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DIY: Bullet Journal

By Mollee Shannon

As school starts back and those balmy summer breezes become a fond memory, it’s time to get organized! If, like me, you have a ton of plans, projects, and to-do’s awaiting your attention, you need a tool to help you get organized and breathe a little easier.

Also, if you’re like me, if the task isn’t written down, it doesn’t get done, so the Bullet Journal, also known as BuJo, is the perfect tool for you! 

Feeling Bookish 

The first thing you’ll need to do is acquire a journal. For those of us who can never get enough stationery, choosing a fresh journal gives us a butterflies. All of those blank pages feel like so many possibilities! Be sure you don’t spend too much on your first journal. Chances are, you’ll want to experiment with the structure and flow of your journal. If you experiment a lot in your journal, you might be tempted to start over in another one. This first time around, don’t get too attached to the look and quality of the journal itself. If it’s bound and has blank pages (or lined if you prefer), it will do just fine! 

Mapping Your Process  

The first thing you’ll want to establish in your BuJo is the index. The index acts like a key on a map. You can color code difference types of activities -- purple is for errands, blue is for meetings, green is for the kids’ activities. Or, if you prefer, you can use different bullets for each activity. Square bullets are for work-related tasks, stars are for items of high importance, and circles are for social activities. The best part about a Bullet Journal is that it’s completely customizable to your preferences! 

Ready, Set, Write! 

Once you’ve established your methodology, take a pen (or pencil) to that pristine journal. In the back of your book, create categorized lists. These lists can include movies to see, books to read, recipes to try out, locations to visit, or even long-term projects to complete, like sending in your old media to be digitized! Most Bullet Journalists create a daily, monthly, and future log. Daily logs include small tasks that can be accomplished in one day. For example, stop by the bank, fold the laundry, deliver a package to the post office, attend the PTA meeting. Daily lists serve as reminders for little things that sometimes slip through the cracks of our busy days. Monthly logs set goals for the month based on some of your category items. Monthly logs might remind you to pick up that book instead of pressing that ever-so-tempting “Continue Watching” button your TV’s streaming service, or remind you of a new recipe you’d like to cook. Bullet journalists cross items off their daily, monthly, and category lists as they go. Then, they’ll look back on their lists, reflecting on their accomplishments for the month. Future logs are a great way to let your fancies fly. Think of your Future log as a place where you list long-term projects you’d like start, such as remodeling the kitchen. It can also act as a “bucket list,” where you write down those trips you’ve always wanted to take, or activities you’d like to experience in your lifetime, like going zip lining or visiting the Eiffel Tower! 

Tips and Tricks 

Don’t be afraid to get messy! I know when confronted with a pristine bundle of pages, I feel the need for every letter of every line to be perfect! But just like life, Bullet Journals are supposed to messy. You can jot down notes throughout the day, in case you hear something interesting you don’t want to forget. Most practitioners of BuJo use dashes for notes. Bullet Journals are intended to be the receptacle for those thoughts and self-reminders that circulate in our heads! Getting that nebula out of your head and onto paper will  help you relax, and you’ll remember your to-do’s much better! Numerous studies have shown that writing by hand helps commit things to memory, so you’ll be doing yourself and your memory a favor! Remember, Bullet Journals do not have to be extensive or verbose. They are simple lists to aid your memory and help you reflect on your accomplishments! You’ll be surprised at how accomplished you’ll feel, looking back on all those items you’ve crossed off your daily, monthly, and future logs! And as always with BuJo, don’t forget to have a little fun! 

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