A bullet journal is the complex–yet simultaneously simple–combination of a diary, planner, sketchbook and to-do list. They’ve recently had an increase in popularity with everyone from Buzzfeed to Refinery29 covering the bullet journal system.
While the original directions for the bullet journal system include specifics for its symbols and pages, the main thing to remember is that it’s your bullet journal. Make it work for you.
Some people leave it minimally chic while others go all out with doodles and designs. The sky’s the limit BUT there are a few basic things to keep in mind when making your own bullet journal:
1. Keep it organized.
The entire point behind a bullet journal is that it’s supposed to make life simpler, not harder. Try to ensure that everything you put inside your journal has some sort of cohesive look to it. It might be easier in the moment to just write whatever you want when you want to, but when you’re looking for something specific, you’ll wish you had kept things a bit more organized.
2. Keys are key.
Your key will help you keep track of what’s what in your bullet journal. Separate your tasks by their level of completion: started, finished, cancelled, etc. Some people use colors to organize their key, but any symbol works as long as it’s simple enough for you to recreate and remember.
3. Mistakes are normal.
We’re human, we make mistakes. If you misnumber a page, forget to write one day, or use the wrong symbol, just remember it’s not the end of the world. Whether it’s by using some whiteout, a sticker, or plain ol’ ignoring it, there’s always a way to fix the problem. Even the most experienced journalers mess up sometimes. It’s okay.
4. Write what’s important.
This is where your individuality really comes into play. No two people are exactly alike, so obviously no two bullet journals should be exactly alike. If you’re looking to improve your health, consider making a habit tracker page. If you’d like to see how your mood is day by day, why not try a mood mandala? Are you trying to save money? Make a budget page.
5. Learn as you go.
As you continue to bullet journal you’ll find out what works for you and what doesn’t. If that page from last month wasn’t for you, don’t include it again. Did you really like that doodle page? Continue with it. Was the layout a bit annoying? Change it!
6. Don’t give up.
Even if you aren’t artistic or all that creative, you shouldn’t be scared of bullet journaling. If you miss a few days or really hate your layout, just keep pushing forward–it’ll be worth it when your journal is all filled up and you can look back at how much you’ve improved.