intimidated. Some people were very creative with their bullet journal and it looked like more of a work of art vs. a planner. But I found that’s what I love most about bullet journals! They can be as elaborate or basic as you want and the flexibility they offer is amazing! You can organize it to fit your needs and you can even change things up throughout the year until you find a format that works for you. I also love that it is big enough to hold everything I want and small enough to carry or tuck easily in my purse.
Basics about Bullet Journals:
You won’t set this up like a typical to-do list or daily journal that you keep. The purpose of the bullet journal is to use it as a reference for everything going on in your life: note taking, to-dos, ideas, reminders, lists, and important dates.
First you start off with the index. This is a very important feature of the bullet journal and makes something that otherwise would be slightly chaotic very organized. You simply record main ideas you have on each page in the index and when you are looking for something you can reference the index and quickly turn to the correct page.
Second is your calendar. You will want a future, monthly, and daily one. The future one is items that need to be addressed months in advance before they happen, the monthly one gives you a birds-eye view of the month, and the daily one is for notes and tasks.
Ex: On June 5th I had a call with my graphic designer to talk about packaging for new products (we are planning an exciting launch this fall!) and I decided to take notes on that day’s calendar. My index entry reads: Daily / June 5, new packaging kickoff call notes / Andy.
TIP: You do have to keep the index up to date if you want to remain organized!
What to use it for:
Here is the journal I use.It has a hard cover which I like for durability but is not too heavy / bulky and is the perfect size to comfortably write in.
When looking for a bullet journal you want to select one that has lined or dot-grid pages. I prefer the dot-grid as it gives me the structure to easily draw vertical and horizontal lines and feels less restrictive
Since you start out with a blank book, it was a little intimidating to me at first. I was afraid to start writing in it for fear I would mess up, but that’s the beauty of bullet journals, you can make it your own. So when I did make a mistake, I got some fun, motivating stickers to use to cover them up! The stickers hide the mistake and the message one them gives me a little extra encouragement!
To get started I thought about the things I knew I wanted in the book: events (like birthdays), to-do lists (like buying a book I’ve been wanting to read or a grocery list), meetings (I keep a page for people where I list the things I want to talk with them about), ideas or items that I wanted to reference often (like passwords, product ideas, formula ideas, project plans/timelines, etc), and reminders (yoga moves to try, songs to download, crafts to make, etc).
It's endless, the things you can put in your bullet journal. Just know, you do not have to think of the whole list at first and you can create them as the need arises. A lot of people have exercise logs, budgets, progress type trackers…That is the beauty of this. Anything you think you want to reference/record/track you can and if you lose interest in whatever that is or your life changes you just stop using that page.
Can you see why I love my Bullet Journal? Remember, don't get caught up in making it perfection, just get some stickers, have fun with it, and make it yours! Let me know if you have questions and stay tuned for an upcoming FB Live video about how I organize mine!