What is a bullet journal?
A bullet journal is a customizable, organisational system. It is a diary, notebook, to do list, planner, sketchbook… whatever you need and want it to be. It is all about doing more with less and keeping all of your important information and ideas in one place.
There are some fantastic notebooks out there which are designed specifically for bullet journalling but you can use whatever works best for you. Some people prefer dotted or squared pages. At the moment I am just using an ordinary lined notebook.
The idea is that you design your own pages so that they suit your needs. There are lots of ideas on how to do this online and Instagram and Pinterest are great to get ideas.
Why bullet journal?
Using a plain notebook instead of a traditional diary or planner with a predesigned layout means that you can choose a layout that suits you. It also means that you can allocate the space you need for the things you need it for. There are some pages in mine that I have spent lots of time on to make them look beautiful, some that are plain but full of important information, others that are just a space for me to record something special or be creative. When I first started I wanted to make every page as beautiful and neat as I could but as time has passed I have embraced the fact that it is my journal and I don’t need to worry about how it looks as long as it works for me. With a diary or planner I always used to feel bad if I didn’t use it for weeks on end and left lots of empty, blank pages. With my bullet journal it doesn’t matter if I miss a week or two – I just pick up on the next page as if nothing ever happened!
I love the fact that everything is together in my journal, no longer do I have a separate diary, to do list, meal planner etc. it is all in one handy place that I can just toss in my bag and take with me.
What does my bullet journal look like?
Here are some pictures of my journal, ask anyone who bullet journals though and they will tell you that no two journals are the same. Mine will look completely different to other people’s and the layout I choose may not work for someone else, it’s all about finding what works best for you!
This is an example of a weekly layout in my journal. Many of my weekly spreads are a lot less ‘decorated’ than this though!
Here is my meal plan from last week, I like to add a shopping list when I am going to be making lots of new recipes as it helps me to remember what I need to buy and avoid making impulse purchases.
I also use my journal to help keep on top of the chores that I need to get done. This is an example of one of my chore checklists. It’s amazing how satisfying it is to colour in the little square once you have finished something that needed doing!
Another thing that I do in my bullet journal is set myself challenges. This one was based on eating as much food out of the cupboards as we could before buying more, to help clear out before we had our kitchen remodelled. (Which I also designed in my bullet journal!)
When I find time to relax I love to doodle in my journal. Usually something that makes me happy. This page was in reference to the fact that I love singing ‘You are my sunshine’ to Harry.
There are mistakes by the bucket load in my journal. Spelling errors, weeks with two Thursdays and no Wednesday.. you get the idea! I’ve learned to embrace them and not tear the whole page out like I used to.
Tips for getting started
- Make a contents page at the front of your journal and number your pages as you go. As your journal fills up you will find it difficult to keep track of where things are and this makes it so much faster and easier to find the page you need.
- Use a key. There are lots of good ideas for how to organise this. I use these symbols in my journal that I have taken from http://bulletjournal.com . This website is fantastic for anyone starting out and explains the idea of bullet journalling much better than I can!
- Have a yearly overview (like a calendar). Something simple that you can add future events on to if you haven’t made the monthly/weekly for that date yet!
- Check out Instagram and Pinterest for layout ideas! There’s also a fantastic Facebook group, Bullet Journal Junkies where the lovely members share their ideas and you can ask any questions you may have.
- Enjoy it. Don’t feel pressure to make your journal the most beautiful, don’t worry if you make a mistake and tear the page out. It is your journal and should help make life more organised and easy, not more stressful!
Do you use a bullet journal? If you have any fantastic tips for how you use yours to make life easier please share in the comments! Also, if you have any questions please ask and I’ll try and answer as best I can!