How to Start a Bullet Journal

img_3008-2

A couple of months ago I stumbled across the concept of the Bullet Journal and it has actually changed my life. That might sound dramatic, but when you’re a serial busy person you need a bloody good tool to keep you organised and on top of things as much as you can, and the Bullet Journal concept is just that tool. I’ve been using my Bullet Journal for a month now, so I thought I’d share a series of blogs on how I use it in case it can help you too!

Make sure you look out for my next post for my everyday use and recommended stationery.

So, what is a Bullet Journal?

Put simply, a Bullet Journal is just a method of organising lists. The main contents of a Bullet Journal are:

  • Index
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Log
  • Weekly Log
  • Daily Log
  • Collections

Tasks are logged using a concept called “rapid logging”. Different signifiers, or bullets, help you quickly distinguish a task that needs doing from completed tasks, or an event, note, etc. The original signifiers are below:

. tasks

x completed

> migrated

< scheduled

– note

o event

* priority

! inspiration

Some people have added their own signifiers, but personally I think this complicates the system – the whole point of it is to be simple and objective.

Bullet Journal Contents

Index

The Index is a quick-reference contents page of all your main Bullet Journal pages. You can index however you like, but I like to index my monthly spreads, trackers and highlights pages separately, then group my weekly and daily spreads into one month’s entry. Collections, like Level 10 Life, reading lists, etc. are also individually indexed.Bullet Journal Index Page

Future Log

In a Bullet Journal you only ever plan for the current month/week, so to keep track of events and tasks for the future without having to draw out each month’s spread you use a Future Log. This is usually a spread that covers 6 months to a single view. In it, you write any appointments or tasks you know need to be addressed in a specific month. When you draw out that month’s spread, you simply migrate the events and tasks over to that view.

Bullet Journal Future Log

Monthly Log

The Monthly Log is an at-a-glance view of the month ahead, with one page for appointments/events or tasks you know you need to complete on a specific day, and another page for the month’s to do list or goals. Some people like to draw their Monthly Log out like a calendar, but for now I like the simplicity of the list of dates. I colour the first square after the date with my husband’s shifts and the remaining space is for appointments. On the right of the spread I write my tasks for the month and then I have a space at the bottom for my blog stats so I can keep an eye on monthly info for planning, progress checks and my media kit.

I stick washi tape down the side of this page so it’s easy to quickly spot my Monthly spread and habits tracker – this helps me to keep going back to them daily.

Bullet Journal Monthly Log

Weekly Log

To break down tasks even further, there’s the Weekly Log. This is where you get really specific and plan out your week’s appointments, tasks and anything else you need to keep track of for the week. I draw a plan for my week on the left-hand side, including appointments and events, and then on the right I list the tasks from my monthly log that I plan to get done that week. I also have a meal plan at the bottom, and a social tracker to help encourage me to post and share on my blog social media channels more frequently and to ensure I get coverage across them all… you can probably tell that some channels are more well-used than others!

Bullet Journal Weekly Log

Daily Log

The Daily Log is where the tasks get completed. Each day’s tasks are listed as the day comes and I check them off as I go. I draw up the weather and temperature forecast in each day’s log so I can be prepared – will I need to de-frost my car? Will I need an umbrella? Should I wear an extra layer? It also helps to keep my Bullet Journal fun to look at with drawings and colour – if it looks nice I’m more likely to keep going back to it every day!

Bullet Journal Daily Log

Collections

This is where you store everything else… literally anything you can think of. I have Collections for birthdays, savings goals, level 10 life (inspired by Boho Berry), a reading list (check out Zanna Van Dijk’s post for some good reading inspiration) and I even had a dedicated Collection for Christmas shopping. Whatever you need to track, plan, log, or even if you just fancy a dedicated page for doodling – make a Collection for it. I also have plans to draw up projects pages and blog post planning pages to help me be more productive with my blog and blog projects.

There really can be a Collection for anything… I even have a page at the back of my Bullet Journal where I’ve drawn out a plan of our garden with information on when and how to prune/cut back our plants! This system is organisation to the max – make the most of it.

Bullet Journal Inspiration

I’ve drawn inspiration from a variety of sources, but most of my research was done using Boho Berry‘s fantastic website and YouTube channel. I’ve pinned a lot of my favourite spreads and designs to my {JOURNAL} organisation Pinterest board – feel free to follow this board to keep up-to-date with my favourite designs!

Check back soon for a post on how I use my Bullet Journal, as well as some tips for how to manage and prioritise your tasks.

If you liked this post please let me know by commenting, liking and/or sharing it. And if you have any questions about Bullet Journals that you’d like to ask, or posts you’d like me to do, feel free to comment or drop me a message via social media!

How to Start a Bullet Journal

18 Comments

  1. 29th December 2016 / 12:03 am

    Ahhh I’ve heard about these and wanted to know more, great post! This sounds exactly what I need in my life right now… already planning a Paperchase haul after tomorrow’s run to plan some goals and get a new blogging notebook. Perfect timing!

    • Georgina Spenceley
      5th January 2017 / 3:57 pm

      Thanks Tess! I really do love mine – I’ve had a Filofax for years but never had a system that really worked for me and kept me going into it every day but this is really doing the trick! Hope you found a nice new notebook 🙂

  2. 29th December 2016 / 7:31 am

    Love this post. Thank you. I already have a Passion Planner for 2017 but will add some bullet journal principles to it

    • Georgina Spenceley
      5th January 2017 / 3:58 pm

      Thanks Laureen! Glad you found it helpful! The system is what bullet journal is all about and you can do it in any notebook really so the passion planner will be great I’m sure!

  3. 29th December 2016 / 8:52 am

    This sounds ace! I think I’ll have to try it but not get too distracted by making it look pretty haha!

    • Georgina Spenceley
      5th January 2017 / 3:59 pm

      Thanks Ellie! Yeah, I like to make mine as pretty and colourful as possible as that’s part of what keeps me wanting to go back to it every day (drawing and adding colour are like my daily wind-down!) but it’s totally not a requirement of a bullet journal!

  4. 29th December 2016 / 10:25 am

    How long do you spend on this? It looks amazing and really appeals to me, but it seems like something that could take up an awful lot of time (that I don’t have..)

    • Georgina Spenceley
      5th January 2017 / 4:01 pm

      I would probably spend less than 5 minutes doing my daily plan for the next day, maybe 10-15 doing my weekly, and probably about 20-30 mins doing my monthly spread and migration but that’s partly because I also have a tracker, highlights page, etc. that you don’t need to have! It can take as much or as little time as you need/want really but the time has saved me so much dithering time trying to remember everything I need to do, or collating all my separate to-do lists and post-it notes!

  5. 29th December 2016 / 10:14 pm

    I love how you set yours up! I tried and failed miserably and hopping on the Bullet Journal train, but might try it again

    • Georgina Spenceley
      5th January 2017 / 4:21 pm

      Thanks Kayla! What about it didn’t work for you? You can change it up how you like and use what makes sense for you!

  6. 30th December 2016 / 12:59 am

    Thank you for breaking it down like this. I keep hearing about bullet journaling but had no idea what it was. I’m a bit of a planner freak – always looking for ideas to be better organized!

    • Georgina Spenceley
      5th January 2017 / 4:22 pm

      Thanks Michelle – glad you liked the post! Nice to meet fellow planner freaks 🙂

  7. 30th December 2016 / 1:50 pm

    Wow, you seem to be so organised! I like the idea of having everything in one place. At the moment I have my plans and checklists everywhere – online and offline, so I definitely need a better system! I will refer to this post once I find some time to organise myself properly, thanks for the tips!

    • Georgina Spenceley
      5th January 2017 / 4:24 pm

      Thanks Petra! It helps so much having everything in one place! The only thing I keep separate is my day job. You can definitely keep your online lists too – I use Trello as well, and the Apple shared calendars. So glad you’ve found the post useful!

  8. 4th January 2017 / 11:43 pm

    I’ve heard so much about bullet journal but haven’t read or looked into it at all until this post! I like how you explained it all so simply. Is this just a blank journal then that you write out everything based on layouts you find? It seems to be an enclosed bound book already that’s why I ask so I wasn’t sure how you get the design/layout of the pages.

    I followed your board to remember to try this in the future! Love the colors!

    Also do you have any great reading books you’d recommend since you mentioned a reading list???

    • Georgina Spenceley
      5th January 2017 / 4:31 pm

      Thanks Caroline! I use a dotted Leuchtturm 1917 notebook as it helps me draw straight lines when I don’t have my ruler and it keeps things consistently sized. I’ll be sharing the exact notebook I use in another post soon! And my layouts are a combination of inspiration I’ve found from online and shaping them to what works for me.

      As for books, I love self-help books like The Chimp Paradox and Happiness By Design. Maybe I’ll do a post on my recommendations 🙂

  9. Kim hawkins
    6th January 2017 / 10:08 pm

    Thank you for posting this. You’ve inspired me and I immediately purchased the necessary bits to start. My deliveries have arrived, I’ve been planning layouts and will get started tomorrow!
    I’m looking forward to a more organised me!
    Thank you.

    • Georgina Spenceley
      17th January 2017 / 4:21 pm

      That’s so great to hear! Hope you’re getting on well with it!

What do you think?