How to Make Your Next Notebook a Bullet Journal

How to Make Your Next Notebook a Bullet Journal

Life got you feeling a little crazy? Do you sometimes feel like you would lose your head if it weren't attached to your body? Yeah—we've all been there. A good plan can make everything seen more sane and make life seem far less complicated. Enter the bullet journal. Get your notebook ready!

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The bullet journal has been a trendy buzzword floating around the internet recently. But if you actually want to start one and begin exploring what it is, all the information online can start to turn into hieroglyphics. There are so many details and specifics that make it seem so confusing and just not worth it. But we're going to break it down for you so that you can put it to use quickly. It’s actually a pretty good system once you get through all the rules. 


What is a bullet journal?

 A bullet journal is a method of journaling and note-taking that uses an organized system of lists, symbols, and numbering to increase efficiency. 


Why would you need one?

There are many reasons why you might need to start a bullet journal notebook. See if one of these reasons sounds like you.

  • Are you a goal setter or a planner?
  • Are you trying to be more organized?
  • Do you like to write lists?
  • Do you a ton of to-do lists laying around everywhere?
  • Are you in love with planners?
  • Do you like pens, notebooks, and other stationary?
  • Are you struggling with making journaling a habit?

If you answered yes to many of those questions, then a bullet journal could be the thing for you. 


How do you start?

The first things you need are a few items: any type of journal or notebook and pens or markers of various colors. You can really go crazy with this and get all kinds of colors. Some people like to decorate and add some flair to their bullet journals. The bullet journal experts recommend that you focus on size and quality when you buy a journal. Too big and it won’t be easy to carry. Too small and it won’t be useful. Too inexpensive and it will not last very long. 

The second thing is the terminology. There are certain terms you need to know to understand how to setup and use a bullet journal. 

  • Index—a table of contents or a running log of everything
  • Daily Log—a to-do list for that day, as well as other thoughts and ideas
  • Monthly Log—a monthly calendar with what you need to get done that month
  • Rapid Logging—a system of symbols to help keep everything organized
  • Future Log—a calendar where you can put events, goals, and other long-term plans


How it’s done

The first step is to figure out the rapid logging. If you have a to-do list like the one below, rapid logging helps you organize everything using quick symbols.

bullet journal notebook rapid logging

Image: Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

bullet journal notebook rapid logging symbols

Image: Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed


You can use the symbols listed below or you can come up with your own style.

bullet journal notebook rapid logging key

Image: Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

Mastering the art of the bullet journal notebook

Remember to keep the phrases in your list short. If something major happens, make a note and then turn to another page to go into detail. 

bullet journal notebook daily log

Image: Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed


Make sure to number every page.


bullet journal notebook page numbers

Image: Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

Don’t forget the index. The index should take up the first two pages of your notebook. When you create your index think of categories that the items in your list could fall into. You can then go and add the page number of the list to the index and find the list easily when you need to at a later date. You can be as specific or as general as you want with the categories. And you can always add categories as you go.

bullet journal notebook index

Image: Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

 Then comes the future log, which is basically a yearly calendar of what you want to get done and what you need to remember.

bullet journal notebook future log year

Image: Rachel E. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

Along with the yearly calendar, every month you need a monthly calendar and a task list. You can also create special monthly pages for tracking things like fitness goals, healthy eating habits, or positive affirmations. You can have as many or as few as you want, but you at least need one. 

bullet journal notebook monthly log

Image: Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed


So, there you have it. You're on your way to creating a professional and creative bullet journal. One last thing. Try not to be a perfectionist about it. You are bound to make mistakes. A bullet journal is supposed to be a fun and creative way to stay organized and make the most of your life. Don’t turn it into a dreaded task. Just go with the mistakes and have fun with it!