- Do you find yourself forgetting daily tasks?
- Do you wish you were more organized?
- Are you tracking your short-term and long-term goals…on paper?
- Do you LOVE buying cool pens and other stationery goods?
- Do you need to slow down & unplug from all of your devices to get back to the good ol’ days of pen & paper?
If you answered yes to all/most of these questions, perhaps bullet journaling is for you! And because you are on this site, you are most likely a Star Wars fan…so here it is…bullet journaling, STAR WARS STYLE!
What the heck is a bullet journal?
A bullet journal is simply a personal customizable organization system that can be kept in notebook, sketchbook, or journal. YOU are in control of the tasks you write down, your goals, your timelines, your ideas, your doodles…whatever. It is a fun and creative way to get organized and achieve your goals. There is no right or wrong way to bullet journal.
Why should I write this down? I can simply create a task on my mobile device.
Yes, you can. If that works for you, terrific. Studies have shown that it is easier to retain information when using books and handwriting notes. Writing/drawing stimulates and engages your brain better than typing. In addition, studies have also shown that those who write down their goals and dreams on a regular basis, achieve those desires at a significantly higher level than those that do not write down their goals.
What can I use to keep a bullet journal?
You can use anything you want, a spiral notebook, a binder, or one of the many journals that are available on the market today. Some of the top contenders are: Leuchtturm 1917, Rhodia, & Moleskine. They come in all shapes, and colors, and have page options with lines, grids, or dots. I use a Leuchtturm 1917 medium size hardcover (size A5) with dotted pages. Factors for choosing this journal over the others was the size, the feel, the overall quality, the blank table of contents, and the weight of the paper. There is slight bleed through present on the Leuchtturm paper, but it is not distracting. I prefer this over heavier paper weight.
I have a journal, now what?
You have a journal, you have convinced yourself that you want to be more organized. What do you put in all of these blank pages? Its intimidating at first. The possibilities are endless. What works for me is, breaking things down into sections, like this:
- A Future View: high level calendar with tasks looking over 6-12 months
- Goals/To Do List
- Various goals broken into smaller tasks to track milestones
- Month View with a tracker
- Daily View
This one is pretty easy. I drew out 6 months worth of calendars, and then listed a few high level dates of importance. Its nice for having a big level picture of what the year looks like. Adding your own personal doodles spices things up.
Goals/To Do List
I dedicated a few pages in the bullet journal to various tasks that I need to complete. I have short term and long term tasks listed. For those tasks that have multiple steps, I list the task on this page, and then have a page reference to another page where the task is broken down. For example, one of my goals in 2017 was to build a DIY 3D printer. I listed this item as a task on this page, but referred to page 14 where this task is broken down into milestones, shown in the next section.
Various goals broken into smaller tasks to track milestones
I have found that breaking larger goals into smaller tasks really helps to stay focused on the goal, and see progress. When you don’t track these acheivements, its easy to become discouraged and give up. 2 of the goals that I am currently tracking are: building a DIY 3D printer and completing a self-study Japanese textbook with 12 chapters. Here is how I’m tracking them:
Month View with a Tracker
With the month view, a bullet journal-er can take a deeper dive into appointments, events, and tasks that will be occurring. These items might be birthdays, dr visits, company events, sporting events, etc. Anything. In addition to the month view, I’ve found it helpful to tack on a monthly “tracker”. These are small items that you are attemping to accomplish on a daily basis. Perhaps you would like to run every day. Or have a day without TV. Maybe you want to try to read a little every day. And it sounds funny…but try to floss everyday? Whatever you are trying to track on a daily basis, can go on your tracker. It is so satisfying to check one of those boxes off.
Following your Month View, you can break tasks down daily with the Daily View. Here is where you can list the objectives that you’d like to complete on a certain day. This section is where you’ll spend most of your time, making a task list, and completing them throughout the day.
Tying it all together
Again, there is no right or wrong way to bullet journal. The sections listed above are what work for me. You may be asking yourself how many pages do I designate for each section? The answer is: its up to you…and you don’t really have to leave empty pages. Enter the table of contents.
The Leuchtturm 1917 comes with pre-numbered pages, which is another reason I like it. I started my bullet journal at the beginning of July, 2017. You can start it anytime, you don’t have to start it at the beginning of a year or specific month. Just start journaling. My first entry was on pages 2-3 of my journal. I drew 6 months of calendars with major events. Next, I wrote my To Do list. I did leave an extra 2 pages for this, just personal preference. Next, I started my Month View with July. I started it at page 6 and left an open hyphen on my table of contents. When I finished entering my July Month View and Daily View, it ended on page 13, so I filled that in on my table of contents. On my To Do list, I had some tasks that needed to be broken down. So on pages 14 and 15, i listed them in the ToC. Next, I started my August Month View and Daily View. Your ToC is ever-changing. Just keep building on it.
One of the fun things about having a bullet journal is buying cool pens. At the end of the journal, you can carve out a pen test page to see how each of the pens look before you begin using it on your pages.
Don’t worry if you make a mistake. Cross it out, use white out, cover it with something else. Its going to happen. This is your personal journal, you will most likely be the only one reading and writing entries. Don’t get stressed out over it. Have fun, and learn from it. To minimize mistakes, I typically sketch & write in a 4H shade pencil, then go over it with my Faber-Castel PITT pens. I erase any pencil lines with a soft eraser. The erasers from Pentel are excellent, they remove the pencil lines, and don’t smear or wrinkle the paper.
There are lots of bullet journaling doodle ideas on pinterest and other websites. While traveling in Japan, I found a nice Star Wars doodle book and picked it up. Amazon has tons of easy drawing idea books with cute characters, doodles, designs, and title blocks.