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Bullet Journaling 101! Things to Know About Bullet Journaling Before You Get Started

In the age of digital planners and productivity apps, there's something deeply satisfying about putting pen to paper and organizing your life with a bullet journal. Created by Ryder Carroll, the bullet journaling system has taken the world by storm, offering a customizable and flexible method for tracking tasks, goals, and memories. If you're new to bullet journaling and eager to dive in, this guide will walk you through the basics, helping you embark on your journey to organized bliss.

What is Bullet Journaling?

At its core, bullet journaling is a method of organizing your life using a notebook and a system of symbols and structures. It's part planner, part journal, and part to-do list, allowing you to keep track of tasks, events, goals, and more—all in one place. The beauty of bullet journaling lies in its flexibility; you can customize it to suit your needs and preferences, making it as simple or as elaborate as you like.

Getting Started: The Essentials

1. Choose Your Tools: The only essential tools you need for bullet journaling are a notebook and a pen. Look for a notebook with dot grid or blank pages, as these provide more flexibility than traditional lined paper. You also want to aim for a notebook with high-quality paper, as that is less likely to bleed and will be more durable. Some great options are the Official Bullet Journal by Leuchtturm1917, Midori Notebooks, and the Stalogy 018 Editor's Series - 365 Days. All our official recommendations (that we currently carry) are in our Bullet Journaling Essentials collection. 

As for pens, opt for ones that won't bleed through the pages and feel comfortable to write with. The various notebooks we carry have high quality paper that are bleed resistant so that opens up your options for your perfect pen (or pens). Many fans of bullet journaling have multiple pens, typically one brush or larger tipped for headings/lettering, coloured pens for colour-coding, and fine tipped for writing. 

2. Set Up Your Journal: Start by numbering the pages of your notebook (if it does not come numbered) to create an index. This will help you keep track of your collections and reference them later. Then, designate a few pages for your key—a legend of symbols you'll use to denote tasks, events, notes, and more. If purchasing the official Bullet Journal by Leuchtturm1917 (or any Leuchtturm notebook), this step is not necessary.  

3. Create Collections: Bullet journaling revolves around collections—themed lists or spreads that help you organize different aspects of your life. Common collections include monthly calendars, habit trackers, to-do lists, goal pages, and gratitude logs. Feel free to get creative and tailor your collections to your own needs and interests.

The Bullet Journaling Method

Now that you've set up your journal, it's time to dive into the bullet journaling method itself. Here's a brief overview of how it works:
  • Rapid Logging: The heart of bullet journaling is rapid logging, a system of using short, bulleted entries to jot down tasks, events, and notes. Each entry starts with a bullet point, which you can then modify with symbols to indicate the task's status (e.g., a dot for a task, an "X" for completed, ">" for migrated to another day).
  • Migration: At the end of each day or month, review your tasks and decide whether to complete, migrate, or delete them. Migrating a task simply means moving it forward to another day or month if it's still relevant.
  • Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Logs: In addition to collections, you might bw interested to include monthly, weekly, and daily logs. These spreads help you plan and organize your time on different scales, from overarching goals for the month to daily to-do lists.

Tips for Success

  1. Keep It Simple: Bullet journaling can be as elaborate or minimalist as you like, but remember that simplicity often leads to greater effectiveness. Start with basic spreads and symbols, and add complexity as needed
  2. Consistency Is Key: Make a habit of reviewing and updating your bullet journal regularly. Set aside time each day or week to plan your tasks and events, migrate unfinished tasks, and reflect on your progress.
  3. Don't Be Afraid to Experiment: One of the joys of bullet journaling is the freedom to experiment and find what works best for you. Don't hesitate to try out new layouts, symbols, or collections until you find a system that feels intuitive and effective.

Final Thoughts

Bullet journaling is more than just a productivity tool—it's a creative outlet, a mindfulness practice, and a way to bring more intention and organization into your life. At the end of the day, the tips and steps don't matter. Bullet journaling is the freedom to express yourself and your life, however you please. Whether you're a seasoned planner or a complete beginner, you should embark on your journey to organized bliss with bullet journaling. Your future self will thank you for it 😉

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