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10 Tips on Starting a Bullet Journal

Writers and editors tend to be very scatterbrained. They handle multiple projects, hatch a lot of ideas, and juggle day-to-day living. They try to keep up with everything they have to do using dozens of sticky notes, planners, journals, and jotters.

Bullet journaling is a note-taking system which, as the name suggests, uses bullets as its core structure. This system is ideal for people who have lots of to-do lists, are looking to be more organized, like pen-and-paper planning, and/or are into visual goal setting. Bullet journaling combines your to-do lists, planner, journal, and diary all in one handy notebook. There are a lot of resources online that will teach you the parts and the process of creating a bullet journal, and here are 10 tips to help you get started.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the terminology


Bullet journaling uses some fancy terms that are easy enough to understand once you get used to the process. Here are some of them:

Index – a table of contents which you consistently update

Daily log – day-to-day to-do lists, journal entries, any ideas you want to take note of as reminders

Rapid logging – symbols/bullets that help you keep track of your reminders

Future log – a year-at-a-glance calendar where you take note of your plans for the year

Modules – big things that you wish to keep track of over time such as reading lists, finances, and meal plans

Once you’re familiar with the terms, it’ll be easy enough to use them as your progress with creating and using your journal.

  1. Look online for inspiration

suspicious secretary did found something on her l

The popularity of bullet journaling is continuing to grow. Go to Pinterest for inspiration on layouts, keys/symbols, journal prompts, doodles, and more. Other users even pin drawing/calligraphy tutorials, and guides specifically made for improving bullet journals. You can also track the #bujo, #bulletjournal, and #bulletjournaljunkie tags on Instagram for more ideas.

  1. Choose your journal wisely


Remember that by having a bullet journal, you are committing yourself to consistently using, writing on, drawing in, and/or updating it, not how heavy your handwriting is, how thick the pens you plan to use are, and how much illustrating you plan to do when choosing your journal’s paper quality and lines (or lack thereof). Use a journal that is ideal enough for you in terms of material, size, thickness, weight, durability, etc.

  1. Keep your notes short


The core of bullet journaling is to eliminate the use of long sentences by creating an itemized list of thoughts. This is what is referred to as “rapid logging.” Use different symbols as bullets to identify events, reminders, ideas, or other things you can categorize, which you can track later on. You can also use your rapid logs to create full journal/diary entries later on.

  1. Number the pages


Page numbering is an easy way to keep track of the thoughts you jot in your bullet journal. This also allows you to insert modules in between daily log pages. Moreover, without page numbers your index will be useless.

  1. Take as much time as you want to


You can devote as little or as much time to creating and updating your bullet journal as you want to. Bullet journaling is first and foremost a note-taking system, but if you’re the type of person who likes stationery, planners, scrapbooks, and the like, bullet journaling may be therapeutic for you as well.

  1. Organize not only your notes, but also your tools

set goal, make plan, work, stick to it, reach concept presented on blackboard with color notes and white chalk

Keep your pens, sticky notes, markers, and other tools somewhere near your journal. It’s also ideal to set aside some time to update or improve your journal. Some bullet journalers even create caddies for their materials.

  1. Use a simple and easy-to-remember key

Writing Tools

Your key is crucial in keeping track of the notes you jot down in your bullet journal. You can use symbols such as an open circle for event, a shaded circle for a to-do, a dash for a random thought, and more. You can also color-code your notes to mark which ones are for school, for work, for home, or for personal improvement. Use simple symbols that are easy enough to remember.

  1. Add as many modules as you want

Stack of documents with clips

Use your bullet journal to help you keep track of both short-term tasks and long-term goals. Keeping a module of your goals in your bullet journal keeps them in plain sight, making it easier for you to remember and continue working on them.

  1. Keep it as simple or as complicated as you wish


Don’t overthink the things that you put in your bullet journal. You can make your rapid log symbol straightforward and have minimal modules, but you can also create an elaborate system that only you can understand. There is no one way to create a bullet journal. As long as it helps you organize, then you’re doing it right.



**Disclaimer: Image is not ours. Credit to their respective owners.

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