The bullet journal is an analog system, meaning you don’t need anything more complicated than a notebook and a pen or pencil. While it’s super customizable, you might want to get started by familiarizing yourself with the traditional bullet journal setup introduced by Ryder Carroll from BulletJournal.com. Become comfortable with the basic system and then change it from there.
You’ll need a notebook, a pen, and a some time to get started. The type of notebook you use is up to you. The traditional style of the Leuchtturm1917 is grid or dotted paper, but ruled, blank or grid pages will also work well.
The first page of your bullet journal will include your key. This will record the shorthand you use for your bullet entries. Here’s the traditional codes used. Feel free to add to it, or modify it as needed.
ᐧ (Dot) Task
X Completed Task
> Migrated Task
⬤ Completed Appointment
⟴ Migrated Appointment
Your next two to four pages will be set aside for indexing. This will allow you to quickly find any collection, or get to a particular month. Title each page as an index page and move on to the next section. Be sure to mark the new pages and collections that you create in your index.
The Future Log
With the original bullet journal setup this is a two page spread that records the coming 6 months. However, many bullet journalers find it useful to set up a more traditional yearly calendar instead. This is a great place to record birthdays, anniversaries, or block out vacation time. Remember to add or note the page numbers and record them in your future log in your index.
Start each month with a monthly log. This is where you’ll record appointments and deadlines. You can use a grid layout, or use one line for each day of the month. A monthly spread isn’t where you are going to track most of your tasks, but it will help you to remember important appointments and events.
The daily log is where you’ll spend most of your time in the journal. Start a new page or section each day and record anything that you want to accomplish or make progress on that day. Make a list of tasks and cross them off as you get them finished. You’ll want to make notes of anything important you need to remember throughout the day as well as appointments as they pop up. Everything gets logged in the daily log for convenience. Once you have it written down, you can move the tasks as needed to the monthly or future log, or migrate it to a different day.
Set aside a time each day to review your tasks. Cross out or migrate anything that you didn’t get to. For instance, if you didn’t finish doing the laundry, draw an arrow next to it and add it to the following day.
If appointments or events came up, move them to your monthly list and draw an arrow through it on your daily page. If something no longer applies, then go ahead and cross it out. Your daily goal is to deal with each entry from your daily list by completing it, migrating it, or crossing it out.
The last section of your bullet journal is devoted to collections. Collections are thematical lists you make that don’t have date requirements. One example is an ongoing list of books you want to read, favorite meals or bucket list items. Start the list on the next blank page. Title it and start creating your list. Remember to make a note of the page you’ve created and add this collection to your index page. Now when you want to add a new entry to this list, you can easily find it via the index.
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