Bullet Journaling Part 1: An Introduction

A bullet journal is a personalized system for organizing your lists, ideas, thoughts, to do’s, goals, and more in one single place. It’s a notebook that revolves around the idea of making your life easier.

Over the next 2 weeks, I’ll dive into this this system that changed how I organize my own life. This week, I’ll explain the basics and next week I’ll give you an insider look at my own bullet journal.

Let’s get started!

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Below are some of the big questions I wish someone answered for me when I first heard about the bullet journal. The answers you see are based on what I discovered works best for me after more than a year worth of trial and error.

WHAT NOTEBOOK DO I USE?

While you can use any notebook you want, most people use one with dotted pages. I personally use the Extra Large Dotted Moleskin notebook you see below. I like that I can fit so much on each page, it fits in my purse, it’s lightweight, the dots serve as an easy guide when I’m trying to draw straight lines, and the soft cover allows me to fold the notebook in half. The Leuchtrurm 1917 and The Bullet Journal from the creator of the system seem to be the 2 other very popular options.

Notebook

DO I NEED AN INDEX?

Many people use an index, but I don’t find this 100% necessary. I do however have one just in case there are important pages that I like to return to time after time. My index features page numbers on the left and what you’ll find on those pages on the right. 

DO I NEED PAGE NUMBERS?

While I don’t think pages numbers are necessary, I’ve learned that they are helpful for me. Much like the index, page numbers make finding specific pages much easier. (If the idea of writing a number on 100+ pages seems intimidating to you, I’ll tell you that i just did this in a new notebook and it took me about 3 minutes. It’s worth it, I promise.)

DO I NEED A KEY?

A lot of people have complex keys for keeping track of things specific items in their notebook, I don’t. I use 3 different symbols: done, moved, and events. You can see these below:

Key

DO I NEED FANCY PENS?

Not at all. You can use any pens you want. I personally enjoy using different color pens as you can see below. These make my notebook brighter, but you’ll notice they aren’t too fancy. I would suggest experimenting with a few different pens to see which works best because some ink bleeds through. 

Pens

DO I NEED ANY SPECIFIC SUPPLIES?

Nope! Aside from my notebook, the only thing I use each week is something called washi tape.  I purchased the 10 rolls pictured below for less than $7.00 on Amazon. They’re just an easy and colorful way to set up my weekly spread (which you will see next week!).

Washi tape

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW?

The most important thing to remember is that this notebook is all about you. You can make it as complex or as simple as you want. You can and should experiment constantly. What works for you one week may not work the next and that’s perfectly fine. The blank pages of your notebook are for you to fill and play around with however you want. It took me about 8 months to finally get to a monthly and weekly set up that I like, but it still changes from time to time depending on what I need.

WHAT DO I DO NEXT?

  1. Decide on which notebook to use. Remember, you can use any notebook you want if you don’t want to commit to this system just yet.
  2. Compile a list of things you might want to keep track of in your notebook. For me, this includes habits, a calendar, my budget, goals, and most importantly, my to-do list. If you aren’t sure what you want to include yet, definitely join me for next week’s article. In the meantime, you can search “bullet journal” on Google, Pinterest, or Instagram and you will get TONS of results. (Just remember: don’t be intimidated by the calligraphy and intricate designs people have in their notebooks. That is not the point of this system!)
  3. If you aren’t sure you understand bullet journaling just yet, I suggest scrolling through Buzzfeed’s article WTF is a Bullet Journal and Why Should You Start One? An Explainer and learning from the man who created this system himself, Ryder Caroll at BulletJournal.com and in this video.  
  4. Check out my Instagram this week for some additional tips and more importantly, join me next week as I show you the pages of my own Bullet Journal!

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Do you have any questions after this week’s post? Is there something you would like me to include next week? If so, be sure to comment below, reach out to me on Instagram or Twitter, or send me an email at withcheryl.co@gmail.com. I’d be more than happy to help!

 

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