Bullet Journal: The Ultimate Guide on How to Get Started

On the official Bullet Journal site, it is said: “the analog method for the Digital Age”, “will transform your life, in more ways than you can imagine”, “it’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to”, and a lot of other beautiful and motivational phrases. So, what is the Bullet Journal? Is it something magical or just a useful tool that will help in your daily life? We stick to the second option. In this article, we want to go deeper into how this system works, who is the inventor, and what you need to do to start. Let’s start from the beginning!

Bullet Journal: Organize Your Daily Tasks 

bullet journal and a cup of coffee

Bullet Journal is no more than a method to keep all your tasks, scheduling, to-do lists, brainstorming results, and so on in one single place. It can be a notebook or an application. By the way, if after reading our post, you decide to download one, please, make an overview of the “10 Mobile Apps For Bullet Journaling” article written by Amy. There she discussed her most loved applications for this activity. 

Bullet Journaling as an organizational method was first shared with the public in 2013 by Ryder Caroll. And it has a pretty interesting story. Initially, Caroll aimed to find the best solution to organize his personal tasks during his college  years in the late 1990s. As Ryder was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, he had a lot of problems with remembering things. The solution was a Bullet Journal method. Caroll would not have shared his own system, if not for friends who saw the effectiveness of his system and persuaded him to tell other people about it in 2013. The result was not long in coming:

  • Huge attention on social media from different people;
  • A successful Kickstarter program which allowed to collect $80 000 for creating a centralized online community;
  • A lot of publications in popular media. 

By December 2018, there were more than 3 million posts on Instagram. In 2017, Ryder was invited to speak on TED and tell more about the method. Now, there is an official site dedicated to Bullet Journaling, the applications, and thousands of YouTube videos. Let’s talk about the core method’s principles in the next section. 

Bullet Journal: What Does It Consist Of? 

bullet journal image

Although we mentioned that there is a large number of different applications for Bullet Journal, besides the official one, the very first principle was to write everything in the notebook. The core method’s parts are”

  • An index;
  • Rapid logging;
  • Logs;
  • Collections;
  • Migration. 

Do not worry, we will consider each part in detail. The first one is the index. It is like content for the book. Due to the index, you can quickly find the page where your information is located. Rapid logging are special symbols to define repeated parts. For example, you can decide that the page tagged with the sun is about events, and with an apple symbol — about food and nutrition. In order not to get confused, transfer them all to the page immediately after the content.

Logs are your to-do lists that can be divided into days, months, weeks, or years. Collections are the main part of your Bullet Journal. They allow organizing all your information by content, like trackers, logs, etc. By the way, trackers can also be divided into categories:

  • Fitness;
  • Habit;
  • Mood;
  • Nutrition;
  • Places to visit, and so on. 

Due to the migration phase, you need to review all your tasks and lists, analyze the progress, and update the lists. As such, you become more productive.

Bullet Journal: How to Start?

starting the bullet journal

To start your first Bullet Journal, you do not need so many resources: only a blank notebook, a pencil, and a strong desire to do it. Already have one? So, the next step is as Caroll said: "The best way to get started is to figure out what your challenges are”. In other words, ask yourself: “Why do I want Bullet Journaling? How will it help me?” Once you get an answer, you can start. 

Actually, there are no strict rules on how to Bullet Journaling. The method is more about your own goals and flexible format. But if you are a little bit stuck, here are some useful recommendations:

  • Write and prioritize your monthly goals;
  • Use rapid logging (transform long sentences in short and readable phrases);
  • Create indexes on the first page. 

Although there is a lot of freedom and no frames, for newcomers, Caroll recommends to use the following symbol:

  • • for tasks;
  • O for events;
  •  — for different kinds of notes, like ideas and facts;
  • * for prioritized tasks;
  • ! for inspiration. 

Feel free to grab these symbols and put into your notebook! Also, remember that you are not required to start journaling at the beginning of the year, month, week. It only depends on you! Want to start today? Okay, it is the best time! Want to start tomorrow? It is also the best time!

Bullet Journal: Personal Experience

When I started to write this blog post, I watched dozens of different YouTube videos, read thousands of articles and tutorials. That is why I decided that it would not be fair to tell you what a great method this is for your organizing your daily tasks, but not to try it myself. So, over the past two months, I have been keeping my Bullet Journal. Here are my impressions. 

In the beginning, it was very hard to start. I used to forget to write down the tasks and monitor their implementation. Therefore, I started to set alarms that would remind me to do it. After one week, I started to get used to my notebook and the tasks in it, became more creative, started to stick different stickers and write to myself wishes for the day. As a result, I became significantly more productive and did even those tasks that I constantly put off for later! My recommendation is to try this method!

Ready To Start? 

Above I shared my experience on Bullet Journaling. Now, I want you to share your impressions. Even if you hear about this method first, tell us how do you like it? Is there a desire to try? And if you already have such a notebook, then share your tips! It’ll be a great read!. Waiting for your comments in the box below.

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