Learn the Basics of Bullet Journaling

Take this 5-day challenge!

You don’t need anything special to start

One of the beautiful things about the bullet journal method is that it doesn’t require any special materials. For this five-day challenge DON’T use that special notebook you’ve been saving for when you finally start your beautiful dream bullet journal. Instead, grab a notebook — any notebook! Blank, lined, gridded, dotted… any type will do. Then, after spending these five days learning the basics of bullet journaling, reward yourself by starting your “real” bujo on January 1st.

I love my dot-grid Baron Fig Confidants and Vanguards, but to prove that you don’t need a special notebook to bullet journal I’m going to use a plain old college-ruled notebook during this five-day challenge. What notebook will you be using?

Show me your notebook! Share a picture to your Instagram or Facebook account and tag it with the #bujobasicschallenge hashtag!

The heart of the bullet journal method

Rapid logging is what made the bullet journal revolutionary. Without it a “bujo” is simply a notebook turned into a custom planner. Watch the official @bulletjournal video at bulletjournal.com to learn the basics of rapid logging and you will have a clean, simple method of capturing all your thoughts and ideas. The “bullets” @rydercarroll presents today are a bit different from those in his original video, but the concepts are the same. I bring this up to point out that changing, refining, and customization are integral to bullet journaling. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but do focus on learning the basics first. When you add customizations only keep them if you find they actually help you. Do what works for you, don’t let your bujo become work.

In my 4+ years of bullet journaling I’ve tried adding fancy signifiers to my rapid log but always come back to the basics. Most of the time all you need is ∙ / ✕ >< — ◦ and ⭐︎.

Use the rapid log method to dump all your thoughts onto the page. Start with the date, then write down ∙to-dos ◦upcoming events and — any other random thoughts. Don’t overthink it; simply get your thoughts out of your head and onto the page. Share a picture to your Instagram or Facebook account and tag it with the #bujobasicschallenge hashtag!

AKA master lists

A collection is simply a page or spread set aside for a single topic. If you find yourself frequently noting books you want to read in your rapid log, you might want to start a “to read” collection. If you want to plan your meals for the whole week in one place, make a collection by setting aside a spread to do so. Let the creation of collections be organic; don’t force them. When a need becomes apparent use the next blank page or spread. Don’t create a fancy layout simply because you got excited by one that you found on Instagram. Create collections that will actually serve you.

Project plans, gift lists, habit trackers, songs that touched me, article ideas… these are a few of the collections I’ve created over the years. The sky’s the limit!

Did any of these collection ideas resonate with you? What is one collection that will help clear your mind of clutter? Share a picture to your Instagram or Facebook account and tag it with the #bujobasicschallenge hashtag!

Keep it simple… at least at first

@rydercarroll advocates the use of a very minimal approach to the monthly spread. You don’t need any rulers or colored pens or anything else special to create it: the left-hand page is a simple numbered column with SMTWTFS added to signify the days of the week, and the right-hand page is a rapid log task list. Use this spread as a brief overview. Keep entries short but clear enough to easily reference. Use abbreviations if that makes things easier, but don’t go overboard — if you constantly have to look up what an abbreviation means then shorthand is pointless!

I have used various monthly layouts over the years (swipe to see some of them) but I only began experimenting after months of using the original version. By then I knew what worked and what didn’t so I was able to quickly find a layout that would make my planning go more smoothly, not complicate it.

We may be at the end of the month, but create a spread for December anyway. Reflect on the month and note some of the things that happened, whether special or mundane. Use the rapid log page to note anything that comes to mind, from tasks you’ve already completed to those last things you want to finish by the end of 2018. Share a picture to your Instagram or Facebook account and tag it with the #bujobasicschallenge hashtag!

And a look at the evolution of the bullet journal

When @rydercarroll first presented the idea of the bullet journal to the world the method didn’t have any good way to plan beyond the current month. The bujo community online quickly started coming up with their own solutions. Eventually Ryder took inspiration from that and added a future log to the official bullet journal method. This is a great example of how the creativity of the bullet journal community on Instagram and Pinterest has enhanced the bujo beyond the basics. Looking at the sea of creativity can be overwhelming at first, but can be so helpful if you go to is looking for a solution to a particular problem.

I have tried a variety of future log layouts over the years. What works best for me is a minimal layout (surprise, surprise) with a little space to note a few important events and tasks. Others might need more room, but my future notes tend to be sparse.

Reflect on what sort of future log will be most helpful to you. What specific “problem” do you need to solve — that is, what struggle in your life will this spread help you to overcome? Are you always forgetting birthdays? Do you need to plan out mini-deadlines for large goals? Once you determine what you need in a future log, explore #bulletjournalfuturelog and #bujofuturelog for inspiration. Focus on finding the type of layout that will be most helpful to you. Then show us what you come up with! Share a picture to your Instagram or Facebook account and tag it with the #bujobasicschallenge hashtag!

Keep up the good work!

If you have completed all 5 days of the #bujobasicschallenge — congratulations! I have some bonus content to help you continue this bullet journaling habit into the rest of your year. Want the bonus content? Click here.

In short, your assignment today is to review the official bullet journal concepts at bulletjournal.com and feel free to tag me @jordanelisheva when you post pictures of your 2019 bullet journal! I’d love to see it.

Wife💑Mama👧👦Entrepreneur✍️Cut the time you spend writing in half: http://civanpro.com/blink

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