If you are ready to start getting organized for the school year ahead, look no further than the bullet journal. The newest daily planning fad that has recently made its way onto the scene, known as bullet journaling, is a unique and highly organized way to keep track of all of your to-dos and more. What’s more is that this cute model will actually motivate you to continuously keep track of your schedule, weekly goals, water intake, and more because of how artsy you can make it. The bullet journal is a cross between every planner, notepad, and ambitious goal tracker on the market. This journal includes color codes, symbols, and fun drawings to indicate what you need to accomplish, what you have accomplished, and what one might hope to accomplish in the future. It may sound overwhelming at first, but this little “bujo,” as it’s often referred to, will help you get your life on track. Keep reading below for a complete how-to on getting started with bullet journaling in just five simple steps.
Step 1: Create a Table of Contents
Begin your bullet journal by numbering all the pages and logging your personalized topics into a table of contents in the front as you build up your calendars, goals, and weekly schedules. You can start and stop these logs whenever, but recording the page numbers that each new topic begins on will keep you organized well enough so you know exactly which page to flip to find your overnight oat recipe, running log, or upcoming due dates.
Step 2: Break Down Your Goals
Following your index, set up a goals list beginning first with yearly goals, monthly, and so on. Keeping track of specific items you want to accomplish will inspire you to keep a detailed record of everything you do (like exercising and your weekly schedule) in order to reach those goals. For example, begin your long-term goals with something like an internship you want, places you want to visit, and a picture of where you would like to be after college. After your initial goal planning, break the larger ones down in your weekly logs.
If your goal is to get an internship, the first step would be to mark this goal in your long-term goals list. Then you’d filter your weekly logs to include beginner to-do tasks such as emailing your advisor, updating your LinkedIn page, and refining your résumé. You’d continue to add to these tasks by landing an interview, purchasing a white blouse you need, and reading articles about questions you may be asked. A bujo helps you note and keep track of these important factors that go into accomplishing a long-term goal by breaking down your dream piece by piece. Besides setting the bar high, a bujo can be useful for other important areas of your life.
Step 3: Get Your Monthly Log Going
After setting up your goals, begin your monthly logs with a calendar overview and then specify what your week ahead looks like. The monthly log is key because it helps you visualize your upcoming month and prioritize the days when you have something like an exam, a sorority meeting, or a formal. Your month at a glance is useful to picture the dates and days of the week, but after your month is mapped out you’ll want to break it down further into a week-by-week log that gets into the nitty-gritty of your daily routine.
Step 4: Start a Weekly Play-by-Play
Next, start to break down your daily tasks with an everyday log so that you can balance schoolwork, classes, meetings, and everything in between. Start with a weekly calendar that maps out your schedule from Monday through Sunday, and from there, flip your two-page spread over to begin a daily log for those days that require a page filled with to-do lists and goals. Add helpful sections like a water log, a running tab (to keep track of those miles!), or even a section devoted to the number of steps you take per day. Don’t be afraid to add more to your everyday lists, like a track record of your meals and snacks, the number of coffees you consume, or a daily motivation slogan to really get you pumped to conquer Monday. Carefully noting these items into lists will help you visualize your life, and you will start to notice things like when you consume less water or how your stamina increased along with your average mileage.
A weekly log (that usually takes up two to three pages) helps you maintain things like your schedule, your budget, and groceries you need to pick up. Remember, though: A bujo is completely customizable, and it may be more important for you to have a list of email chains you need to keep track of versus times to set aside for meditation or careful calculations of your daily spending. The bullet journal is a unique way for you to list out and visualize your schedule as well as to-do lists and number of hours of sleep you get each night.
Step 5: Have Fun With It
Bullet journals are the more intricate versions of your typical journals and daily planners precisely because they are designed to make you utilize your creative juices. Make your usual to-do lists more picturesque with colored pens, bold lettering, and designs. The power of the bujo is the creative freedom to make what you want with it, so don’t be afraid to personalize everything you write down!
Have you tried bullet journaling? Let us know your tips to a successful bullet journal in the comments below!