How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

Getting organized: why is it so hard? The house, the kids, the deadlines. Life gets complicated fast and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the tiny details that go into every day. While there are planners and apps that can help you organize your time, there are very few options for organizing everything else. This is where starting a journaling practice can be a lifesaver.

Maybe when you think of keeping a journal, you picture an artsy loner sitting in the park, wiling away their free time, sketching flowers and exploring their feelings. While there’s nothing wrong with those activities, it doesn’t fit into the schedule of most busy adults.

I avoided the idea of keeping a journal until I realized it could be so much more. A journal has the potential to organize your entire life — all in one place. Armed with a notebook and a pen, you can take control and have fun doing it.

Here are some examples of ways people are using their journals to organize every aspect of their own busy lives. I hope you find some inspiration for starting your own life-changing journaling practice!

Using a Journal to Organize Your Home

Journaling for Your Business

Physical Fitness & Health

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  • To see more inspiration for fitness trackers, click here!
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Tracking Your Emotional State in Your Journal

Journaling Your Family Matters

Are You Ready to Start Your Own Journal?

I hope this inspired you to organize your own life through journaling! If you want to get started, click here for a step by step guide to starting your first journal.

BuJo is a modular framework. Each module, or Collection, serves to organize related information. You can mix and match, customize, or even create Collections to best suit your needs. Let’s take a look at the four core Collections:
The Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, and the Daily Log.

The Index lives at the front of your notebook, and serves to locate content in your Bullet Journal. Simply add the Topics of your Collections and their page numbers to the Index, so you can quickly find them later.

Collections that span a series of consecutive spreads are indexed like this: “Collection Topic: 5-10.”

Some Collections are recurring and can be spread throughout your notebook. These Collections can be indexed as such: “Collection Name: 5-10, 23, 34-39”

This Collection is used to store dated entries that will occur outside the current month. Provided is a simple six month template, but there are many other creative templates for setting up your Future Log.

Everything we task ourselves with is a potential experience. The Future Log serves as your time machine, allowing you to glimpse the outlines of the future you’re actively working towards.

Tip: Each month, review your Future Log to see if anything can be migrated into the new Monthly Log.

The Monthly Log is a spread of facing pages that consists of a Calendar and a Task page.

The Calendar Page
This minimal calendar is designed to provide a birdseye view of the month. You can use it to schedule Events and Tasks, record Events after they happen, or both. Entries here should be as short as possible, as this page is designed for reference only.

The Task Page
This page is designed to help you take a monthly mental inventory: What are the priorities for the month? What remains undone from last month? What matters now? Get it off your mind, and list it here.

Tip: Leave some room in the left margin of the page to add Signifiers to mark important entries.

The Daily Log is designed for day-to-day use. At the top of the page, record the date as your topic. Throughout the course of the day, simply Rapid Log your Tasks, Events, and Notes as they occur. If you don’t fill a page, add the next date wherever you left off and you’re ready to continue.

Tip: Don’t set up Daily Logs way ahead of time. Create them as you go or the night before. You never know how much space you may need any given day.

The Bullet Journal is designed to become whatever you need it to be, be it a fitness or fertility tracker, food log, diary, sketchbook etc. You’re encouraged to design your own Custom Collections.

Figuring out what you need your Bullet Journal to be is an important part of the process, a process that begins with regularly examining how you’re spending your time and energy. We form this habit through Migration.

We lead busy lives, but being busy doesn’t necessarily mean we’re being productive. Productive means that we’re using our time wisely by focusing on what matters. Monthly Migration helps us accomplish this by weeding out distractions.

At the very end of each month, set up a new Monthly Log. Once that’s done, review the pages of the month gone by. Chances are, you didn’t get around to completing all your Tasks. That’s fine! What’s important is figuring out which incomplete Tasks are worth your limited time and energy moving forward. Strike out those that aren’t, and migrate the ones that are.

To Migrate a Task, simply turn the “•” into “>” to indicate that you’ve moved that Task forward onto the Task Page of your new Monthly Log or into an appropriate Collection. If you wrote down a book title for example, you would migrate that entry into your “Books to Read” Collection.

Once you’ve Migrated open Tasks, check your Future Log. See if any Tasks or Events listed there have become current. If so, migrate those entries from your Future Log into your new Monthly Log.

It may seem like a lot of effort to have to rewrite all these things, but that’s intentional. This process makes you pause and consider each item. If an entry isn’t even worth the effort to rewrite it, then it’s probably not that important. Get rid of it. The purpose of Migration is to surface what’s worth the effort, become aware of our actions, and to separate the signal from the noise. This is where BuJo shifts from a system, into the practice.

The Bullet Journal method is a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system. Once you’re comfortable with the system above, you’ll be ready to move on to the mindfulness practice, and learn how to live with intention.

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How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

Struggling to keep organized and productive while working? Forgetting important meetings and deadlines? Then you might need to consider using a bullet journal for work.

A bullet journal isn’t only used to explore creativity and be artistic but it’s a systematic way to be more organized and get things done if used in a particular manner.

With the use of specific spreads, you can easily make sure you’re always on top of things and well planned out for the workday.

If you’d like to turn your bullet journal into a work planner or would like to add a few pages to help you, then here’s the ideal guide for you.

Why Bullet Journaling Is Great For Work

Before we get started, these reasons may help you figure out if bullet journaling for work will be the right choice. With its wide range of spreads to schedule just about anything, bullet journaling can make you incredibly productive.

It keeps you accountable to complete the tasks you set out since there are deadlines to follow. This way, you’ll find yourself feeling less resistant and more willing to finish each task.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

If procrastination has been a long term enemy of yours, using a bullet journal for this purpose will defeat it for sure.

Another great aspect to work journals is that you have a record of everything right there which makes it easier for you to reference or recheck certain details.

The only downfall to this is that confidentially may be of concern if you store important business details or customer’s personal information.

In case of you forgetting the journal somewhere, these factors may be at risk if it lands in the wrong hands so this is definitely something to think about if you plan to write and record important information.

Bullet journals will also serve as a reminder for various work events, meetings, and projects. If you’re well planned out, you’ll never forget anything and it’s a fantastic way to plan ahead and make additional changes.

How To Setup A Bullet Journal For Work

Now that you know how awesome bullet journals are for work purposes, here’s a few ways you can actually implement them and choose the right spreads.

Supplies You’ll Need

With this kind of journal, you don’t need any particular fancy supplies since a bullet journal separate from your personal one and a pen will do just fine.

But if you would like to add a few colorful details, then grab your art supplies.

Step 1: Create an index page

The first thing you can do is to create an index page. This will help you keep track of certain categories and keys if you plan to use them in your spread.

You can also section of your journal into particular categories such as work, personal, and health.

Getting organized: why is it so hard? The house, the kids, the deadlines. Life gets complicated fast and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the tiny details that go into every day. While there are planners and apps that can help you organize your time, there are very few options for organizing everything else. This is where starting a journaling practice can be a lifesaver.

Maybe when you think of keeping a journal, you picture an artsy loner sitting in the park, wiling away their free time, sketching flowers and exploring their feelings. While there’s nothing wrong with those activities, it doesn’t fit into the schedule of most busy adults.

I avoided the idea of keeping a journal until I realized it could be so much more. A journal has the potential to organize your entire life — all in one place. Armed with a notebook and a pen, you can take control and have fun doing it.

Here are some examples of ways people are using their journals to organize every aspect of their own busy lives. I hope you find some inspiration for starting your own life-changing journaling practice!

Using a Journal to Organize Your Home

Journaling for Your Business

Physical Fitness & Health

Want More Health Trackers?

  • To see more inspiration for fitness trackers, click here!
  • To see more inspiration for meal planning, click here!

Tracking Your Emotional State in Your Journal

Journaling Your Family Matters

Are You Ready to Start Your Own Journal?

I hope this inspired you to organize your own life through journaling! If you want to get started, click here for a step by step guide to starting your first journal.

If you’re reading this blog, it is likely that you are a mom and the odds are that your car and purse are full of paper scraps with the never-ending lists of things to do. Until August, I was you! But, now, I have a “magic” notebook and the scraps are gone.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)
Yes, I have a smart phone. I also have a laptop. I rarely go anywhere without at least one in my car. However, I have yet to find a comprehensive program that lets me put in everything I need to keep my life, my kids’ lives and my husband’s life (outside of work) running smoothly. I’m also attached to paper and pens.

So, I’m not lacking in tools to keep me organized. In fact, by nature, I’m an organized person. Mostly. I’m also overly ambitious and usually have too many things going on at one time and something is always neglected. I was constantly running out for one last minute “something” to finish whatever. Those days are gone.

I ran across a method of notebook keeping that absolutely works for me and I think it will work for you as well. It’s called a bullet journal. Stick with me, it’s fairly simple!

This is how it works:

  1. You pick up a notebook. I chose a 5×8 Moleskine in plain black because it is sturdy, fits in my purse and hides a lot of stains and dirt. There are tons of options out there. Choose a size and cover that you can carry easily – EVERYWHERE.
  2. Do NOT buy a planner – you want a notebook with lines spaced at no more than 1/2” or completely blank (great for you artists/sketchers).
  3. Start where you are! Once you have a notebook (and a nice pen), get going. Don’t worry about the date or if it’s in the middle of the month. On the first two lined pages, you will create an index. Here you will list everything by topic and page number (not hard and worth picking up the habit)
  4. Once you have labeled your index, turn to the next two pages and number them 1 and 2 . With the month you’re in, use page 1 to list Month’s Events. Going down the left side of the page write 1-30/31, one line for each day of the month. These are things like birthdays, kids’ events, things that recur or that you are committed to doing. On page 2, list Month’s Projects – these are undated things you’d like to get done this month but have no specific dates. Go back to your index, write the name of the month and after it put p. 1-2.
  5. Now, think about things you are constantly wanting to keep track of and always losing. For me, I created several more pages. Number them as you go, no need for a specific or logical order because you have the index to guide you. Just always number your pages and write down what is on what page in the index. My next pages included: Books to Read, Christmas Gift Ideas, Christmas Gifts Bought, Things to Find in Thrift Stores, Kids’ Clothing and Shoe Sizes, Books Read, etc. Make pages for anything upcoming or ongoing in your life. Vacations, weddings, wishes, gifts, whatever works for you!
  6. Once these pages are installed and indexed, you start really using your notebook . I start with a list of things to do each day. I mark the date on a page, make a list with squares on the left to check off when I finish. I mark the page on my index.
  7. If I have things on my mind that are not to-do things, I add them to my daily list with a solid circle next to them. When I have time I move them to the things-to-do each month category or to a page that fits.
  8. At the end of the day, things I have finished get checked off. If I did not get to something, I put an arrow to the right of it and move it to the next day or to whatever place is appropriate.
  9. Since I write, my daily lists are often interspersed with notes for articles or notes for ideas. I index these at the end of the day as well.
  10. If you have a child that writes and spells reasonably well, have him/her hang on to the notebook when you’re in the car. You know those great car ideas that always get away from you? No more! Have your child jot your ideas down.
  11. One unexpected benefit of the notebook has been that my sons and husband know I always leave it on the kitchen counter when I go to bed. Every now and then I will get up ready to start my list for the day and I’ll find a little note or picture from one of them. It’s more personal than a text and I have it forever.

I still use my big family calendar on the fridge so that everyone knows what’s going on – I mark appointments, dinner menus (that sometimes actually happen), birthdays, etc. But, everything I need for the family and ME is in the notebook. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s worth it.

I’ve only been using the “magic” calendar since (hang on, I’m looking it up in my magic calendar) August 21, 2014. However, I’m sold. I think I will just use the notebook I have until I run out of pages and then start a new one. Think about it for yourself. Maybe ask for an awesome notebook and pen over the holidays. Get going on January 1 – this is one resolution you might be glad you made.

The great thing is, the magic notebook is like a journal. You can keep old copies on a shelf and it’s easy to look things up because you have the index. I’ve taken to taping or stapling receipts in my notebook in case I have to return things or if I want to compare prices. I’ve just started page 75 and I’m not even half-way through my notebook. BONUS: If the police need to know what happened on September 15 in my world, I can tell them. (Not that police question me on a regular basis!)

**This is not my own original idea. I must give the folks at the Bullet Journal full credit. If my explanation seems garbled and confusing, check out their beautiful website and great illustrations.

Use a notebook to How to Organize Your Life Using a Bullet Journal

If you want to be more productive and effective, grab a notebook and organize your life using a bullet journal!

Have you ever wanted to check everything off of your to-do list and keep your life organized in one spot? There are so many planners out there that promise to keep you more organized and help you accomplish anything and everything at the same time. The reality is that there is rarely a planner out there that fits all of our needs.

This is where bullet journaling comes in. Bullet journaling allows you to have all your thoughts, plans, and everything in place in one small notebook. I’m going to show you how you can organize your entire life in a notebook by using a bullet journal.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

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How it works

Bullet journaling might seem complicated, but it’s quite easy. Instead of traditional style journaling, you are dividing your journaling into a few topics: page numbers, bullets, and information. Your information and page numbers are documented in a table of contents at the beginning of your journal so you can find what you’re looking for, and your bullets are used to write down your information. You can jot down whatever you need, such as a task list or even a list of important dates.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

Create important lists in your bullet journal

Your bullet journal can be used to keep track of notes and other relevant lists that you are making. This could be anything from what episode you are on of the current show you’re watching to what you want to get people for Christmas this year. Using your notebook, you can keep track of all your different lists in one place, and have a quick and easy way to get to each one when you need it.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

Keep track of your schedule and calendars

You can use your bullet journal to keep track of not only tasks but your schedule and calendar. Write down what you need to do each day and check it off as you go. If you like to look at your month or week at a glance, create your own calendar by drawing in your journal. You can make this calendar function whatever way works best for you.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

Track your habits using a bullet journal

This one is similar to a list but helps you keep track of things such as how much water you are drinking, and the habits you want to be practicing. Start by writing them down in your journal and create a tracker for them. Each day, go into your journal and update your progress. You can use these for any habit you can think of!

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

Remember to use it

A good journal is one that can go with you everywhere you go. This is why a bullet journal is so handy! Typically bullet journals are so small they could fit into your purse! A bullet journal is not practical if it’s not in use, so remember to take the time to sit down and journal in it each day.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

Bullet journaling might not be the right fit for everyone. However, I have found that a bullet journal is so customizable that you can do pretty much anything with it!

2 February, 2021 at 8:21 AM

Visit Back2BU for the latest updates and information on BU’s response to COVID-19. Students can find additional information in the Undergraduate Student Guide and Graduate & Professional Student Guide.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

BU Today asked six BU students who practice Bullet Journaling to tell us what they like about it. Photo by Cydney Scott

Students talk about the benefits, including creativity and reducing stress

In this time of unprecedented worry and uncertainty, it helps to have something constant and therapeutic in your life. So if you have an endless flow of tasks, commitments, and reminders bogging you down, or if you’re looking to become more mindful, keeping a Bullet Journal©, which has been described as equal parts day planner, diary, and written meditation, may be for you.

These aesthetically pleasing blank notebooks, turned into works of art, have become popular on Instagram and Pinterest during the last decade.

Although they may seem daunting to re-create, the original Bullet Journaling method is pretty simple. Founder Ryder Carroll, the author of The Bullet Journal Method, writes in his book that it is “a mindfulness practice” and productivity system, allowing you to “declutter your mind and organize your thoughts using pen and paper.” His system uses calendars, indexes, daily and monthly logs, and a daily evaluation of what is important and what can be “migrated” to the next month to make you as productive as possible.

Bullet Journaling has taken off on social media, and BuJo users (yes, they have a nickname) have taken Carroll’s minimalist method and made it their own. Now there are countless YouTubers who share their Bullet Journaling processes, some incorporating his method and some who’ve created completely new ways to do it.

Read about how these six BU students practice Bullet Journaling.

Abbey McCracken (Sargent’20)

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

Photos by Cydney Scott

Why she started a Bullet Journal:

McCracken started a Bullet Journal her freshman year of college after seeing the journals on Instagram. “I’ve always been super into using a planner, but I started dabbling in it because it was a way to channel my creativity, but also stay organized,” she says. “It has held me more accountable.”

Why she likes Bullet Journaling:

Bullet Journaling helps her stay organized, is therapeutic, and gives her an artistic outlet. She likes how the journal forces her to put a list down on paper, so she can cross things out and see what she has achieved in a week.

How she describes her personal Bullet Journaling style:

It’s a mix between an art journal, a planner, and a scrapbook.

Her advice for prospective Bullet Journalists:

“It’s a great outlet for anyone who’s artsy, but also wants to stay on top of their game both academically and professionally and in their personal life,” McCracken says. “I think anyone can benefit from it, and it doesn’t have to be super artsy for everyone. It can be as minimalistic or as artsy as meets your personal taste.”

1) Supplies

To start your bullet journal, you need a few things:

  • A notebook. Any notebook will do. Lines, no lines, squares, you get to decide.
  • A black pen. This is for the outline itself. However, you can start with pencil if you would like to and just trace over it with pen.
  • A ruler. Have to have straight lines! Or you can purchase a template set to help with drawing straight lines and designs.
  • Pens or colored pencils. Just in case you want to decorate your outlines a little bit, have some coloring tools on hand

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

2) Beginning

Before diving into the outline, the first thing you want to do in your bullet journal is open to the first spread of blank pages. These two pages will serve as your index. As you add pages to your journal, you will put the name of the page and the number in your index.

Nothing is consecutive, and you don’t have to save or skip sections. As you add a page, add it to your Index so you can easily find the pages you’re looking for. Go ahead and number the two pages of your Index 1 and 2, and add those to your index.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

3) The Key

To make your notes more organized, come up with a set of symbols that you can put next to each task or note. Here’s the one I use:

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

This is so you don’t forget what tasks you’ve started and which ones you haven’t, as well as which tasks are the most important and need to be done ASAP.

4) Month

For me, the best way to organize my daily tasks is to do a page per day, and have different sections for each category of tasks. Here’s one of my bullet journal entries:

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

5) Lists

Tasks and to do’s aren’t the only thing you can use a bullet journal for. Feel free to put in lists, too! For example, you can put in a list of books you want to read, movies you want to see, a page of favorite quotes, anything. Don’t forget to number the pages and put them in your index!

Here’s one of my lists. It’s my yoga routine for the month of June.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

And there you have it! How to start a bullet journal the simple way.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

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We all know how hectic college life can be. Between juggling dense essay assignments and studying for tests, sometimes it can feel like we don’t have time for just about anything. This is where bullet journals come in.

Traditional forms of bullet journals have been replaced by digital bulleting journal apps. However, with a ton of apps on both the Apple and Android play stores, it can be a little hard sifting through these apps to find the right one. Luckily, this article features 5 of the best bullet journal apps to make it easier to organize aspects of your college life.

1. Good Notes

Good notes is an application that integrates the old fashioned form of taking notes, handwriting, with modern technology including files, documents and calendar. The software, however, limited to the Apple app store, is loaded with a ton of features all designed to make it easier to organize aspects of your college life including, file and document management.

There are many key benefits to having this software running on your IOS devices. For instance, it helps in organizing your assignments to make it easy to submit essays and study for tests time in time. Whenever the essay topic is related to life issues, you can search for essay topics on life online from the professional essay writing website. There are a ton of free life essay samples for you to choose from. Then proceed to take notes on this software, including details of the due date.

2. Elisi

Elisi is an application that brings digital bullet journals to both IOS and Android platforms. It helps you to plan tasks that you soon are aiming to accomplish. It does this by utilizing the to-do-list, which prioritizes tasks based on time.

Secondly, with this software, you can keep track of important tasks. For instance, you can track your progress while reading an essay on life or while exercising in the gym. Lastly and most importantly, you can take quick notes regardless of the time or location. There are so many features to look forward to including, calendar integration, planner, and in-app templates to make your college life easier.

3. The Bullet Journal Companion

If you are a purist who prefers the traditional form of bullet journaling, then this particular application is perfect for you. The Bullet Journal Companion is designed to work perfectly with those who are not ready to let go of the pen and paper. It keeps most ofthe features commonly found in a digital bulleting app, but it helps users take down notes, tasks, ideas, and key dates on their personal journals.

This softyware requires you to reflect on your goals, plans, and notes. You can tweak the number of times it does this, but the default setting is for two reminders. As you continue to use the app, you will realize the set of guidelines set in place to help you with your digital bulleting journey. The app is available to both IOS and Android platforms.

How to bullet journal and organize your life (a step-by-step guide)

4. Dynalist

This is arguably the best bullet journaling app available on both android and IOS apps stores. Its software is smooth and boasts a large number of features, including Markdown support, marking important dates, and internal links to other files and documents, just mention.

Dynalist combines the basic functions of a digital bulleting application with daily logs and bookmarking. Daily-logs is a feature that requires users to take notes daily. For instance, it is easy to track down your daily progress with regard to the essays on life mentioned earlier. It can get a little complicated at times. However, there is a demo version that gives you a complete tutorial on how to use the app. If you need help with your assignment, find numerous free life essays examples online.

5. Trello

Available on both Android and IOS app stores, Trello is one of the best electronic online bullet journals. Trello has several features that make it stand out. However, you can take down notes using your voice. The speech capabilities make this application unique and efficient. There are both paid and free subscription plans that are dependent on your personal requirements.

Verdict

Bullet journaling is a concept familiar to most, especially college students. This system of journaling helps you to collect your thoughts, plans, goals, and ideas in an organized way. As a result, you are introduced to a new span of control that allows you to meet both their short and long term goals. Any of these apps listed should be of use in helping you achieve your goals.