What Is a Bullet Journal

What is a Bullet Journal

I’m sure at some point you’ve heard of the words bullet journal, used together as a form of a creative outlet. Well, I’m here to tell you, not only, what is a bullet journal, but also, how to use it. A bullet journal is an organization system in a notebook that you create to keep track of anything you need in an easy, coherent, and fun way. Whether you prefer to make schedules, weekly or monthly planning, to-do lists, cleaning schedules, etc. The system was created by Ryder Carroll, who is a designer based in New York. 

The Bullet Journal (BuJo) system helps you track and decipher your past, organize your present, and plan for your future. It’s used to plan your personal and professional life. Although creative people love bullet journaling because it can be used as a creative outlet while planning and organizing their life, those who aren’t creative like myself, can also use it. It allows me to try and be creative while not discouraging if I can’t be as creative as others.

How Does Bullet Journaling Work?

The system used for bullet journaling is called rapid logging. This is the technique in which you use shorthand to divide information into events, tasks, and notes. The tasks and their completion are also categorized using your bullet journal key that is put at the front of your bullet journal. 

Although you create your pages up front, you fill them in as you go along.  Instead of buying a planner or journal with pages you don’t need or don’t fit your life, you create your own pages that cater to your specific needs. You have the ability to add pages for things that you care about, want to track, want to improve, etc. The ability to update your pages daily helps you learn to get rid of anything that distracts you, and keep up with your progress.

What is the point of a bullet Journal?

The point of bullet journaling in its basic form, is to use rapid logging to help you become more productive. Meaning, helping yourself compartmentalize what tasks you need to complete, while also keeping track of events, appointments, meetings, and any other information you deem important. 

Bullet journal is a great system that you can use to track how your time is being spent, what books you’re reading, shows you want to watch, take notes, and even keep track of your goals and progress. Every month I make a new reading and habit tracker so I can keep trying to improve myself. I also use a separate bullet journal to help with my work tasks and goals.

Is Bullet Journaling a Waste of Time?

In short, NO, bullet journaling is not a waste of time. However, what can be a waste of time is the creative side if you’re not creative, or can’t devote hours a week to your bullet journal. The reason I say that the creative aspect can be a waste of time, is because not everyone is creative, like myself. That can make trying to be creative very time consuming, depending on how creative you want to get. 

If you feel that bullet journaling is taking longer than you want it to, you can move to simple layouts. I do basic, simple layouts if I have a busy week and can’t be creative. I will make a minimalist weekly spread, monthly spread, reading tracker, habit tracker, and my main to-do list, at least.

Can I Start Bullet Journaling Mid Year?

Absolutely. Your bullet journal is completely customizable and caters to your wants, needs, and desires. You can start it today, tomorrow, next week, or in three months. There are no rules for when or how to bullet journal. In fact, as I am writing this, I just started a new Passion Planner undated version for the rest of this year. I set 3-month, 1-year, and 3 year goals, even though we’re already in June. 

Bullet journaling doesn’t have any set of rules or regulations. Essentially, your journal is just to help YOU and keep YOU more productive by any means necessary.

Do I Need To Be an Artist?

No, you don’t have to be an artist. I have absolutely no artistic or creative skills, at all. I actually enjoy the fact that although I don’t have artistic abilities, bullet journaling allows me to try and be creative if I want to. Since bullet journaling is what you make of it and the idea is for it to be exactly what you need, I can be as creative or uncreative as I want.

Here’s an example:

What Tools Do I Need?

While you can get what’s considered ‘official bullet journal’ supplies like Archer and Oliver, Leuchtturm, and Scribble It, any notebook or journal that’s sturdy can be used. As far as the writing supplies, you can use any sort of pens, highlighters, markers, or colored pencils that you want. The only thing that I do urge you to keep in mind, is getting pens that don’t bleed through the paper.

I’ve included below some of the most popular items from Amazon that I use, that are affordable and work great for me. I use these stickers for my weekly and monthly spreads and have been for over a year.

Shop The Most Popular Bullet Journals

Shop These Bullet Journal Accessories

Aesthetic Planner Stickers

Dyvicl Fineliner Pens

Dyvicl Hand Lettering Pens

Golden Pattern Washi Tape

Floral Washi Tape

Dizdkizd Washi Tape Set

Does bullet journaling help with anxiety?

Absolutely! I have been suffering with anxiety, PTSD, depression, panic disorder, and agoraphobia for over 15 years (since I was 16 and I’m currently 30). Between 16 and 28, it was crippling. There were more days than I want to admit that I didn’t get out of bed. Weeks that I could barely function because I was having panic attacks and anxiety attacks so often that I was petrified. 

My agoraphobia was so bad, I couldn’t walk past my driveway. One of the nights that I couldn’t sleep and was suffering with bad anxiety, I was browsing Pinterest and came across a pin for bullet journaling. That’s where my journey started, which I will go into more detail on another post. 

I started with my habit tracker so I could keep track of basic habits that should have been normal behavior, but I was having a hard time doing from my depression and anxiety. A few of those habits I had to put on my tracker were showering, face hygiene, and even eating breakfast. When you’re in a major depression plus full of crippling anxiety, sometimes these tasks are hard to do, although they’re easy for others to do. 

If you want to keep this for future reference, I would highly suggest pinning this to come back to later on your Bullet Journal board!

I hope you have learned something about bullet journaling from this post. It’s one of my favorite new things to do! You can keep your layouts simple and minimalist, or fancy with lots of colors and stickers. If you’re a fan of washi tape, throw some of that on as well. 

When I get on Instagram I get lost for hours looking at other people’s bullet journals, wishing I was that creative. They are beautifully coordinated, have wonderful calligraphy, and use matching stickers and washi tape. You can have so much fun with your bullet journal making it relaxing to create, and constructive to use.

11 thoughts on “What Is a Bullet Journal

  1. This is a great post! Tons of ideas to help you get started. I always am a little intimidated by the blank pages of a bullet journal when I get started. This makes it more approachable.

    1. I am too sometimes to be honest. Especially when I first started. But, as the months went on I’ve come to love the empty pages because it’s the possibilities of what I can create right in front of me. As I go through the series I will be doing a post on various layout types and most useful.

    1. Oh yes, absolutely! I have different ones for different aspects of my life and it helps so much. I usually spend a few hours on Sunday just relaxing making the pages and layouts and it is really enjoyable to me. Even though I’m not very artistic, I get to try and I get a bit surprised at how good I can do sometimes.

  2. This is really neat! I’ve heard of bullet journals but didn’t really know what they’re about. Thank you for sharing! I think I may start one = )

    1. You’re very welcome. I highly suggest looking into it and starting one. Although, I would suggest starting with the binder or spiral if you start one, so that you can get used to it and remove any mistakes you make. Although a lot of bullet journal “pros” use the Leuchtturm, if you rip out any pages where you mess up you will ruin the binding. I made this mistake a few times and wasted some big $$$. That’s why I love the a4 or a5 binders and get the paper inserts or the spiral notebooks.

  3. Awesome post. You did a great job of not only “showing” but explaining what a bullet journal is but some ways to use it.

  4. This may sound silly, but I think the pen makes all the difference..if I use beautiful pens, I am more likely to fill in a journal and write and draw more..thanks for the links to pens and other embellishments.

    1. Oh, absolutely can make all the difference. But, I just wanted the readers to know that if they can’t afford fancy pens or want to start with a minimum budget, they can use traditional pens and still get great results. Over the last year I have upped my supply game, but when I started out the ones I listed were the ones I used and they were super affordable. It’s also the same set I bought my Aunt and Mom who wanted to try bullet journaling after I couldn’t shut up about it. lol 🙂 Now I feel like my aunt does better than me because she’s a bit more artistic than I am.

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