so you want to bullet journal.


Bullet journaling has been in the spotlight for a while now and it's fame continues to be strong. I've been using this system since August last year, aka the month I started working, aka the month that I need to pretend like I have my shit together and I totally know what I'm doing. In short, bullet journaling helps me feel like I have my life together, even if it feels like everything is hanging by a thread sometimes. 

Let's back up a bit, what exactly is bullet journaling? Think of it as a personalised notebook version of a to-do list. If you look at the official bullet journal guide, it's all a bit daunting. I was put off of the system for months because of how technical the guide made it out to be. But it wasn't until I started using the system myself did I realise how flexible and personalised it could be.  Let's get onto the nitty gritty of this old fashioned analog system, shall we? 

Supplies: Notebook and a pen. That's it, that's literally all you need to start a bullet journal. Washi tape, highlighters, brush markers...some people like jazzing their bullet journals up a bit. It all depends on what you have and what style you're going for. I use the Leuchtturm 1917 Blank Notebook, but am definitely switching to the dotted grid version for my next bullet journal. 

As for pens, I tend to stick to the Muji gel pens in 0.5 in various colours (more on that in a bit) for actual journaling, a pencil (to pencil in the weekly layout), the Uni Pin Liner (for the layout), and the Pentel Fude Touch (for lettering and decoration).
I didn't include a annual layout when I started by bullet journal in August, but thought I'd add one in when 2017 came around. I don't use it much, to be honest, but it's a nice layout that took me an afternoon to make (aligning everything on a blank notebook is a lot harder than you'd think). 
Every month, I start with a monthly cover and a monthly overview, this includes the monthly calendar and a note box for this month and next. I use this as one would use a calendar, really. It's not rocket science. 

But this is where it starts getting technical. There's a lot of posts on the internet telling you what 'keys' to use and how you should build 'keys'. Which is fancy for the symbols categorising 'tasks', 'meetings', 'work'...etc. I build a complicated key system at the start of my bullet journal but ended up sticking to 3+1 symbols. 

⛋ : for tasks 
⌧: for finished tasks 
▵: for meetings 
—: for notes 

I also colour code my notes: 
Green: for tasks/events relating to my personal life 
Black: for work
Orange: for birthdays
Blue: for entertainment stuff (e.g. movie release dates, TV shows, album releases...etc) 
Every weekend, I take time to make my weekly layout. I've been sticking to the basic layout above (minus all the florals, obviously). I like having a small calendar as a monthly overview, with a notes section for anything I need to remember that week. The small box next to the notes section is where I fill in the weekly forecast. The left column is the weekly overview where I can put in any meetings or major tasks that I need to pinpoint at a glance. As I mostly use my bullet journal for work, the weekend boxes are usually smaller. I also have a next week section that allows me to jot down any upcoming events I already know about. 

I've included more photos below with close-ups of each section. 

Obviously, you don't need to decorate your bullet journal the way I did. I also like using my bullet journal as a way to relax and unwind over the weekend, and also a way to practice my handlettering. But some bullet journals are literally just text, and it's also really pretty. Cecilia's bullet journal layouts are beautiful and it's literally just a to-do list without any structured layout. 

There are a lot of bullet journal posts on the internet, including this one, and all the nicely decorated bullet journals can be quite daunting. But what's important is finding a system that works for you. I went through a lot of 'copycat' phases when I started bullet journaling - complicated keys, washi tape coded pages, habit trackers...etc - before I settled down with what I have now. You don't have to know how you want your bullet journal to look before you start - but you'll figure it out along the way. 

This was quite the rambly post and I'm not quite sure if this post made it any more clear. But leave your unanswered questions below or tweet me, and I'll try to clarify things up a bit more. 

Do you bullet journal? What does your layout look like? 

With Love, 
Daphne x