My first month with a Bullet Journal

I first heard about the Bullet Journal – or BuJo – as a concept earlier this year. Various bloggers I follow mentioned it in their posts around organisation and blog planning. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. I had also spent the last 8 months trying to use solely digital tools to manage, well, my life. But after some early success they were starting to prove less effective. I began missing things or forgetting things. Whilst I am a self-confessed techie, I am still drawn back to paper management solutions. Or as the Bullet Journal website itself says: “The analog system for the digital age“. Invented by a Brooklyner named Ryder Carroll, over the space of a few years Bullet Journaling has become hugely popular across the world and after an hour of reading one quiet Friday evening I was sold. I bought my journal the very next day and I’ve not looked back!

bulletjournal

What is a Bullet Journal?

There is so much to read out there on the topic so I’m not going to explain how it works in detail. But essentially it’s a set of simple ‘concepts’ which allow you to build a diary that works exactly how you need it to. Rather than following the linear and fixed structure of a conventional diary, a Bullet Journal grows as you need it to. It starts with an Index so you can find things easily – principle 1 is that you index everything. Then it breaks down by year, month and day. Okay so that sounds like a conventional diary but the biggest difference is that months are only added one at a time. Day lists are added on the day or the night before. Then notes are interspersed in between. For related notes, ‘Collections’ can be used to group things. But you can always find everything because of the index!

Anything else I need to know?

Yes, there is way of managing tasks so you make sure things are done. It’s this which is so simple yet so awesome. It’s this which finally sold it to me.

If you’re adding a task, put a dot before it: •
If you’re adding an event, put a circle before it: o
If you’re adding a note, put a dash before it: –

Then to manage the tasks:

When a task is completed, put a cross through the dot: X
When a task needs moving to next day, migrate it: >
When a task needs moving back to the future or month log, schedule it: <

So what notebook do I use?

This is the best part, you can use anything you like. Although you’ll end up wanting to take it with you everywhere; So it’s best to choose something robust and which fits in your bag. There is an ‘offical’ Bullet Journal notebook which is a slightly enhanced Leuchtturm pad. However, I didn’t feel it was really necessary. I browsed notebooks in my local John Lewis and after debating a Moleskin, I end-up choosing a Castelli. It had a soft cover, awesome vibrant edge and a pen loop.

castelli

Over the last month I have been really pleased with it. Although the stitching on one of the leaves of papers did break so I had to do a minor repair. I think it was just unfortunate but I’m monitoring. I suspect the notebook will last me a good 9 – 12 months unless I decide I want a change. Whenever I do change I will be tempted to try a normal Leuchtturm since I’ve discovered you can buy additional adhesive pen loops!

What have you learnt in the last month?

One: There are a lot of people out there who have really evolved the way they use Bullet Journal. It would be quite easy to overcomplicate your Bullet Journal before you’ve even understood how it does / doesn’t work for you in it’s simplest form. So give it a month or two without adding or change too much. After a month I realised I wanted to try adding some weekly planners. That is the only addition I have made though;

Two: My Bullet Journal has integrated easily into my life. In part it’s because I spent time setting it up so the layout, naming conventions etc are all exactly as I want them. But also it’s so easy to just add tasks and reminders in rather than trying to remember them or putting them in my phone, especially at bedtime or during a ‘phone free’ evening. I forget where I read it, but I saw a quotation which said it’s a way of “outsourcing your brain” and that is very true;

Three: I can use it as a ‘creative’ outlet by adding colour and design to some pages. I’ve seen some blogs where people decorate most pages – I’m not doing that. But for some of my collections I’ve added some interesting headers. I find a bit of evening colouring really therapeutic.

linky-planner

Four: I love it!

Where do I go to learn more?

There is a lot of information out there but I would direct you to just two places:

> The Bullet Journal website
> The Lazy Genius Collective’s post – How to Bullet Journal: The Absolute Ultimate Guide

Also, if you still not completely sure, watch this 4-minute Official Bullet Journal video:

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36 comments On My first month with a Bullet Journal

  • Love this idea! I have several notebooks but haven’t found anything that works for me…this would be perfect!
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

  • This seems complicated! But I’m interested to lear more – thanks for sharing #fortheloveofblog

    • Yes I thought it was complicated ok the first couple of reads. But then I watched the video and realised it was actually really simple. If you’re not sold after the 4 min video then it’s probably not for you. If it is then after 4 mins you’ll be raring to go! Thanks for reading & commenting #fortheloveofBLOG

  • This is fascinating! I’d never heard of this before, so thank you so much for sharing. Alison x #fortheloveofBLOG

    • They seem to becoming more popular this year so not a lot of people have heard about them yet. Can see they won’t work for everyone (no system does!) but I’m enjoying it. Will see if it’s still as good in 6 months of course! Thanks for reading and commenting #fortheloveofBLOG

  • I have read about Bullet Journels and watched some YouTube videos on them, it seems a great idea, but maybe a bit time consuming. I would love to start one though.
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • It’s actually not time consuming at all I’ve discovered. Some ppl really decorate theirs and that takes time but if you just write things in and draw a few lines it’s really quick. I can set up a new month layout in 5 mins watching TV. Migrating tasks then takes another 5 and part of that is deciding whether it’s something worth carrying forward or if I should just abandon it. I stuck with the official bullet journal guidelines (using just the video in my blog and a few of the help notes on the website) because some ppl have made an industry of it! Thanks for reading and commenting. Good luck if you give this a try! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • I have a BuJo exclusively for blogging as I found I was making it too complicated for life haha. But I love it, so much fun! #fortheloveofblog
    Kat recently posted…Travel Photography – Part OneMy Profile

    • I’ve read things answers quite a few ppl use them like that or have two or three to cover their lives. It’s great that you can just make it work for you! Thanks for your comment 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Sounds a great way to keep your to do list organised and on top of all your movements #MarvMondays
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…University plucks one from the cuckoo nestMy Profile

  • SO funny, I’ve got a BuJo blog draft on the go and also a planner review as I am still in a bit of a BuJo / Diary dilemma for blogging. I absolutely love your linky spread though, brilliant. Thanks for sharing #Fortheloveofblog
    Jane Taylor recently posted…30 tips to drive down the cost of motoring.My Profile

    • Yes I spent quite a while on the Linky planner and because a bit of a project to relax me in the evenings. Good luck figuring out whether BuJO or Planner is the way forward! Also, thanks for your comment. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • I love using a bullet journal, and started earlier in the year. It really works for me as I can literally using in any way I want! I love how versatile it is, and how creative (or simple) I can make it. I do find that when I’m super busy I don’t use it as much though – strange! #MarvMondays

    • How weird you don’t use it as much when you are busy… Perhaps you’ve just got an organised mind so just get on with things. I don’t often consult mine in the day when with my daughter because I can remember my To Dos and she’d just try and get hold of my journal. Thanks for your comment! #MarvMondays

  • This sounds like it’s exactly what I’m looking for! Just dug out my Filofax which needs new inserts anyway so might set this up! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Oh I had no idea there was an actual term for this! I’ve been doing this for a long time now, I had no idea it was a real technique! #MarvMondays

  • I don’t get it? I think because I’m a visual learner, I’d have to see someone work it.
    So thanks for the YouTube option…I love organising so it sounds like something that could work for me. #marvmondays

    • Yes it is definitely easier to see! It was tough to explain without it becoming an unintelligible essay. The YouTube video was really clear and informative. Definitely give it a go! #MarvMondays

  • I have seen so many people try this concept out. I remember looking at it a while back and took some concepts but haven’t fully emersed myself yet. Yours does look pretty. #MarvMondays

  • I have never heard of this. Such a good idea. I end up with floating lists everywhere.

    • Yes I was like that too, with some digital lists and others on scraps. The real proof will be if it’s still working in 6 months of course…! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Wow wow wow, this looks awesome! As someone who is permanently trying to organise their life, this looks ideal. Thanks xx #familyfun

    • Be sure to give it a try then. Some people have been put-off by the set-up. But to do the basics really did only take 20 mins in front of the telly one night! Good luck and thanks for your comment x

  • Yay, a fellow bullet journalists!! I got onto this in June and my first couple of months are pretty rubbish but it’s about learning and adapting to how you want to work! It’s fab!! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

    • Definitely! I think that’s half the fun – working out what is working and what’s missing ready for the next month. I’m setting up October tonight with some new ideas. I think I might treat myself to a fresh notebook in the New Year once I’ve found my rhythm with it. Thanks for your read and comment x

  • Wow wow wow that looks amazing. I love your linky page as well I would love to do something like this, I’m a stickler for organisation and having things laid out in front of me. I definitely need to look into this more, thanks so much for sharing it at #familyfun xx

    • It takes an hour or so to read the techniques and set-up but after that it’s so easy to you. I’ll admit the Linky page took a bit more time, but that was just a ‘fun’ task for me. Plus I kept forgetting when things started so I needed colour… Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • I love the concept of bullet journal and have read a lot of articles and blog posts on it. Your post helps to make it simpler to understand. I think it’s one of those things you get once you’ve been doing it for a while. I started doing it as much work to do list, but eventually it just becomes a messy notebook. I’ve just started a new book and giving bullet journaling a go. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • Hope it works out for you with the new attempt! If you’re using the notepad I saw on Instagram then you’ve got a great incentive to get some sort of system working – BuJo or otherwise. Thanks for reading and your lovely comment! x

  • I definitely need to start doing this, my diary is a mish-mash of notes all over the place and I love being organised. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo
    Kaye recently posted…Our month in insta-snaps; September 2016My Profile

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About Me

About Me

Hello, I'm Angela. I'm Mum to two small people (4 & 1). I'm a Gardener, am houseplant obsessed and addicted to tea. By day I work in tech and also look after my littles. I'm trying to get our family to live a more sustainable life. I also have far too many opinions...hence the blog. You can read more about me here. You can also follow me on Twitter so you never miss a post. Hope you enjoy reading!

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