My New Year’s Resolution, way back in January, was ‘be more organised’. It’s something I’ve tried and failed to do again and again, but this year I’m making a really good go of it, and it’s all thanks to Bullet Journaling.
I realised back in high school that the more time I spend making notes the way I want them – with doodles, colours, and my trademark sense of humour, the more information I absorb. It’s the same principle with bullet journaling. I find it really difficult to stick to a strict planner layout, and the Bullet Journal system gives me a little more freedom.
Bullet Journaling as a system is incredibly simple. First, you set out a key for your different bullet symbols. Here’s mine:
So an empty box is a task to be done. A box with an X is a completed task. A circle is an event. A box or a circle with a line through has been cancelled, and a box with a ‘>’ is one that I postponed for another time.
And there are all sorts of fun symbols that in practice I never use – the heart is a birthday, the star is something inspirational, and the simple bullet is just anything I felt the need to make a note of.
Here’s what a journal page with these symbols looks like:
My more questionable hobbies aside, this is what the average busy week looks like for me. As I’ve kept up with the journal, my weekly spreads have become bigger and encompassed more information. My latest one has a section on meal planning for the week, and I’ve seen some people add daily water and sleep trackers as well. Your bullet journal can be whatever you need it to be, and I think that’s lovely.
For me, I have a mood tracker for the entire year near the front. Since I suffer pretty horribly with depression and anxiety (which you can read about here) I find it really useful to track my mood on a large scale. I also have a list of books that I’ve read, movies I’ve watched, and important holidays and birthdays.
At the start of every month, I draft up a monthly spread, where I can see the whole month at a glance in a mini-calendar, look at my goals for the month, and track important habits. Here’s a look at my monthly spread for January and my Habit Tracker for March:
And yeah, alright, this kind of aesthetic-heavy journaling is not for everyone, but if you’re put off by the complexity of the spreads people pull off, don’t be. I can’t art for shit, and look how sort-of-okay I’ve done. I think the key to bullet journaling – well, to all kinds of creative expression really – is just to go for it, and do your best to stop worrying about how it will look. Really early on into my journal I completely flubbed my ‘Future Log’ page (which is supposed to be an at-a-glance reference for the rest of the year), and honestly, I think that early mistake really pushed me to go ‘screw it’, and just scribble stuff down and decorate it later, which is exactly what I did with this spread. I’m really proud of it, so I’m just gonna go ahead and post it right here.