Sometimes trends on YouTube are popular for good reason. If you have found yourself down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos lately, you may have seen a few on Bullet Journals. These are essentially beautifully created yearly planners by artists to show off their talent on YouTube. (I'm a little envious if you can tell).
I am not very artistic, so I didn't think the concept would be for me. Plus, it seemed to just be a simple DIY planner. I don't have time for that - or so I thought. Eventually, I saw enough of the videos to be curious, so I researched exactly what a Bullet Journal is supposed to be.
Simply, it is a place to put all your to-dos, reminders, plans, and random thoughts in one place. Sounds chaotic, right? Well, this simple, but brilliant concept has changed my life! (dramatic much?) Seriously, though; I love this thing. I am a list obsessed individual. A new day doesn't feel complete if I haven't created multiple lists (usually of the same items). I find that lists help organize my thoughts, and remind me for the 100th time what I wanted to get done today. However, I have never felt less stressed after creating yet another list on a piece of random paper. That all changed with the Bullet Journal.
A Bullet Journal allows you to create a system that works for you, although it works best if you follow some basic guidelines:
1. Index Page: the bullet journal should begin with an index page to help you organize your pages. This will be useful because after the first few pages, things won't necessarily be in a specific order. At first it seems pointless, but as you go on you will be happy that you wrote down what page specific items are on so that they are easy to find.
2. Key: to help organize your tasks, it is suggested that you create a key to use throughout the journal. For example, how will you mark a completed task? I personally use 2 or 3 keys, although I have more listed. X is a completed task, > means I have moved the task to a later date, and * means this is important. Use whatever type of symbols you like, but try to keep them simple enough so that you will easily remember them.
3. Monthly forecast: The next few pages are usually dedicated to the main events occurring monthly. This is meant to be just a quick overview of each month, such as birthday reminders or appointments. I also list important due dates for school, and of course upcoming travels.
4. Monthly Overview: Now you are ready to focus on the current month. Here you can write down events coming up in just this month. I personally draw a calendar on the whole page and fill it in with birthdays, travel plans, and appointments. Anything I want to make sure I remember at a glance. Then, either on the same page or on a new one, I create a list of tasks I want to accomplish during the month.
5. Daily Tasks: You are ready to create daily to-dos for each new day. I don’t recommend filling in more than one day at a time. Not every day will have 10 things written down, so take it day by day to minimize wasted space. You are free to be as creative (or uncreative) as you like. I simply write the date and then list my tasks for the day. I like to keep things simple.
6. Optional - Tracker: After the monthly overview I create a tracking sheet to keep track of random things, like exercise or mediation. This allows me to see at a glance how much of a specific thing I did over the course of a month. It’s not necessary, but I found it helps me stick with things that I find important for my well-being.
7. Lists: One unique thing with bullet journal is the ability to add random lists throughout! As the month goes by, if you think of a list you want to create, just find the next blank page and create it! This is where the index comes handy. Number each page as you move on, and keep them updated in the index. This way, you can easily find that random list later on. I have lists for the blog, volunteering, writing, shopping, schoolwork, etc. This gives you the ability to jot down thoughts in an organized manner, while keeping everything in one place. This is one of my favorite features.
8. Brain Dump: I tend to stick to lists, but feel free to use a new blank page for a place to just dump down random ideas, thoughts, and reminders. It only has to make sense to you! Again, this keeps all your thoughts and reminders in one place so that you can easily go back to it on a later date.
My bullet journal has brought me so much calmness in regards to my-to do lists. What was once spread across multiple pieces of papers that were constantly being re-written and updated and then thrown in the trash, is now a notebook where all my thoughts are in one place for me to go back through and remember. It keeps me organized and stress-free. If you don't think one of the things I mentioned above is important for you, just skip it. This is your journal and you can use it however you like it.
Pro Tip: I recommended buying a dotted journal. This makes it easier to design a journal that works best for you. Also, when tracking, the dots make it easy to fill in completed tasks. Luechturm would be great journal to use for this.
Let me know how you stay organized below!
Here is a YouTube video that shows the concept of a Bullet Journal: How To Bullet Journal