A Beginner's Guide to Bullet Journaling

Last May, I was a mess.  What with AP testing and other assignments, I knew I needed a way to keep track of my disaster of a schedule.  Later that month, a friend mentioned her bullet journal to me and I was immediately intrigued; I soon discovered that this simple system revolutionized how I manage my time and prioritize my responsibilities (while also being an amazing creative outlet)!  As summer finishes up and we head back into the school year, here’s how you can create your own bullet journal and use it to keep on top of your workload.

 

Step 1: Pick a journal// it does not have to be expensive, but make sure that your journal choice is suitable to you.  Do you want dotted paper for symmetrical spreads?  Do you like blank pages for creative liberty?  Pick a journal that suits your creative style.  I made the mistake of not asking myself these questions and ended up having to switch journals.

Image provided by: Madi Miyake

Image provided by: Madi Miyake

Step 2: Use the system// the bullet journaling system uses a yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily breakdown to compartmentalize your life.  The yearly consists of all the upcoming events in the year, the monthly consists of all the upcoming events in that month, the weekly consists of all the upcoming events in that week, etc.  Pull tasks from your yearly, monthly, and weekly to create your daily each day, do as much as you can, and migrate whatever you can’t finish to the next day.  Anything else you include in your journal is referred to as a collection, and your collections can be anything you want.  It’s that simple!

Image provided by: Madi Miyake

Image provided by: Madi Miyake

 

Step 3: Customize the system// while the bullet journaling system does have “rules,” I want to emphasize that your bullet journal is yours and you can change whatever you want about the system!  For example, I don’t use a daily spread because it feels redundant after I create my weekly spread.  There are an infinite number of changes you can make to ensure that your journal works for you, and it all just takes some trial and error.  It took me several weeks of journaling and messing around with layouts to find a weekly that worked well for me.  Do some searching around (places like Tumblr have a super active bullet journaling community) for inspiration!

Image provided by: Madi Miyake

Image provided by: Madi Miyake

Step 4: Decorate your journal// this is optional, however, lots of people like to put effort into making their journals aesthetically pleasing (myself included).  The heart and soul of bullet journaling is organizing your time, so if you don’t want to draw all over your spreads or print out weird photos to include, you absolutely do not have to; however, I find that a big part of my motivation to bullet journal comes from being able to decorate all my spreads and create random collections.

 

 

Bullet journaling worked amazingly for me and my productivity!  Let us know if you give it a try.