How to Bullet Journal

Just. Do. It.

No really, that’s it! There will be people who claim you need certain things or have to make it look a certain way, but that’s just false and a form of gatekeeping.

Getting Started

What is Bullet Journalling?

Bullet Journalling got its name from what it was originally created to be: a bulleted list to help with productivity. Here is an article about the beginning of bullet journalling and its conception, if you’re interested in that.

There are a lot of people who will try to define bullet journalling with the idea that there is a collection of attributes that qualify what someone is doing or not, but that is not the case (at least in my opinion). Creating a method and space for one’s productivity is enough to be a part of the BuJo community. Whether that is scribbling a list on a napkin every week or creating an intricate tracking system for chores in a notebook or creating a beautiful and artistic daily/weekly/monthly planner. Someone can use bullet journalling as a way to manage anxiety/depression, while another uses it as a form of creativity, and another to keep their busy life organized. The customization possibilities and reasons behind it are endless, which is what makes this activity so intriguing to me.

Why aren’t more people bullet journalling? Unfortunately, there is a large community of people who make it seem like a large time commitment that requires artistic abilities and expensive supplies. That’s just not the case.

The beauty of bullet journaling is that you can make it as efficient, simple, and creative as you need. So, realistically anyone who desires to be more productive and/or organized can do it.

What about when I don’t have any time to BuJo?

Oh, but you do, my friend. You don’t have to spend more than a few minutes thinking about it and a few seconds to scribble it out in the moment. Think about what you need on the toilet or while driving to work or walking from your car. There are silent moments sprinkled throughout our days where you can make a game plan for yourself. And when it comes to the actual use of the BuJo, you can scribble a heading and take the minute it requires to choose a system of symbols. Trust me, you will actually save time by taking a minute to center yourself on the page/screen. I mean, you had the time to read this, which means you can take a few minutes to benefit your. own productivity. Additionally, once you have a system down, you can just continue to use it forever. So the effort is front loaded.

It’s similar to laying your clothes out the night before to save time the following day. It only takes a second, but saves you the headache later. Meal planning is another example. Take the hour or so to plan out your meals for the week/month, so that you don’t have to spend more accumulated time day by day trying to decide what you want to make which ultimately takes more time, maybe even causing you to give up and get takeout.

If you want even more efficiency, some people even plan out a daily/weekly/monthly setup and reuse the layout each time, so it really is only an hour or two of thoughtful planning one time and a few minutes each time to duplicate the layout that will save countless hours of time and energy. Trust me, almost always the time it takes to center oneself with a plan/system is paid back in excess by the stress it relieves and time it saves down the line.

What You Need

my Notion

All you will ever need to start a BuJo is something to write with and on and a little bit of thought. And I mean as little or much time/thought as you want. You can even just take a few minutes to find someone else’s method and copy it. Like I said, as simple or complex as you desire.

I find great joy in bullet journalling, and I spend so much of my time and energy using my BuJo, that I have invested a bit more money into quality products that 1) make setting up my BuJo more efficient and 2) make adding an aesthetic appearance to my BuJo easier. Those products usually come from Archer & Olive.

Archer & Olive is by far my favorite woman owned small business that sells high quality stationary. I’ve never found a more bang for your buck set of products. What’s even more awesome is that they have a quarterly themed subscription box that contains a collection of various stationary items that all match a theme/color scheme. Purchasing one of these boxes is a great way to get started with products guaranteed to work and make your BuJo look nice (because they all match).

If you would like to give Archer & Olive a try, use code ‘pragmastery’ for 10% off your order! I promise, you will not be disappointed. Their products are luxurious and make getting aesthetic spreads effortless.

*affiliate link

You Can Even Go Digital

Believe it or not, but you can bullet journal on your computer in a notes application or even something like Notion.

I use Notion for cataloguing things like links, quotes, wishlists, and other things that would take up too much space and time to create in a physical journal. I also use Notion for things that I may need at any moment (like doctor appointments or grocery lists), because I can pull it up on my phone without having to have a physical journal with me; I always have my phone with me.

I am in, what’s next?

The most simplified and basic form of bullet journalling is list making. You can either create your own system for this or use the original method that I have linked here. It would literally take only a few seconds to write a symbol key down to get right into list making.

But, if you are looking for a bit more than just lists on a blank page, give this WordPress a follow (or sign up using your email) so you don’t miss my upcoming pieces on How to Make Functional BuJo Spreads & What Spreads I Use and How to Make a Functional BuJo Look Artsy When You’re Not Artistic.

Remember, your BuJo doesn’t have to have any of the extra decorative fluff that you see on the internet. If you’re intimidated, start purely functional before dabbling in making it look aesthetically pleasing. If you’re already at functional, then slowly build up the decorative elements by trying new things. I will have some more in depth examples and advice for functional and Additional Spreads to Add to Your BuJo For Fun (memory keeping, interactive, decorative, & more).

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