In a world that is becoming increasingly digital and going really fast, it is becoming ever harder to keep track of your life.
“WHAT?” I hear you say! “I have a diary and a calendar on my phone, together with a time management system, a list of my favourite groceries on the local supermarket site, a reminder set up for things like feeding the dog and picking up the laundry and an emergency system set up for child care / elder care / pet care / watering the garden if I can’t be there. I also have a set of sticky notes on my computer screen to keep track of those important one off items. What more do I need?”
But is all of that together? Is it in one place, where you can easily access it and see EVERYTHING in one place?
Maybe digital isn’t always the best, unless you have something very complex (and expensive) created especially for you and even then it might not suit you or be flexible enough to cope with changes.
The Bullet Journal is described as a type of analog system: that is, it is NOT digital. It’s a journal that YOU design for YOU. It can track your past, organize your present and then plan well for your personal future. The system allows you to keep records on everything that is important to you in your life. You can use your journal for the purpose of an idea catcher, task manager, sketchbook journal and so much more. You can be as scientific or artistic, logical, minimalist, or whimsical doodler as you wish, with different styles for different things at different times.
Take a look at a bullet journal being created.
What You Will Need To Get Started On Your Own Bullet Journal
The first aspect you will need to consider is why you are motivated to start a Bullet Journal. The majority of those who use a Bullet Journal do so because the system is flexible and allows them to operate the journal the way they like to work and because they see a system that will help them achieve what they most want.
It is for this reason that you should think about how you would like this system to work in your life before you begin. You also need to think about how you will access your journal. I keep mine at home on my desk but I am there a lot of the time, so I use a large A4 size journal. You may be out and about a lot, at work, taking photographs, travelling, or just out chatting, in which case you may prefer something smaller, that you can pop in a pocket or a bag. It needs to be something that will work for YOU and YOUR lifestyle, needs and wants. Below are some tips to get you started.
To be honest just about any pen or notebook will suffice. My preference is for plain paper but if you would like to start with a journal that is already set-up with an Index and the page numbers, a good choice would be the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook. This notebook features an archival quality that allows you to keep what you have entered into the notebook safe and the writing doesn’t usually show through onto the other side (but you can use a page near the back to check all your pens, to see). The pages have a grid of dots on them, so you can draw straight lines, both horizontally and vertically if that is important to you but there is also plenty of space without feeling constrained by ready-printed lines.
The only other tool you need is a pen (or even a pencil). Many people like to use gel pens or colored pencils, some even use water color paints! But to start out, you only need a pen. You may also like to get some washi tape which is an attractive self adhesive product that you can use to decorate your pages or stick things in with.
How to Start
One good way to view a Bullet Journal is to think of it as a framework that you can move around and change to suit you, to help you organize your present and plan for your future, as well as motivate you to add or remove habits you want to change and helping you create a vision of things you want to do. For instance, you might want to lose weight, get more exercise, plan a holiday, or a bathroom remodel, learn a language, plan for a mountain climbing expedition or design a new gizmo. The framework uses modules and these modules are the methods that help you organize the different areas of your life, as well as keep your ideas for your next novel, scientific project, personal achievements or great painting. One of the advantages to a Bullet Journal will be that you can mix and match modules that will suit your needs and design or get ideas for keeping up your motivation. The four main modules suggested for beginners include your Index, Your Future Log, Your Monthly Log and Your Daily Log.
Dedicate the first 3 to 4 pages of your journal to your Index. As you begin to use the journal add topics into your Collections with the page number in your Index. In this way you can easily find and reference any topic.
The Future Log
This particular Collection can be used to store your items that are scheduled for a year or months in advance, or perhaps things you would like to tackle one day. The Future Log can be set up by graphing pages according to the number of months you need. For example 2 equally-spaced lines that run in a horizontal line across two facing pages can be used to create a 6 month calendar.
The Monthly Log
This log assists you in organizing one month at a time. To set up this log use two facing pages. The left hand side page will be called the Calendar page while the Right will be your Task page. Use the left hand side to number all the days in the month and the right hand side to schedule your tasks and events for those days.
The Daily Log
This log is for day-to-day use. The top of a page can feature a date. Throughout the day log Tasks, Events or Notes as they arise. Try not to set up Daily Logs to far into the future, but rather create them as the day progresses.
This gives you a start on creating your own bullet journal. I hope you enjoy setting it up and using it.