Bullet Journaling : A Crash Course
Bullet journaling. Maybe you've heard about it, maybe you already have one or maybe this is the first time you're coming across one. Whatever the case may be, get comfy, because here comes your no BS crash course in bullet journaling taught by yours truly.
When I first looked into bullet journals, I was extremely intimidated and quite frankly, turned off by the idea. I saw everything from elaborate charts to picture perfect headers on top of each page. To put it kindly; I just really didn't understand. Now, I swear by my little fancy notebook. So, my hope is that once you've read this post you'll get what you need out of it and maybe, just maybe, even create your very own bullet journal.
Okay, so lets get down to the bare bones here: Bullet journaling is a journal system used to most efficiently organize and manage your life. With that being said, there isn't really a wrong way to bullet journal unless of course your method isn't working for you.
First check out the original bullet journal video. This will give you an overview of what the creator intended the bullet journal to be. Don't feel bad if this video was a little confusing. I literally watched it, paused it and replayed it maybe five times.
After watching and interpreting the first video I watched 2017 Bullet Journal Flip Through by blogger Miss Louie. Honestly, I came across this accidentally simply by forgetting to press pause before the next youtube video began, but hey, it ended up working out really well.
So I based my bullet journal heavily off of Miss Louie's for a number of reasons. The first being that I didn't want to spend my entire life looking through copious amounts of youtube videos and blogs to decide what exactly to put in my journal. The second being that I liked her style and almost everything she fit into her bullet journal worked really well for my lifestyle.
You can omit or add whatever pages you want, and the beauty of all of this is that if you try something one week or one month, and you realize that hey, this really isn't working for me, you can try something else all together.
First, you'll need a journal. I feel like everyone and their mother has created some form of this journal, so it shouldn't be too hard to find one.The dotted journals are best, but you can also use a grid notebook or even a lined notebook (I've heard works). I use a x-large (7.5x9.5) Moleskine but the pages can be a little thin so I might switch to the Leuchtturm1917 notebook in a comparable size.
The Leuchtturm notebooks can be found on their home page, or amazon. They literally say "bullet journal" on the front so you know it will be what you need. Typically, bullet journals are around a 5x7 size notebook. I write a lot and really big so I chose a bigger size (7.5x9.5). This size has really worked for me, but it is harder to carry around in my tiny Kate Spade backpack (but it's Kate Spade so I make it work).
Next are the pens. You can literally use any pen you want. The possibilities on pen choices are endless. I've found that this papermate pack you can get at Walgreens, Target or Amazon and these microline pens are the best because they don't bleed through.
So you've got your notebook and whatever pens you want and you're good to go. I don't have washi tape, I don't have sparkles and glitter and charms and stickers and whatever else you can think of that you could dress up your notebook with, but the possibilities can be endless.
Now we can get into my bullet journal.
1. Start with your Index, that way you can easily find any page you're looking for. I made my index three pages but I could have really made it two.
2. Key and Goals. Goals are broken down into three categories.
a. What are your goals for 2017?
b. What is your deadline for these goals?
c. Who is going to hold you accountable for finishing them?
3. Then we go into the future log. This is basically the entire year on four pages. You can break this down however you'd like, just make sure you give yourself room to write important dates that will be coming up in the future.
4. Next I added a level 10 life bar. This is a great way to check in with yourself at the end of each month and refelct on where you're at with overall goals. Each bar has a question attached to it. When I feel like I can answer the question as YES, I color in and level up!
I have 10 bars on mine including:
a. Family and Friends- Did you pour love into those you love?
b. Personal Development- Ditched a negative habit for a positive one?
c. Spirituality-Have you connected with your higher power/consistently expressed your gratitude?
d. Finances- Saved at least $300 this month?
e. Relationship- Spent quality time with Chris?
f. Manuscript- How are those plot cards coming along?
g. Giving- Have you given back this month?
h. Sunday Dinners- Did you have some Sunday Dinners with friends and family?
i. Fun//Recreation- Did you give yourself some time to have fun this month?
Each one of these bars represents an aspect of life that I value the most. Feel free to change these up, or not use this page at all if it doesn't work for you.
On the left there you will see my 2017 "deep cut" goals. These are more habits than goals. I've split them up into three categories- body mind and work. For example, in the mind category I wrote my mantra "you are enough, you are capable and you are worthy of being loved."
5. Next is my Social Media schedule. This is basically a future log for your SM posts. I didn't take a picture because I've literally never written anything on it. I'm hoping to make it a habit sooner rather than later.
6. Next I have my "Why " page and my 1mo-5year goal planner. This is SO important. I check in on this every month to make sure I'm on track. You are more than twice as likely to hit a goal if you simply write it down... so write your goals and put them somewhere you ALWAYS look!
My "why" is kind of an interesting concept so let me explain for those who've never heard of a "why" before. Your "why" is whatever it is that drives you to succeed. What is the reason for doing whatever it takes to succeed?
For me, that's being able to influence lives in a positive light.
The next question you ask is: What excites you?
For me, this is writing and creating things.
You've got to do some digging to answer these questions and if you don't have an answer off the bat, that is OKAY! If your answers change, that is OKAY! Do not doubt that you will find your answers. Sometimes, it just takes some meditation and time.
7. Level 10 Reader. This is much like diversity bingo if you've ever heard of that. I want to make sure I'm keeping myself in check with my reading and expanding my horizons. This has the same premise of my "Level 10 Life" , The categories for this include:
b. Business/Self Help
c. Contemporary Adult Fiction
g. Diverse MC
i. Graphic Novel
j. Author of different race
k. Disabled Character
l. Non-American Setting
Of course, there are SO many more categories. If you choose to do this, I'd suggest checking out the "diversity bingo" sheet for inspiration.
On the left there are 10 rules to live by for a positive life. It was an article from the Huffington Post I found and really loved so I added it in.
8. The next few pages are self explanatory so I didn't take pictures, but here are the titles on the top of the page:
b. Project List (these are ongoing projects like fixing up my dad's truck)
c. Brands- either ones I love or ones that have been suggested to me.
d. Recipes and Snacks- also, ones I love/ones that have been suggested to me
I am a quote freak. I underline the crap out of my books and I come across quotes all the time that really resonate with me, so I have four pages dedicated to quotes I've heard, read, or seen.
10. My next page is ideas. Typically this is about stories I want to write and potential gifts for my friends and family, but your ideas can be about anything at all.
11. Next we have my collection of lists. This includes everything from date ideas to recommendations on books, movies etc. On the right hand side of the page I have my book borrow list. As you know, or even if you don't I have quite a selection of books and I love sharing them, but I also love getting them back. The book Borrow allows me to remember to ask for them back.
12. The Lunar Calendar is something I've always found helpful. At the bottom I have a notes section in case there is something in particular I'd like to remember. As you can see, I messed up on one page so I had to rip it out. That's the beauty of these journals though- you don't like something? Tear that f*cker out and start over!
HURRAY! You've gotten through all of the fancy stuff and now we are getting into the nitty gritty calendar work. Now, you might be saying, WAIT! What if there's some fancy stuff I want to add but I've already started doing my daily calendar stuff???
Here's what you do:
1. Turn to the next blank page
2. Number tha page
3. Title that page
4. Add that page to your index.
Now, back to calendars. I've played a lot with my daily scheduler, and I'll talk more about that in a minute. But I. wanted to break it down really quickly. Basically I break it down like this:
Month at a Glance
I put the entire month on two pages. Below the calendar I have my habit tracker. On the right, you can see I have a monthly tarot, goals for the month and an action plan. Below that I have events and appointments, reminders, a reflection on the past month/checkin on my goals. I also take time to reflect on 3 areas of growth and 3 mindset boosters.
The color coding is my way of identifying what type of activity I have. For example, yellow is work and red is school. On those days, I am pretty drained of energy so I know I shouldn't plan anything extra for that day.
Each moth, I draw dates from my future log and input those first. Then, I add everything else. The habit tracker is great for daily check in. my habits include: writing, 7 hours of sleep, gym, meditation, gratitude, reading, 8 glasses of water, and From Book to Pen post.
Week at a Glance
My week at a glance is one page that highlights everything I need to know about the coming week. At the top, I put three of my weekly priorities. If I have any more than three, I'll never accomplish them. Then, I have my to-do. This is where I put every action item I have so that I don't have things cluttering my brain. To the left I have my money tracker. Anything I charge credit/debit card get's written and deducted here. Then I have my planned means for the week followed by a grocery list and a writing tracker.
So, on the left there you see I've divided the page into two days. I've found having a whole page for one day was too much space. At the top, I have the date, month and day. Then I have the weather (for proper dressing purposes) and my mood. Below that I've broken up the day into hours (on the left)/. This is where I add my appointments or scheduled items. To the right I have my 3 daily objectives, water intake, writing tracker, homework and notes section.
After my weekly, I have a notes section for notes that I've accumulated throughout the week. You could probably get away without one, but it's helpful for me since I am a student.
So, there you have it! The epic awesome bullet journal. I've found it to be incredibly helpful in accountability and goal setting for my writing and reading! Not to mention remembering appointments!
I'll be hosting a mini bullet journal workshop on Thursday May 25th in Palo Alto. IF you're interested or have any questions on this post, please feel free to reach out:)