One of the secrets of getting more done is to make a TO DO List every day, keep it visible, and use it as a guide to action as you go through the day.
-Jean De La Fontaine
Perhaps you’re one of those people that has no idea what a Bullet Journal is. I know that was me 3 months ago. Or perhaps you’ve heard of it but have no idea where to begin. That was me 3 months ago as well.
I’ve been doing something like Bullet Journaling for 3 months now and am happy to give a report and a vote for why YOU should also start something like a Bullet Journal. I say I’ve been doing something like Bullet Journaling because there’s an official copyrighted system called the Bullet Journal. While what I’m doing is definitely inspired by the Bullet Journal system, it is not a Bullet Journal in the purest form.
How is this Better than my Daily To-Do List?
You know how you can have a couple of different lists running in your head and it’s always a challenge to remember what was on that list? Or, if you have the foresight to actually write the lists down, it’s a challenge to find the various pieces of paper and make sense of them. No? Just me? Well, keeping a bullet journal has helped me make that brain dump and not have to worry about forgetting that one other item I was supposed to get from the grocery store. I can keep track of my personal goals, habits, books I want to read, and so much more, all in one place.
In a nutshell, all you need is a notebook and a pencil (or a pen). You might also want to consider a ruler, but it is not necessary. Pretty simple, right?
First, you can use any notebook you can get your hands on. You can use a spiral bound notebook, looseleaf book, or a hardbound book. There seems to be a large following for the Leuchtturm 1917 and because sometimes I like to follow the herd, it is the one I chose to use. It is a 249 page notebook. The pages are numbered and you can choose if you want it blank, lined or marked with a grid. I chose the grid version so that I could draw boxes, but obviously you go with what strikes your fancy. The journal has 2 bookmarks in it, a table of contents section, and a folder in the back to keep small items. It lays flat while you’re working in it, so it’s really easy to use.
For the pencil or pen, you can use whatever is floating around on your desk at the time- at least that’s what I do. A lot of folks spend a lot of time looking for the most perfect pen with the most perfect color and tip point.
I purchased these rulers when I started my journal. I do like clean lines and I love that these come in a handy plastic sleeve and fit in the pocket inside the journal.
When you first look at people’s setups, it can be overwhelming. Some very creative people are using their journal as an outlet. They have graphs and pictures that I can’t even begin to create. What I’m outlining here are the bare minimum steps to get you going.
The first thing you should do is take 15 minutes to brainstorm the types of things you want to keep track of. Here’s a snapshot of some of the things I keep track of:
This is also a nice shot of what the Table of Contents looks like and its use.
You’ll see that my lists and trackers are all throughout the book. I’ve got my daily and weekly To-Do Lists sprinkled in between (I’ve chosen not to put those in the Table of Contents because I use my bookmark to keep track of what needs to be done today). And this right here is the true beauty of the journal- whatever list or item you want to jot down goes on the next blank page in your notebook. It doesn’t matter that I have a bunch of my long term goals and trackers in the front of the book and then others halfway through. If I want to refer to any of them, I can go to the Table of Contents. I can make today’s To Do list on one page and bookmark it while also bookmarking my Quotes list on a different page.
Do I have tons of pictures? Nope. Colors? Nope. Stickers? Nope. Are you creative and want to add those in? Go for it!!
That’s it! That’s all you need to get started with your journal. Remember, the beauty is that whatever you want to journal about or keep track of goes on the next blank page. The simplicity is genius!
In my next post about bullet journaling, I’ll dive into my layouts and what I keep track of. But in the meantime, as you think about 2017 and all that you want to do, consider starting something like a Bullet Journal. And if you do start one, let me know in the comments!
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