Who here is on the Bullet Journal train? Anyone?
I started the whole bullet journal life back in November, and let me just say, it's changed my life. No doubt you're over there being like "Seriously Niv? A journal changed your life?" and it's true! But what's really legit is that it changed my life in ways I didn't really expect it to.
So first things first, let's talk about what a Bullet Journal even is. It's pretty hyped right now, and not going to lie, I'm totally on the #BuJo train, particularly on Instagram. It's hard not to follow all those pretty designs and layouts! But fundamentally, a bullet journal is just a notebook. HA! It starts with a blank notebook that can accommodate almost anything and everything you could need or want in a planner because... YOU create it! You decide what goes in it, you can create calendars and to-do lists, use it as a diary, a spot to brainstorm, or write down your hopes and dreams.
If you're anything like me, or my sister, or some of my very good friends, you maybe have bought planners over the years fully intending to use them and then realizing you didn't like the format or you couldn't make yourself do it because your life is "too" digital, blah blah blah. I was one of those people! Until I meant my dear ol' #BuJo.
For me, the reason I find the bullet journal system works so well is that it SLOWS ME DOWN. I don't know if its because I'm an Aries, and we're all about that "go go go" life, or if its just because I'm a workaholic. But I realized when doing my end of year reflection that I forgot a lot about the previous year. I forgot events I had planned and executed, books I had read, places I had been. All sorts of things. And not in an "I'm getting old" kind of way, but more along the lines of I was so busy, I just kept moving right on to the next thing without internalizing and mentally committing something to my memory. And that was not good. And not something I want for my life.
The other reason I find it so great is that it's opened me up to putting pen to paper in a number of ways I hadn't done in a long time. I'm coloring again because I like to make my #BuJo pretty. I'm writing in cursive again, albeit poorly, which I thought I'd forgotten how to do. I'm journaling, like in the dairy sense, which I haven't done in years. But it's really nice to go back and read my reflections from a, particularly crazy week. I've gotten back in touch with my creative side, which has helped me tremendously at work in the 3 short months I've been doing it. And I find myself looking forward to setting up my weekly layout and looking at what's coming down the pipeline.
Now to get more tactical and give real examples, because frankly, that's usually what I want from a blog post, let's talk about what spreads and lists and layouts I have in mine.
- The Index
- Places I've Been & Want to Go List
- Book I've Read & Books To Read List
- Let's Eat That Again List
- Workout Tracker
- Monthly Spreads
- Weekly Spreads
- Brainstorm Pages
- Weekly Reflection Pages
- To Do Lists
Fundamentally, all you need to get started is a journal, and to create an index, a monthly spread, and a weekly spread. Some people use it on a daily basis to track their hourly schedule or a task of to do's, but I find that to be to detail oriented for what I need. And then all the other things on that list are what make my #BuJo mine - things that I find interesting, important, helpful or useful in my day to day. I even have a list and mindmap for this blog in my #BuJo!
Speaking of spreads and layouts, some of the terminologies might be confusing. Rather than trying to describe it all, I'm going to link you to the easiest and fastest way to get the low-down on Bullet Journaling 101, by the original bullet journal folks. But the main things you need to know to join the movement are the following:
The Index - Where you keep track of things in your journal by page #
Spreads - A fancy way of saying layouts across 2 pages
Rapid Logging - A way to quickly note down tasks, events, deadlines, etc. using icons and short phases vs. whole sentences (for example - I use tick boxes for to-do's and then put a check mark in it when I've completed it.)
The rest is up to you to create and use based off what works best for YOU!
If you're looking for inspiration, here are some of my favorite #BuJo Instagram accounts and articles on how to get started:
NOTE: Please don't get overwhelmed or decide not to try because all of the photos of #BuJo's online are perfect and pretty. I intentionally shared photos of mine because it's NOT perfect, but it's real You do you!