Recently I wrote a blog about the bullet journal which is a relatively new way to organise your life that has hit the UK. Bullet journaling has been big in the US for a couple of years and was the inspiration of Ryder Carroll who looked to create a new analogue system to organise tasks.
If you are a paper lover like me then this needed further investigation. Since the last blog I’ve found so many more people talking about how bullet journaling is revolutionising their daily lives and they love it.
What do you need to start off?
All you need is a notebook and a pen to start creating your bullet journal – Your notebook will become your “BuJo” so I will be referring to it as this going forward.
Before you begin creating your bullet journal and start the journey take a few minutes to look at the “official” Bullet Journal website so you can see the core structure behind the system.
Being a researcher at heart I have spent the last few weeks including my summer holiday by the pool looking at all the various ways to construct my bullet journal.
The feedback from the BuJo experts is that an A5 sized notebook is probably the right size for logging all your information however bear in mind the size if you are going to be carrying this around with you daily.
Looking how bullet journaling works, a dot grid or squared paper notebook suits the system and all the symbols you create. However I have seen lots of people using simple lined paper as well so if you just want to give this a try you can use a simple notebook and then as you get used to the system and like it move up to a more premium version of BuJo.
The paper quality does matter. Again the feedback from the groups is to have a weight and quality of paper that does not bleed ink through as you will be using concurrent pages and there is nothing worse when you see writing coming through from the previous page potentially ruining your layout.
BuJo Tip: I’ve spent time searching for the right notebook that suits a BuJo and have chosen the brand Nuuna notebooks to feature in our range of journals. Made and designed in Germany they have dot grid pages in 120g crisp white Swedish Munken paper. They are thread stitched so they lie flat and the designs are really gorgeous. These babies will become your new best friend.
How to start creating your bullet journal?
It’s taken me a while and lots of rough pages to work out what system I would like to use.
Naturally I am not a creative person and prefer a more process approach to my work so my layouts are quite simple. I also wanted to make it an easy quick update rather than spending hours on this making it look beautiful.
I have just started learning about brush calligraphy having attended a course run by the wonderful Ellen Waldren so there are a few bits of creative work but I hope to add more as time goes by.
The biggest challenge I have had hence why it’s taken me I have been trying to work through having one version which combines work and home. As yet not sure if this is going to work in my layouts so have focused more on using my BuJo for work tasks. Again a lot of other BuJo experts say it takes a few months to work through how you make it work for you and your layouts will evolve.
- The Key
This is where you create the symbols you want to use against your tasks.
I have started with the recommended symbols that Ryder suggested. I have also added a few extras to personalise it for my family as well as for repetitive tasks such as football training (FT)
There are some gorgeous images on creating a key page on Pinterest but I have kept mine quite simple. I have put this at the front of the BuJo and given it a double page spread (DPS) so I can add other symbols as I go through.
BuJo Tip: When you start logging tasks allow a bit of space to the left of the bullet so you can give it an added note such as priority, read or inspire
You can see how I have started my key below.
- The Index
The index is an important way for you to record the content and the pages of your BuJo. One of the key things you MUST do with your journal is to number your pages. You then transfer the page numbers onto your index. The pages may not always lead on from each other and so seem a bit scattered in the journal but if you have the pages numbered you can add them to the index at the back.
BuJo Tip: Putting the index at the back of your BuJo allows you to add to it more easily than at the front where you may get constrained by the other logged pages that you create
- The Future Log
This I set up across 2 DPS and transferred key dates from my main calendar such as birthdays, school holidays etc.
4. The Monthly Log
Having set up the future log I then created a DPS for my monthly log for September. The left page is the calendar page and the right page is the task page. I transfer any key dates or events from the future log onto this.
5. The Weekly Log
Now this is where it may get tricky. I personally like to see the week ahead so I can see at a glance the plan of action. For me I have personalised this weekly log into work related topics so it’s easier to see what needs doing. This weekly log will then form the basis for my daily log of the things I need to achieve that day. At the moment I’m not sure whether this will work as random logging of tasks needs to work on one or the other spreads so I may end up duplicating. Watch out for the next blog to find out how this develops.
That is where I have got to so far. I have to say its quite nerve racking starting out as you don’t want to make mistakes so for key pages I would practice layouts first. I am sure once I am into the monthly routine then it will flow more naturally and I won’t be a bag of nerves with a shaky pen.
And we’ve created a gift box specially for anyone wanting to try bullet journaling.
If you want to take a look at some of our other blogs on bullet journaling then here is a selection to click on.