Beginner's guide to Bullet Journals: Part 1
Welcome to Part 1 of the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Bullet Journal. If you haven’t read the overview map of this 5 part guide, I suggest you do that first to get up to speed.
Do you love planning? Do you have your to-do lists written on scrap pieces of paper scattered all over the house?
Have you ever gotten to that frustrated stage where your current planner is no longer working for you? It just doesn’t have exactly what you needed?
If any of these scenarios resonate with you, then the bullet journal system might just be for you.
A bullet journal (or fondly referred to as a Bujo by avid fans) is all the rage these days. Even if you didn’t know what it was, I’m sure you would have come across it in one form or another. Maybe seen pictures of it on Pinterest or Instagram, or maybe you’ve even read some articles about it.
However, with all the beautiful bullet journal creations popping up everywhere, it tends to give people the misconception that a bullet journal is all about the intricate layouts and beautiful design aesthetics. When in actual fact, a bullet journal is, first and foremost, a productivity tool.
My bullet journal, and all the other beautiful fancy bujos out there, are just examples of how you could build upon the original framework of the system to make it completely your own. However, it is NOT a requirement that you need to be creative or spend ridiculous amounts of time to keep a bullet journal!
What exactly is a bullet journal?
In one sentence, a bullet journal is anything you want it to be! I know, how broad and general is that statement? But honestly, it’s the absolute truth.
A bullet journal can be your planner, to-do list, sketchbook, diary, and anything else all rolled into one convenient notebook! Don’t believe me? Keep reading!
The system relies on a few fundamental modules (more on this later!) that needs to be initially set up to make the whole system function cohesively. Once those are set up, it’s just a matter of turning to the next page and creating as you need, when you need it.
The bullet journal origins
One thing that surprises me the most is that half the people who picked up the bullet journal system didn’t even know who actually created it and how it came about.
The bullet journal system was originally created by Brooklyn based digital designer Ryder Carroll. Being frustrated and wanting to find the best way to organise his mind, he originally came up with the bullet journal concept as a way to help himself live a more intentional life.
Ryder spent many years conceptualizing the system, but it was in 2013 that he decided to share the system with the world. He launched a short how-to video on Youtube and the accompanying website www.bulletjournal.com, as they say, the rest was history! The main purpose of the site was to provide a home base for all and future bullet journalist. It is a free resource home to help beginners understand the system and teach them how to start their own bullet journal.
To fully understand the system and appreciate it for what it is, you need to start with the basic fundamentals. What better way to learn than directly from the source! Before we can move on, I highly recommend that you watch this quick ‘Introduction to Bullet Journal’ video from Ryder.
As you can see from the video, the bullet journal system is, at its most purest form, a quick and easy way to joint down all your tasks and appointments. Productive planning at its finest!
The components that make up a Bullet Journal
Sometimes the jargon in the bullet journal world can appear to be confusing for beginners. In fact, all these fancy words and concepts, it’s downright intimidating. It’s ok to admit it, I was in your shoes too when I first started researching about bullet journals.
But I promise you, once you familiarise yourself with the jargon, the system is actually not complicated at all. Below is a general overview of all the components that make up the foundations of a bullet journal framework. It consists of the following 4 elements:
This is essentially the ‘language’ of a bullet journal. Rapid logging is the process of adding topics (headings/titles) to a page, numbering those pages, writing down short quick concise notes and using the bullet keys and signifiers to help you organise those notes in a coherent way.
There are 5 main modules that help make up the foundations of the bullet journal system. Each module correlates to one another to help collect, organise and help make sense of your rapid logging. Although these modules are important, due to the flexible nature of the bullet journal system, they can be mixed, matched and omitted as needed.
The table of contents where every new topic or spread is referenced back to
This is where you schedule all your future events when you have not yet drawn up the current monthly log for it
This is where you schedule all your events for that particular month
This is where you schedule all your events & task for the week
This is what you use if you wanted a more in-depth break down of your day
This is where the real fun and customization occurs! Collections are everything that you decide to include in your bullet journal which doesn’t come under any of the modules as listed above. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what collections you can create in your bullet journal.
Migration is the process of reviewing your tasks and appointments and deciding whether to give it more thought and persist with it, or rub it out of your planning completely. This process can be done on a daily, weekly or monthly process.
Who would benefit from using this system?
I will reiterate, again and again, a bullet journal is anything you want it to be. If you are after an analogue planning system which has the flexibility to change as your needs change, then a bullet journal could be perfect for you. The system is so adaptable, it allows you the creative freedom to create just about anything that you might need. Many different people such as mums, students, professionals and creatives, all who live different lives, with different needs, can all still benefit and utilise the system.
There is something special and tactile about writing your thoughts down on paper, that a digital planner or program can never trump. Science has already proven that writing things down helps you remember and learn far better than typing. We can’t argue with Science right?!
A bullet journal can be kept as simple and pure with productivity as its main focus. Or you can customise it by adding other creative elements. The choice is completely up to you because the bullet journal system is flexible enough to accommodate all different needs.
Now that you have a better understanding of the concept of a bullet journal system, my next post will go into more depth explaining what all these elements are and how they correlate to one another to form a cohesive flow and function.
As always, please feel free to leave any questions which you would like me to elaborate on in a future article.
I’d love to know how you all got started with your bullet journal journey. Please leave a comment down below detailing how you first discovered the bullet journal, what it has done for you, and whether you knew the origins of it when you first started?