The Bullet Journal: My Key to Organization

I've never had much luck with planners or lists. I got a new one every year from school since elementary school, and I bought one or two myself whenever I got on a organizational kick. I tried using them in all kinds of different ways, and sometimes it would work decently well for a few weeks, but it would always wind up forgotten at the bottom of my backpack.

Then, I'd usually turn to lists. There isn't anything wrong with lists, but since I tend to be on the unorganized side of things, I'd usually  write up a list of all my homework assignments, then promptly lose it. Even when I did manage to hang onto a list, since I could only ever write down the things that I remembered at the time, I had several important events and assignments fall through the cracks.

Then, about three months ago, I stumbled across the Bullet Journal technique. It was originally designed by a guy named Ryder Carroll (check out the official website), but the beauty is that beyond a few basic points, the system is meant to be incredibly flexible. You start out with your own blank notebook, then fill it in using the Bullet Journal technique, making any adaptations that you'd like as you go. 

For the most part, Bullet Journals are broken down into these categories:

Index: The place where you keep track of everything in your journal

I usually can't stand using indexes. For virtually every lab notebook I've had, there's been a nearly empty index in the front that only gets filled out if the professor checks it for a grade. The thing I like about the bullet journal, is that you get to decide what's important enough to merit being put in the index. For me, that's only pages that I think I'll be using long term. This helps me actually follow through with indexing pages since I'm only writing down the things I consider to be the most important.

Future Log: The place to note major events happening in the not-so-immediate future

I try to only write down major events here

I try to only write down major events here


Monthly and/or weekly log: Where you write down the things happening in the immediate future

I usually have more written in here, but I do like the set up

I usually have more written in here, but I do like the set up

I've added also added a habit tracker too.

Habit trackers are pretty common, but you can put anything you want on the monthly spread

Habit trackers are pretty common, but you can put anything you want on the monthly spread

Daily log: Your daily to-do and schedule 

Collections: Pretty much everything else falls under the collections category. Any notes, lists, doodles, or ideas can be written down on any page that you'd like, then cataloged in the index so you can find them again.

back burner.jpg

There's a whole community that's formed around bullet journaling, and a lot of people who use this technique make their journals absolutely beautiful. I prefer mine to be functional and not take a lot of time to set up, but it is fun to look through the journals of the people who take a lot of time to illustrate them.

My bullet journal has really helped me stay organized for my classes, but I've also noticed some fairly major improvements in how often I've had time to visit Heyleigh, and in stress reduction. It's not a panacea, but it does seem to be a good alternative to traditional planners and lists for those of us who crave organization, but who don't click with the usual methods to get that way.