*The first two segments are all about the concept of a bullet journal and how to set up your own. If you already have one, feel free to skip ahead to the page ideas.
What is a bullet journal?
Bullet journaling is simply an on-paper method of normal journaling, created by Ryder Carroll as a system for organization and keeping track of your life. A standard bullet journal has four main components: an index, a future log, a month overview, and daily logs. Though it can follow a strict system, you can also take a looser approach and use creative liberty to adapt and make it your own.
How it can make you more organized and improve your life
The whole concept of a bullet journal is specially designed to help you keep track of everything going on in your life and achieve goals. Remembering all of the events and dates is made simple when you implement all the functionality of a calendar into a personalized notebook where you can see all of it at a glance.
As for meeting personal goals? Since the bullet journal is such a loose system that can be adapted to your needs, many people use it to incorporate things like habit trackers to help you stay on track with goals.
I personally use a bullet journal and can vouch for its positive impacts. Using a habit tracker and other trackers, I can keep up with all the stresses of modern life and maintain a healthy body and mind (scroll down to see examples of page ideas).
Setting it up
All that you really need is a blank notebook and a pen, but having other stationary materials can help you create a notebook that is pleasing to the eye. If you are anything like me, you will end up with a stockpile of pens, markers, and tapes.
An index can be set up like this, or any way you wish. The purpose of this is to have documentation of all your pages so that you can easily flip to each one. Indexes are easy to make and can be minimalist and simple, or maximalist and decorative.
Future logs provide an overview of the year or months to come, and the general events that take place in them. The month overview is basically a more zoomed in version of a future log that has more specific events, and may go into detail about times and dates of the event.
One of my favorite ways to set up a month overview is by making your own calendar. Using a ruler, I start first by making the vertical lines, then filling in the horizontal, like so…
You can also do monthly overviews in a way that doesn’t use a calendar, but instead uses a more “event centered” approach that focuses on dates and events on those dates. This method can be a nice break from the calendars that we see all the time in life, and I personally have found this to be more useful than a calendar in terms of quick reference. It looks something like this:
Daily logs are a way to document either what has happened during the day or what will happen during the day. Think of them as a to-do list of everything you need to get done. These are usually simple and quick, as the sole purpose of a daily log is to be an efficient way to manage the day ahead and its various tasks (though many people choose to add embellishments later).
Page Ideas and Inspiration
Need page ideas to fill up your journal? Life and Lemons has you covered, with examples from my own bullet journal and from the internet.
#1 Water Log
Drinking water can prevent cramping, relieve stress, and aid weight loss. Water is such an important element in having a healthy life, and having a water log can ensure that you get all the water you need.
#2 Mood Tracker
Mental health is such an vital part of life, as it impacts everything we do and can affect our bodies as well. Keeping track of your mood from day to day can paint a picture of how you are doing mentally and how to move forward. Having a mood tracker can help you construct a deeper understanding of your own emotions.
#3 Grade Tracker
For students, it is a life changer to have all of your grades laid out in front of you in a way that is easily accessible and understandable, and that is exactly what a grade tracker can provide
#4 Habit Tracker
Can never remember to exercise? Or eat healthy? Forgetting to read every day? Perhaps you need a habit tracker. Having a habit tracker has seemed to double my chances of actually developing healthy habits I sought out in the first place. I find that this is one of the best ways to track progress in personal and professional goals. Not just to track, but also to motivate. Never underestimate the power of a tangible reminder.
#5 Quote Page
“Sometimes clouds can bring rainbows too.” Putting an inspirational quote into your own journal can bring happiness and motivation in a decorative way. Great if you have an empty page to fill, or want to get creative and artsy.
#6 Books to Read
Losing track of your next read? Always saying, “That book looks good!” but forgetting about it a day later? Put it in your “Books to Read” page of your bullet journal, and color the book in when you’ve finished it.
#7 Gift Ideas
When gift inspiration strikes, write it down with this page for gift ideas! It has a slot for what the gift is, who it is for, and how much money it costs to help you keep your ideas organized.
#8 Daily To-Dos… with sticky notes!
This is a method of putting your to-do list into a notebook that I invented! You put a small pad of sticky notes at the top for “Need to do” items and another at the bottom for “Want to do” items. As you do each task, cross it off. Once the day is over, remove them both and start fresh the next day.
#9 Dream Log
Some scientists say that to develop lucid dreaming (a form of dreaming where you can control the dream), it can be helpful to write down your dreams right after you wake up. It can also ensure that you remember them before the memory slips away.
#10 Bucket List
Remember those goals and check them off as you go. Life is what you make of it!
#11 Compliments Page
Sometimes you need a little dose of confidence and happiness, and this is certainly the way to get it! Each time you receive a compliment, write it down along with the date and person who said it. It can be reflected on in times of need or just when you want to feel good.
#12 Important Information (passwords, numbers, etc.)
Never forget a password again! In this digital age, so many things require usernames and passwords. It’s not hard to forget one and then have to drag yourself through the tiring process of retrieving it. Save yourself the hassle and jot it down in your bullet journal!
If you don’t have a bullet journal, I highly recommend starting your own, like I have. Though it’s not something that requires attention every single day, if you stick with it and implement some of these pages, it can have an extremely positive impact on your mental and physical health.