Have you heard about BuJo? Well, that’s a fancy word, used for a simple and traditional To-Do planner and tracker system, called the Bullet Journal. The idea of BuJo is to serve as handy productivity and planner system, which can help you organize, plan and track your tasks, notes, events, plans, and ideas and rapidly scan through them with the help of simple symbol keys.
Productivity via BuJo
(Get organized with Bullet Journaling)
The bullet journal is basically a well-organized notebook, (seriously, look at the inspiration), which allows you to classify your tasks without too much of writing and get an idea of their status in a glance.
BuJo is for those, who prefer the traditional way of keeping a notebook planner instead of an app and is ideal for those crafty people, who like colorful pens, fancy markers, stickers, and cool notebooks. The good thing about this planner is that, once you understand its basics, you can personalize it to perfectly fit your life and personality.
Apart from scheduling tasks, you can use your BuJo to add collections of information, (quotes, notes, ideas, drawings), to monitor your habits, to increase your productivity on certain tasks, to keep a track on your health, exercise, diet, your goals progress, future plans, and anything that you might be interested in. You can create your monthly, weekly and daily spreads and be as creative or as minimalistic as you like.
As much as I love digital tools and regularly make use of some great apps, the old-fashioned notebook planner is still a staple in my desk. In fact, the act of writing down things on paper helps me to declutter mentally and to process my thoughts.
If you are new to the BuJo method and want to give it a try, in the next lines, I am going to tell you exactly how to start a BuJo journal and how to use it to your benefit. In fact, let me show you the quick video by Ryder Carrol, the creator of The Bullet Journal, which explains the whole thing:
In short, BuJo is a method of keeping track of stuff and plan your days. I find it both creative and very helpful and, in the next paragraphs, I will show you all that you need to start bullet journaling.
What do you need to start bullet journaling?
The best thing about starting a bullet journal is that you only need two things – a notebook and a pen. This is one of the most affordable planning systems and you really don’t need anything much to start creating yours immediately.
If you are a bit crafty or plan to use your bullet journal also for art journaling, doodling, hand lettering, and other creative purposes, however, you will probably find joy in picking a cool notebook and some colorful pens, markers, brush pens and stickers to keep things not only simple and well organized but also visually appealing. My pick is usually a lined or blank page journals which I can customize for my needs but you can pick a dot or grid one – really, anything works!
Here is some inspiration and useful supplies to get started with Bujoing:
Notebooks – There is a lot of variety when it comes to notebooks that you can choose from, based on your needs.
- Spiral notebook
- Pocked size notebook
- Soft or hardcover journal
- Leather cover journal
- Official Bullet Journal notebook set
- Water Resistant Paper Note
Pens and Markers – To follow the original bullet journal method you really don’t need anything much than a single (fancy) pen you enjoy writing with. However, I also use a handy multicolor pen because it helps me easily screen through my notes by colors and keep them organized, as well as a highlighter for some important tasks or NB notes.
The good thing is that you can hack into any bookstore near you or get your entire set of favorite bullet journal items online and start your planner right away.
THE BULLET JOURNAL KEYS
The core of the bujo method is the bullet journal key symbols, which help you to write, organize, track and scan your notes and tasks quickly. As the creator of the bujo system, Ryder Carroll, explains, every task in the bullet journal is marked with a bullet point, every event with a circle and the notes with a dash. Aside from these original symbols, you can create your own and also add signs for extra information. For instance:
- An exclamation mark = for new ideas and inspiration.
- A star = for important events.
- A question mark = to mark something you need to verify or ask, etc.
Everything is up to you! The point is to keep the keys and signs simple and in a way that works for you! Here is an example: My suggestion is to start with the original keys and then adapt to your own preferences and needs.
The index section in your bullet journal is a place where you list your entries and their respective pages in order to navigate to them faster and to be able to find what you need. Whether or not you really need an index is up to you but it may really help you find a particular page in your journal, once it gets filled with information.
BULLET JOURNAL FUTURE LOG
The future log page is one of the first collection pages you set up in a bullet journal. This page can give you a quick overview of the future months. I find it practical for adding your important long-term plans, tasks, and events and having them at a glance.
It is also useful for adding birthdays, anniversaries, vacation plans, travel plans, concerts, holidays, and coming events, etc. There are many ways that you can set up a future log spread. Depending on your needs, you can list all the months in one page, or place just a few, with a date calendar and more space for adding your notes.
The monthly spread is a quick overview of your current month at a glance. It is, basically, a calendar where you add your main monthly events, appointments, and notes. I like to use blocks like a spread because I am more of a visual person, however, the original bullet journal spread is just a simple vertical list with dates.
The weekly spread is where you place all the weekly events. Since I usually plan my tasks week by week, this section gets a bit more detailed and, sometimes, I put some more efforts to make it colorful in order to easily scan through the different notes, but other times I just go with a minimalist spread and mark the most important. I find the weekly overview very helpful to keep a track on my progress during the week and to migrate the remaining tasks to the next day.
In the daily spreads, you can plan all your daily activities. Some people may not feel the need to write long-term overviews like weekly, monthly or yearly spreads and only use daily logs to write down their day-to-day tasks, track habits, add quick notes, quotes, reminders, or just capture their thoughts. Again, that is totally fine as long as it helps you keep your tasks and plans in check.
CUSTOM BULLET JOURNAL COLLECTIONS
Aside from the main structure of the original bullet journal (yearly, monthly, weekly, daily logs and index), many people use the bujo system for personal collections of different information. The bujo notebook is ideal for organizing pages of related information or quick notes on a particular subject. Therefore, feel free to use the bujo method about anything and everything you want to track and organize. Here are some more ideas on collections that you can create:
- Weekly meals planner
- Fitness tracker
- Monthly budget planner
- Spending tracker
- Yearly Goals
- Travel plans
- Mood tracker
- Decluttering schedule
THE CREATIVE SIDE OF BULLET JOURNALING
This is where the real fun is! The original Bullet Journal is all about being productive, organized and efficient but many of us have found balance, order, and fulfillment by using creativity in our bullet journals. BuJo is designed to be whatever you need it to be. Therefore, you could use it as a creative outlet if you wish.
I find it very therapeutic to doodle on my ideas, so some of my pages are normally full of simple drawings, lines, marks, circles and notes in different colors and fonts. But even if you are not the creative type and need a simple planner for more professional purposes, I believe you still can be creative and have fun using the bujo method for support in your daily tasks.
So don’t neglect both, the professional and the artistic side of bullet journaling and check out some simple and art bujo pages here for more inspiration!
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