I’ve invited my amazing assistant, Shaina from Your Ampersand Studio, to take over the blog for today. She shares my love of putting pen to paper and has recently gotten into bullet journaling, so she’ll be showing you some bullet journaling basics. Here’s what she has to say:
As a busy graphic designer, virtual assistant and, let’s just be real here: human, I have tried many things to get and stay organized. I love my Reminders list and my iCal, don’t get me wrong! But there is something special about putting pen to paper and planning out my days the good ol’ fashioned way.
I’m not immune to the lure of pretty planners and printables out there, and have spent lots of money on these in the past, only to have them sit on my desk or shelf unused. But in July of last year I stumbled on something that has completely changed the flow of my life and how I plan and organize. I don’t remember if it was on Pinterest or Instagram or what, but I’m so grateful that I found Bullet Journaling!
What is bullet journaling? Well, I think the inventor of the Bullet Journal said it best:
“The Bullet Journal is an analog system designed to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” – Ryder Carroll
This system of tracking, organizing and planning is made up of 4 key elements: The Index, Collections, Rapid-Logging and Migration. I didn’t understand how it all worked when I saw the first few images of bullet journals online, so I went right to the source. Here is a video from bulletjournal.com that explain all the components and how they work together.
- INDEX: This is the backbone of your Bullet Journal. As your journal grows with plans and notes you always make reference to what pages you can find those specific notes on in your Index. This makes finding exactly what you need that you just knew you wrote down super easy.
- COLLECTIONS: These are how your days and tasks are organized. The 3 core collections are: Future Log – where you write down things that will happen in the future (not the month you’re in), Monthly Log – where you write out events on a Calendar page and tasks you want to get done on your Task page, Daily Log – This is what you use every day to keep track of events, tasks and make notes. Then you have other Collections – where you open to a blank spread in your journal and collect notes and thoughts about a specific topic, like books you want to read, or goals.
- RAPID – LOGGING: This is the short-form notes that you use throughout your collections, known as bullets. These are short sentences to help you remember your tasks, events and other important things for that day and/or collection.
- MIGRATION: This is the part of Bullet Journaling that can be life-changing, because you’ll be analyzing and prioritizing like never before. You will migrate tasks from your Daily Log into your new Monthly Log that you still want to get accomplished and cross out the things you don’t need any more.
Here are some images of my own personal Bullet Journal to show you how I use it. I love how versatile this is and how it can be just what you need from day-to-day.
These are my Index and Future Log pages. SUPER SIMPLE. I transferred to a new journal at the start of April, so there isn’t much on these pages, but I wanted to share how simple these are, but so useful. You can go crazy decorating (which I’ll talk about in a bit) but function is the most important part.
Here is my April Monthly Log and a couple of bonus pages that I added after looking at lots of examples online. I added a Goals & Happenings Collection, and a monthly tracker to keep track of which days I did certain things throughout the month.
And here are a couple examples of different Collections that I have within my Bullet Journal: a Books To Read page, and also a place to house my inspiration for one of my logo design clients. I love to sketch things first, and having this handy to get my ideas down when I have them is super helpful.
Bullet Journaling has become a really personal way for me to keep track of what has happened, live more fully in the moment during my days, and plan for the future. For now I’m keeping my pages and collections really simple, but there are so many tips, products, doodling and decorating ideas out there, I promise you will never get bored with your Bullet Journal. Here are a couple examples from my Bullet Journal Pinterest board that I just love. Also be sure to check out the Bullet Journal Junkies FB Group and the #bulletjournal hashtag on Instagram for more inspiration!
So are you ready to give it a try? I’ve got some links for you to find supplies to get you started. These are the things I use currently, and a couple things on my #wishlist too!
- A notebook. I started with a journal I had laying around the house to get comfortable with before investing in one of these special journals, but I love the moleskin I use now. It comes with graph paper inside, which is really helpful for drawing your lines and organizing. You can also purchase directly from the Bullet Journal creator, and a lot of people love the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks too.
- Pens. I use this “Mark” pen from Ali Edwards, which is from my scrapbooking stash. I love how fine the tip is and it doesn’t bleed onto the next page. These Pilot FriXion pens are also a fan favorite because they come in fun colors and they’re ERASABLE! In my Amazon cart as we speak!
- Washi Tape. I use a day-of-the-week washi tape for my daily log, and for decorating different collections within my bullet journal. There are SO MANY different patterns available. Careful not to fall too far down this rabbit hole!
- Stamps and ink. StazOn ink is my favorite brand and has been for over 10 years. It comes in tons of colors, but I’ve been keeping it simple and using black in my journal. And let’s not forget about stamps! I use a simple date stamp for each of my daily logs, but there are so many other options out there, like these ones from Studio L2E. You can use these to decorate or for functionality within your journal.
So, what do you think? Will you give Bullet Journaling a try? Have you heard of this type of planning before? I have fallen in love with it and I’m glad it’s part of my everyday life.
Thanks for letting me share, Laura. We’ve got a passion for planning!
PS. For those of you who are always missing a pen, here is a quick guide to how I keep my pen and my Bullet Journal together. Enjoy!
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