Ever wondered what’s so great about bullet journaling? You’ve seen Bullet Journals everywhere and you’re intrigued. You’d like to begin but have no idea where to start. If this sounds like you, read more! I have tips on how to start bullet journaling and how it all began.
What is bullet journaling?
Bullet Journaling is an organizational tool for creatives to personalize and systematize anything from a simple to-do list, to weekly or day planners, to journaling and keeping track of habits.
The Bullet Journal system was created by Ryder Carroll, an entrepreneur who grew up with attention deficit disorder; he and his creative mind needed a resource that worked with him instead of against him.
The few tools that I could find were either too rigid or too complicated. They didn’t work the way that my mind worked.
– Ryder Carroll
Therein was born The Bullet Journal.
Ryder Carroll’s bullet journaling is simple, organized in such a way to make sure he never misses important events or deadlines, but with the flexibility to prioritize entries with their level of importance (or even to simply reschedule them).
A big misconception about ADD is that we can’t focus.
In my experience, I could focus. I was just focusing on too many things at the same time.
– Ryder Carroll
Why Bullet Journal?
The concept is: once it’s on paper, you no longer need to stress about it – it’s there.
It’s not bouncing around your mind at midnight when you’re trying to sleep, it’s not popping in at inopportune intimate moments, it’s not forgotten.
It helps to declutter your mind and to focus on what’s important.
It works to keep track of those ideas and trains of curious thought that can get lost so easily.
Ryder Carroll spoke at TedX on How To Lead an Intentional Life where he shares why he developed the Bullet Journal and how it can change your life. If you have 13 minutes, I highly recommend a listen:
These practices will help you close the gap from leading a distracted life to leading one of intention. It all begins with reflection – Ryder Carroll
And that is what I hope to help you do: reflect in a mindful way.
Since Carroll created the Bullet Journal, there are now thousands of variations. He does sell his own bullet journal (and app if you prefer sans-papier), but there are a ton of different notebooks and bullet journals being sold for the express purpose of creating your own solution.
More on this in Bullet Journaling 101…
STARTING OUT: 4 TIPS
#1 BE MINDFUL
It’s important to reign in what you’re going to use the Bullet Journal for. It’s not realistic or useful to want to cover ALL OF THE THINGS in your life when you start; you’ll end up getting overwhelmed and not bujo at all.
If you meditate on it, you’ll get a clearer idea of what you want to use your bujo for and what is a priority to start with. Then you may begin!
#2 START SIMPLE
Okay. So you’ve narrowed down your priorities. Now what? Start simple. Create simple spreads that can be glamourized if you so choose, but I recommend not to start all gun-ho.
Your first month may not be “Instagram-worthy” but that’s not the point – bullet journaling is extremely personal and customized for you – so start simple! You can work up from there and doodle within the negative space when you have time here and there.
What does simple look like ?
Spreads that have enough room for you to fill the pages and aren’t 70% flowers.
A focused pinterest board with inspo that isn’t completely random! Be strict with what makes it on your board by asking yourself if you LOVE it and if it makes you HAPPY. Your Bujo is a happy place.
Spreads that are useful and have all the information you need at a glance.
Spreads that aren’t a mind fudge to look at and figure out where you’re supposed to write this or that…
Note: Simple looks different for all of us – simple can be a monthly calendar with only numbers and the first letter of the day for some, and for others it’s boxes with the full day and the number all intricate… Simple is a spectrum depending on your style. What I’m saying is – you might have an image of what you want your bullet journal to look like. That’s fine – start simple and work your way up there.
#3 TRY, AND TRY AGAIN
Reality check: some of your spreads you will hate and want to stab with your pen. This is ill-advised but may occur. Consider yourself warned.
No, but seriously.
You can either start with pencil and then draw over your lines, but who gat time fo dat? You’ll probably go straight in pen and realize that you’ve totally miscalculated. S’all good! Keep going. Make something awesome out of your mistakes and keep trying.
You’ll be surprised after only a few weeks how different your first spread will look to your most recent ones. That’s the name of the game! My favorite weekly spread that I created was inspired from Pinterest, took way too much time (imo) and was my second month of bullet journaling.
And you know what?
It was awesome, beautiful, satisfying – but not useful.
So I tried again!
My favorite part of bullet journaling is planning the next month: figuring out what worked and what didn’t, then getting inspired for the next month. It’s like every month is a “New Year” where you get to start fresh and really hone down on those #goals.
What does revising look like?
You can either make notes at the end of your last weekly spread and jot down any remarks during the month, or some people prefer to keep this at the beginning of the month, where the Monthly Spread has things like a habit tracker, important events and notes.
Revising can also be realizing that a certain style is not 100% you after all.
Together, these 4 incredibly simple (and now maybe obvious) tips are what it takes to be true to yourself and de-cluttered with your mindset to bring your A-game to the Bujo.
You can jump right in if you already know what you will use it for and how you will do it. For those of you who aren’t so sure, however, I’ve created a worksheet to help guide you into bullet journaling so that you can know why, how, and where to start.
What you will reflect on is:
What do you want to use your bullet journal for?
How many resources are you willing to devote to this practice?
How often will you use your bullet journal?
What bullet journaling style suits you the best?
Helpful worksheet coming soon! Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to receive it!
Why reflect? Meaningful and focused reflection can help you avoid the overwhelm and FOMO due to being faced with too many decisions (and going f*#k it).
Bottom line; bullet journaling can help you. It most definitely can. Whether you’re a man or a woman, creative entrepreneur or stay-at-home-wizard – it can help. You is human person, thus you have thousands of thoughts a day. When those are organized, you do better. Plain and simple.
If you were hoping to learn what my bullet journal looks like, different spreads and styles, what pens and notebooks to use, and the full 101, coming next week: Bullet Journaling 101
Ryder Carroll: http://bulletjournal.com/