Try Bullet Journaling to Put Order in your Disorganized Life

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When I first heard/read about bullet journaling, I thought to myself, “Here’s yet another one of those to-do helpers,” and, like other fads, I thought this too shall pass. But curiosity got the better of me, especially because the bullet journal is not digital and I’ve never gotten over my love for the paper planner. And if you’re an app junkie, going the hard copy route could be something worth trying. So, after going through the site and watching the video, I converted one of my barely used planners to try bullet journaling, and months later, I’m still at it.

What makes the bullet journal different from the hundreds of digital to-do apps and the old-school planners sold in bookstores? Well, for one thing, it’s not limiting. You don’t need separate apps or notebooks for your daily tasks, diary or even for a sketchbook. You can unleash your creativity in it or keep it as stark and basic as you like. If this has piqued your interest now, read on to learn more about this new trend. And, be forewarned: starting a bullet journal can seem initially overwhelming. But once you get the hang of it, it is really very simple and that’s where its appeal lies.

Bullet Journaling

Source: taz + belly

The Four Core Elements:

Index page

This makes up the first few pages of your notebook. It makes for easy tracking of your topics and pages. Simply write down a topic name and the page number/s beside it. It doesn’t have to be in chronological order.

Future log

– is for writing down things to do or events in the future, usually grouped into months. Divide a page equally into 2 or 3 boxes by drawing a horizontal line. Each box represents a month. Write down your major events or plans for that month. You can make a 6- or 12-month future log.

Monthly Log

Source: John Uhri

Monthly log

– is a daily reminder of your schedule for a calendar month. Assign one whole left page for each month and on the leftmost side, list down the days as numbers (1 – 31) and put the letter of the day beside it (M, T, W, Th, F, Sa and Su.) This will be your calendar page. Beside each day, write down your planned task or event. Exclude the details as the calendar page is only used as a reference. Don’t feel obliged to fill up each day.
The right hand page beside your calendar month page is your Task/Event page. It will contain the tasks for that month and other tasks from previous months that you have migrated to the current month because they were not done at their original schedule.

Daily Log

Source: John Uhri

Daily log

– is, obviously, for the day’s tasks and events. Write down the day in number and first letter form, i.e., 09/07/W for Sept. 7, a Wednesday. Below it, list down your tasks and add any as they come to your mind. Continue to the next day’s to-do in the space below as one day won’t usually fill up a whole page. It’s best not to write down days in advance since you won’t know how much space will be taken up for a day.

Other important tips for bullet journaling

Rapid logging – is the essence of the bullet journal. It has four main features: a topic (ex. Date,) page number for each leaf in the journal, short sentences to describe tasks and bullets for each task or event.

Bullets come in many forms, each one with a designation:

(•) a dot for a task
(X) for a completed task
(<) for a scheduled task (>) for a migrated task
(0) for an event
(-) for a note

Migration is the term used for moving an incomplete or undone task from a previous date to the current month or day, if you still plan on doing the task. It also tells you your work pattern. If you’re migrating too many tasks, you may need to reassess your habits.

These are the basics of bullet journaling. Customize and tweak as you go along. Add stickers, ribbons or scrapbook adornments if you’re so inclined. And one last thing, choose a notebook that’s like Red Riding Hood’s bed – not too big, not too small, one that’s just right, because you’ll be carrying your journal along. And don’t scrimp on the paper and pen quality. It’s always an inspiration to write with pen and paper that just lets your hand glide.

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