In this post I will explain the whole BulletJournal idea and if you are interested in this concept, I will help you set up your BulletJournal! I will also include links to websites where I get a bunch of information and inspiration from.
A BulletJournal is an analogue concept thought of by the American Ryder Carroll. Basically the whole idea of the BulletJournal is to have one place for ALL of your lists lying around while having an agenda and a diary which functions only for you in ONE book. If you are like me, I often had lists which I misplaced somewhere (most of the time accidentally in the garbage bin) so I had to create a new list. This system however puts everything that you need into one journal. It is a journal that at the beginning only has pages and a cover. It needs your magic to create the content which is so great because this will make the journal all yours and yours alone!
Why did I start BulletJournaling?
I was one of those people who would start a task, leave it half finished to go on to the next task. Cleaning my house would take a whole week due to this and I felt like all I was doing was stuff that I HAD to do. Working, cleaning, doing laundry, rushing the children everywhere only to fall asleep on the couch at seven o’clock in the evening. I was working myself mad and felt I had so little time left for myself. I became this super irritable stressed out chicken and had undergone two burnouts before hitting 34. At the end of last year, I started slipping again. Felt overwhelmed by the thought of having to go to the grocery store! Was tired ALL the time. Even when I slept for 10 hours, I woke up tired.
I can’t remember how I stumbled upon the BulletJournal but after watching a video made by Ryder Carroll, I got so inspired and wanted to try it out. If you want to watch it, you can check it out HERE
What is a BulletJournal?
I bought myself a Leuchtturm1917 but any journal will do! I like the dotted kind because it gives nice support when making charts but isn’t “in the way” when I want to doodle or journal something. This is how the dotted one looks like:
As you can see, the dots are barely visible.
The journal comes in all the colors of the rainbow and beyond! You have so many different sizes to choose from. I accidentally ordered the largest one from bol.com. I do not regret it. Actually it fits really well by my needs of letting my creativity flow out of my fingers. It is however a little bit harder fitting into your shoulder bag when you want to take it along with you… The bleeding of most pens are in this Journal to a minimum. With bleeding I mean if the ink shows through on the other side. I can use anything from my micron’s to my Faber Castell artists pens. I even use my fountain pen and my Staedtler Triplus markers in it! But as I said, any journal will do. I see people making BulletJournals in anything from small notebooks to huge travelling notebooks.
By chance I stumbled upon Kara Benz website. She is so devoted to BulletJournaling and has a blog, a YouTube channel and lots of other fun stuff. Go check her out HERE!
How do YOU start your BulletJournal?
So hopefully you have gotten all excited and curious and want to try it out!
- After you’ve gone to find yourself a journal that you want to use and found a pen, set in the back of your journal up a test page to see how the pen reacts with the paper. See that it won’t do too much bleeding (showing through on the other page). Start out by putting your name in it. It would be awful if you forgot it somewhere since it contains so much of your personal life! Please do not put your personal address in it since it is, well, personal. I put my phone number in it and hope to the angles above that it will be enough if I would ever happen to lose it.
Secondly you should probably make an index. This is proven being VERY helpful when trying to find that one page that you need right then and there! This is how mine looks and yeah… I have been kind of slacking with my index *shame*
Thirdly what makes a BulletJournal such a splendid system is its use of an Key. I have seen many different keys coming by in my research and I think you need to search for something that fits your lifestyle. My BulletJournal contains a lot of tasks and appointments so those are the keys I use a lot. Or when I postpone something (which happen quite often) I have a special key for that. On BulletJournal you can find more ideas of keys and there is also a bunch of information if you google it. The key system makes a daily log very clear as you can cross out tasks you have finished for that day. You also have a migration key which you can use when moving into a new BulletJournal. Maybe you have some system that really works for you or you have lists that you want to continue in the next BulletJournal, by marking them you can easily see which ones you wanted to transfer. This is how my key looks like:
The fourth thing you might want to implement in your BulletJournal is a Year Log. I find it easy writing the weekly numbers in it as well. I am at total loss of weekly numbers to be honest and use my year log A LOT to see what week number we are at. In the year log you just put the calendar. It can be something you want to do yourself or if that is too much work, print one out and just glue it in there! As I said before, it is YOUR journal! I see people putting in birthdays here and other things. I like it to just be plain and easy.
Next you need the Future Log. As Ryder Carroll explains in his video (see link above), it is handy to make a six months future log. If you need more than that, that is up to you because…. It is your journal! In my future log, I put appointments which are to come, birthdays and stuff I need to take care of. (Like cleaning windows… ugh).
So having taken care of that, now the real fun starts! Now you can let your creativity go loose! I start each month with a monthly log. By going back to my future log, I copy things that I have in that month on my future log onto my monthly log. I make it as a calendar spread cause I am such a knucklehead that I would forget to put on my socks if I did not get chilled toes. In my monthly log I, other than the copied stuff from the future log, put in important dates (like anniversaries and birthdays) but also when I am off from work or other important things. I also make a TO-DO list with things that I want to have done this month. These TO-DO things I then transfer into my daily log.
Weekly Log (or actually making a weekly menu)
After the monthly spread, I make a financial report for that month. I will not post it here because it is nobody’s business! HA! In the video from Ryder Carroll, he uses a weekly log, only I found that I do not need it. By making daily logs I use the monthly log to see if I need to put anything in there for that day. BUT! You can do that if it works for you! BECAUSE! It is YOUR journal! So I continue with making a menu for the week and based on that menu, I make a grocery list. This saves me a lot of money each month because now I only go to the store once or twice a week and not every day like in the past. Would you look at that?!? Some money-saving tips in my blog! Who would ever have reckoned that?
This is actually my favourite log and I am still trying to find my style. I have gone all over the place with goofy to modern style fonts. The night before I make the daily log for the next day. I have come to realization that it helps me to sleep better because my head is “empty” and I know what I need to do the next day. I often write the same tasks for each day. Make the beds, do some laundry, if the plants need watering, vacuüm and other cleaning tasks I need to do. When I have completed one task, I will mark it and I must say that a sneaky feeling of utter satisfaction rolls into my body. Everything works with such structure now that I no longer get stressed out by my own “running around like a chicken” behavior.
I also put in drawings and other cute stuff which my children occasionally give me!
I love these and have them scattered all through my BulletJournal (hence the must of having an index!). I created a list called Braindump where I will dump all my nightly ideas and this is where I collect my “inventions”. My BulletJournal also has a wish list so I can collect the things I wish for my birthday instead of having to think them up front. I also have a list for quotes that I really love. I have a savings goal tracker when I want something that is expensive and requires saving up for. Lists can go on and on depending what it is you want to make a list of! I see people making lists of TV shows they love, of movies they want to watch and hobbies they are practicing. You name it!
Boho Berry (Kara Benz) is a big lover of habit trackers where she, for each month, makes a spread of habits she wants to track. For example, the amounts of water she drinks or how often she sports in a month. I have seen people making a sugar intake tracker to get rid of their sweet tooth. You can put in anything in a tracker, only this does not work for me because I keep on forgetting filling it in. I think, when I have some more spare time, that I will introduce a weekly tracker instead of a monthly one. This makes the goals a bit shorter and maybe more easy to keep up with. Kara even has a sleep tracker and a mood tracker. But this is something you need to do for yourself BECAUSE; here is comes again… It is YOUR journal!
Well it wouldn’t be called a journal if you didn’t do some journaling in it! I have seen people using their BulletJournal as a diary. I however use it to track our newest found hobby. We are keeping a vegetable garden! So I write up all the stuff considering the garden and also have a whole chapter about blogging in my BulletJournal.
Oh by the way! This is not only for women! My hubby has two (he has one more than me!!!) BulletJournals and it works so well for him! One he uses for his planning (strictly Ryder content because he doesn’t need the doodles nor the swirls he says). The other one he uses for his beer brewing.
This is the end of this post. I know there is a lot of information. Hopefully I have been able to enlighten you a little and given you a little bit of inspiration to start your own BulletJournal. I think I have covered most of the important stuff. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, please do ask in the comments or send me an email!
Xx – Sas
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