I discovered bullet journaling two weeks ago while visiting cousins in Anchorage, Alaska. On my first full day in the city, my Aunt Mary told my mom, my sisters, and I all about it. We went on a journey to Michael’s to pick up bullet journals, double-sided markers, watercolors, and watercolor pens so that we would be able to document our travels creatively and concisely.
And thus, a new hobby was born. Part diary, part schedule, part scrapbook, and part sketchbook, the bullet journal is perfect for creative people who like to stay organized. Bullet journals are just like regular journals with one exception: instead of traditional lines, rows of dots line the page. This results in more empty space, and therefore more room for creative freedom, while still providing you with guidelines so that it’s easy to keep track of how much space you’re using.
There are so many reasons to start keeping a bullet journal and here are a few of the best ideas I’ve seen so far.
1. Keep your weekly schedule straight.
Ditch your traditional planner and decorate your weekly schedule to make it both beautiful and functional. Get creative with it!
2. Or better yet, plan out the entire month.
A lot of people who use bullet journals for planning like to start off with a monthly calendar at the front for major events and then make more specific weekly schedules to follow. That might be a technique you want to test out if you’re trying to get organized.
3. Use it for your study sessions.
I know, I know, it’s the middle of summer and school is the last thing on your mind–but some of us are catching up on coursework this July. Writing notes by hand helps you remember things much better than if you’re just typing them, so use your bullet journal as a tool to help you ace those exams.
4. Document your travels.
This is a section from the bullet journal I made during my recent trip to Alaska. Journaling each day to write down the people you met, places you saw, and the activities you did is a great way to remember the details of your trip years after it happens. Including stickers and photographs from your trip adds more personalization and is a nice touch.
5. Food is your friend.
If you love to cook (or you swear you’re going to start cooking, like me), a bullet journal can be a great place to put down all of your favorite recipes. Another way to use it is to plan out all of your weekly meals in a bullet journal–that way, you’ll know exactly what to put on your grocery list and you won’t forget anything.
6. Track your health and habits.
Many people use bullet journals to keep track of health and habits. This can be a great tool for anyone who is trying to set a regular exercise routine, anyone who wants to keep track of how much sleep they’re getting, or anyone who wants to make sure a specific activity is performed every day.
This is especially helpful if you want a way to keep track of your mental health; for example, some people make mood trackers and use bullet journals to record symptoms of anxiety so that they can gain a better understanding of what is making them anxious.
7. Manage your money.
You can use a bullet journal to keep track of the things you need to purchase, the things you want to purchase, and the things that you have already purchased. Above is an example of someone who uses a bullet journal to keep track of when her Amazon packages are going to arrive. Now that’s thinking outside of the box.
8. Record your favorite everything.
Use your bullet journal to make lists of your favorite songs, books, movies, quotes… Or even favorite washi tapes. Anything goes, and this way you’ll have a collection of all of your favorite things in one place.
9. Articulate your goals and dreams.
Writing down the things you want to accomplish may not make those things happen immediately, but it brings you one step closer and keeps you in check. You’ve written it out, and with those goals staring you in the face every day, you’re going to have to meet them… Right?
10. Celebrate the big (and little) moments of victory.
If you meet a new goal or milestone in life, put it down. Seeing your achievement right before your eyes will make you feel even more accomplished!
As you list, doodle, and paint remember that there is no right way to bullet journal. You can do all of these things, some of these things, or none of these things as you write. Your bullet journal is whatever you want it to be–just make sure it’s you!