What is Bullet Journaling?
So we’ve all heard of a journal before, but what exactly is a “Bullet” Journal? Think of a bullet journal as a multipurpose journal. It’s a notebook that can double as a planner, calendar, creative outlet, journal, to do list, vision board, and much more. When it comes down to it, you can incorporate anything into your bullet journal from art and penmanship to an archive of your receipts. Think of it as a customizable organizer tool for any and all aspects of your life. Moreover, the process of bullet journaling can be a really therapeutic and creative process. You can invest in a nice assortment of calligraphy pens, light a candle and make a cup of your favorite drink before you get started on planning, reflecting, journaling or whatever it is you need to do at the moment.
Why You Should Give Bullet Journaling a Try
Simply put, having a bullet journal is a great way to help organize your life and your thoughts. Keeping a bullet journal will help increase and maintain a higher level of self awareness, or a vision for the greater scheme of your life. It can also serve minute, day to day purposes as well, serving as a productivity management tool. A bullet journal is helpful in the way a planner is, except it also has a lot more room to incorporate aspects beyond planning. I personally love how it is a creative outlet in contrast to the tedious day to day tasks that I need to complete. Bullet journaling is also a great way to actively learn more about yourself and plan out your short term and long term goals in life— it also can help keep you inspired and motivated by tracking your progress throughout the way. It’s a great way to help you find a direction and also break it down into steps for you to follow. And for those of you out there who are sentimental, it can become a complete memento of your past for you to look back on in the future. It’s crazy how all of these things can come out of some paper and pen.
My Favorites and Recommendations for Bullet Journal Resources:
Over the years, I’ve used several different brands of journals with different styles from lined paper, to dotted paper, to blank paper. From these I’ve developed a few favorites for journal brands and pen brands that I think are perfect for journaling.
This line of classic Moleskine notebooks are a very popular option for bullet journaling and my personal favorite. I’ve been using them for years. They come in so many colors and have an option for dotted, squared, lined, and blank paper. I love these notebooks because they have great quality and are sturdy enough to last you over a year without falling apart. Moleskine is a classic brand for writers, artists and journalists and this line of notebook always sets the perfect vibe for me to bullet journal— it’s a great size, simplistic, and aesthetically different from all my other notebooks, making for a perfect option for a bullet journal: https://amzn.to/2PCAZeI
Leuchtturm 1917 offers several options of notebooks that are similar to moleskine notebooks but are a little shorter and wider in appearance. These notebooks are another quite popular choice for bullet journals as they are high quality, durable, and exist in a variety of options as well. Their paper is ink proof and includes a table of contents. They come in a wide range of pretty colors (almost every shade you can think of, but you might have to do some searching) have lined, dotted, numbered paper: https://amzn.to/2DyNKEx
This set of 8 black pens for art, lettering, and calligraphy that come in different sizes and strokes which makes it perfect for lettering. These pens are really helpful and satisfying to use for making calendars, weekly spreads, and other headers or titles: https://amzn.to/3iod5zS Another popular brand for art pens that work perfectly for bullet journaling is Faber Castell (these are the ones that I use): https://amzn.to/3a7e4RS
These pens are really similar to the lettering and calligraphy pen set listed above, but are colored instead and are double sided with a fine tip and a brush side. This is nice if you want to partially use your bullet journal as a creative outlet and would like to incorporate some design, calligraphy, and art in it or just a pop of color: https://amzn.to/3a5SbTa
While the previous option was a colored brush set, these are a set of fine Gel-Ink ballpoint pens in a range of colors. I love pens from Muji and find that they are the perfect set of pens for bullet journaling and are amazing quality as well: https://amzn.to/2DyL5uy
What You Can Incorporate in Your Journal
Ready to get started with your bullet journal? This section of the article is dedicated to detailing a few major components that you can incorporate daily, weekly, and monthly into your bullet journal.
For many, goal setting, goal tracking, and goal achieving is a primary purpose of bullet journaling. This can manifest in the form of a to-do list, a goal tracker, or a goals section right by a monthly calendar so you can visually see your goals every time you look at your calendar as a reminder. There are many ways you can personalize your bullet journal to help you set achievable goals and proceed to fulfilling them.
Planning and Organizing
Whether it’s planning your day, your week, your month or even a period longer than a year, a bullet journal can help you see the bigger the picture. Let’s begin with day to day planning. A popular idea for organizing your life in your bullet journal is to section it into months and then weeks. For example, for the upcoming month of September, you would start with a monthly calendar and then proceed to make weekly spreads (four in total for the month) that break down your plans, events, and tasks for each day of the week. That is one simple way to go about organizing, but you can always get creative and experiment to see what methods work well for you. Think outside of the box— you can even plan a four year plan, a ten year plan, whatever duration it is you choose. Nevertheless, planning in your bullet journal is a great way to help you visualize and organize your plans for the future.
This is where the “journal” aspect of Bullet journal comes in. You can dedicate a certain amount of pages or certain amount of time daily, weekly or monthly to gather your thoughts and write them down. This can be a really helpful tool for self awareness and reflection. It can help you take account of your mental and emotional state, track your progress, and help you recognize the need for any pivoting that you may need to do. Otherwise, it can also just be an outlet and method of expression just like any other journal you might have had.
Turn your bullet journal into a vision board! The lovely thing about bullet journals is that it’s blank slate and you can turn it into whatever you want that helps, motivates, or inspires you in anyway. Moreover, if you bullet journal becomes something you refer to often or plan to look at every day, including a few bits of inspiration — whether it is printing out your favorite Pinterest favorites or writing down quotes that resonate with you— can give you lots of motivation and clarity through your day, week, or month. Remember to get creative and personal your space to your liking!
A Parting Note on Bullet Journaling
My sister inspired me to start bullet journaling when I was a junior in high school. Ever since she was a child in elementary school she has been journaling so she was the first to advocate the importance of a life organization tool such as a bullet journal. You can find out more about her thoughts and experiences with bullet journaling in her YouTube video: //www.youtube.com/embed/gygI2zPvVus?wmode=transparent. I still remember the evening when I went to buy my first notebook (a seafoam green Moleskine lined notebook). It was winter break, and in a few weeks I would enter the busiest semester of my high school to date, and for that half year I consulted in my bullet journal every day to keep myself sane amidst the nonstop assignments, exams and deadlines. It’s amazing how far you can go with a blank notebook and a pen. For the rest of high school and college, I’ve continued to use my bullet journal to plan, inspire, and organize my life and it is an activity that I would recommend to anyone at any point in their lives. So go grab a fresh notebook (I’ve recommended a few above in the article) and get started!