Monday, January 30, 2017

Bullet Journal: getting started

This year, I have decided to try the bullet journal to organize, well, everything. It's been a little over 3 weeks and I'm loving it. I love that my schedule and my thoughts and ideas are all in one place. Back in the days when I was using pre-printed planners, I had to carry a separate notebook to write down my random thoughts, which often was far from organized and rarely looked over again. The beauty of keeping everything in one place is that, when I come up with some interesting ideas that are not relevant to the task I'm currently working on, I can just jot down that idea onto my journal and put my focus back onto the current task. You know, those seemingly brilliant ideas always pop up when you're doing something else. But now I know, with the bullet journal, I'll be able to look at that idea and work on it later if it still seems like a good idea. And in the bullet journal system, everything I write down has a page number so I can go back to it easily. Clever.

I love its flexibility too. Because you'll use a blank notebook, it's up to you to decide how you'd like to write out your day, tasks, ideas, inspirations etc. You can make it fancy by using colored pens and pencils, decorating with stickers, drawing some cute pictures, using fancy fonts but you can also make it very simple by using just a black pen. 

Yes, there is a standard way of writing the bullet journal, which is explained in the official bullet journal site. So far I'm following the idea of the Index, which lists the topics of your "collections" (notes, schedules, project ideas, goals etc.) and their page numbers, and the daily log. I don't do the future log because I keep those future events and tasks in my Google calendar. I still find that ping on my phone as a reminder useful, and an electronic calendar seems easier for me to organize future plans because future plans always change and a lot of my future tasks are recurring ones. Instead of the monthly log, I only write down my monthly goals.

My journal, however, has a week log, which lists major events for the week and my goals, things I want to accomplish for the week. I go through a separate to-do list that has all the things I need to get done or want to do in the future, and the tasks I couldn't finish the previous week. Then I pick a couple that has higher priority or are relevant for that particular week. My daily tasks (other than the recurring ones like paying bills or routine cleaning) are created from these weekly goals. Yes, there are lots of repetition in here like writing down the same tasks twice in the weekly log and the daily log and check back on my to-do list again and again. But as is said in the official bullet journal site, this repetition is 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.
[...] to distill the things that are truly worth the effort, to become aware of our own patterns and habits, and to separate the signal from the noise." (

If you search on the Internet, there are literally hundreds of interesting "collections" to add to your journal. For example, I love this morning routine spread. I even made a nighttime one too. 

I also like the "2016 in review" page in this journal, which has many more beautiful pages.

Not necessarily relevant to my journal but I like this "to be read" page as well.

This idea of taping a card with key to the edge of the journal seems useful and I have already incorporated it into my journal.

And for many more inspirations, check out this article "6 Instagram must follows for the bullet journal obsessed". I don't have such beautiful drawing skills or time for that matter but I still love looking at them.

Let's see if I can keep up with my journal for the whole year. And I'll write how it went at the end of the year. If you're already writing the bullet journal and have ideas you'd like to share, please let us know in the comment section :)

For more about the bullet journal:

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