How to Become Organized by Starting a Bullet Journal + Setup Guide
If you’re trying to get your life together and become more organised, a bullet journal may be the tool you need to help. Starting a bullet journal has a bounty of benefits and this post will show you how to slay your goals, your finances and your whole life using a bullet journal.
Bullet Journal 101: What’s a Bullet Journal?
In bullet journaling, you’re basically combining all of your thoughts, finances, schedules, to-do lists, and miscellaneous life notes into a single journal. It’s a way to organize all of those different things you try to keep up with on a daily basis. It’s super fun to keep a bullet journal and also very helpful in reducing overall stress and anxiety.
Benefits of Starting a Bullet Journal
I can’t even begin to tell you how much you will benefit by starting a bullet journal. There is really no right or wrong way to do it. and I wrote a complete bullet journal setup guide here to help you start one from scratch. It is supposed to make life easier for you, not more difficult, so don’t be pressured to have it look as pretty as others.
Here are some different ways you can benefit by having a bullet journal:
Everything is in one place
Many people do have journals or digital to-do lists for every aspect of their life, from bills to water intake and fitness trackers, to chores and habits to keeping up with menstrual cycles and baby sleep times. Imagine having everything in one place without it being overwhelming or disorganized.
The bullet journal lets you have everything in one place since you are using symbols and short phrases instead of long paragraphs of notes.
It is easy to do
A bullet journal is very easy to put together. Some folks are intimidated by journaling or by the beautifully artsy bullet journal spreads they see online. But the beauty of bullet journaling is that it is what you make it. It can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. Therefore those who aren’t sure how to begin journaling or are intimidated by having to write pages and pages of thoughts to keep up with their lives will love the simplicity of a bullet journal.
You can track your regular habits
Since you are writing in the bullet journal daily, you are able to track your habits and see what needs to change. It can help you see that you spend too much money on coffee and eating out, or that you aren’t exercising enough. It’s a true way of getting to know yourself on a deeply personal level.
So those are some of the benefits of starting a bullet journal, but what benefits can journaling actually have on your life?
The Emotional Benefits of a Bullet Journal
Bullet journals don’t just help with finances and to-do lists, but they can actually improve your mental and emotional state. This helps with everything from mental stress to disorders like anxiety and depression. Here’s a look at different emotional benefits you can gain from having a bullet journal.
You stand to get a lot of relief from stress when you have a bullet journal. This includes relieving different types of stress too, such as work stress, financials tress, emotional stress, or even relationship stress.
By having all of your schedules and appointments in one place, you aren’t constantly worried that you are going to miss something. When you have a way to better plan for the future and track your expenses, it helps with financial and work stress you are struggling with.
If your stress can’t yet be identified, then looking through your diary entries and mood changes can let you know what the biggest issues are for you.
Help With Anxiety
If you struggle with any form of anxiety, whether it is constant worry, generalized anxiety disorder, or severe panic attacks, you know that it can come on suddenly and without warning.
However, it is possible that there are certain events or situations that are leading to the anxiety and that it isn’t always quite as random as you thought. By keeping a bullet journal and recording your moods and daily lifestyle, you can actually pinpoint what tends to cause panic attacks.
It might be when you have work stress or when you are around a particular person who seems to draw out the anxiety in you. It can also be due to certain foods or drinking a lot of alcohol or caffeine.
Finding Your Depression Triggers
Depression is also something that may happen at any time, but can also be triggered by someone or something. Some people have situational depression, where there is something that usually occurs to cause depressive moods and feelings.
This is another thing you can determine by recording as much of your life as possible in a bullet journal. This journal is yours and should be private because that allows you to feel free to record any emotions or feelings that you find necessary. Look back on it often to see if there are any patterns.
How to Become More Organized With a Bullet Journal
So a bullet journal can help you make lists for the future, build your business, manage your finances, and relieve your stress. But perhaps one of the greatest benefits of this type of journal is that it can help you to organize your entire life.
Everything you need to plan is in this single journal, so there is no trying to look around for the right one or having Post-it notes lying around all over the place. It becomes a type of personalized planner that you create based on your own needs.
Take a look at some of these tips for becoming more organized with a bullet journal.
Use the Bullet Journal Every Day
Try to use your bullet journal every single day. This means having a section for daily logs, where you list your tasks for the day, appointments, moods, and anything else you need to include.
If you have a personal blog, you might list what to post about that day and what to take pictures of. You may have a doctor’s appointment or need to bring your son to soccer practice. All of this should be constantly updated in the daily portion of the journal.
As you go through your day, log things that occurred. If you were not able to take pictures or visit the doctor, make sure to update the signifiers for these events and log them for the future. (More on signifiers later)
If you did something else instead, write it down so you can track your days, mood and habits.
Include Many Different Categories
Adding multiple categories for your journal is highly recommended. Some people limit it to the things they have the biggest problem with, like meal planning or keeping up with appointments.
However, nearly every part of your life has a good reason for having pages in the bullet journal. Include things like finances and savings, work goals, even personal diary entries if you are trying to figure out what triggers your panic attacks.
Writing what you eat may help to identify what causes breakouts or stomach aches. Writing down any movies you watched or things you noted online may help you to notice what causes your mood swings.
Continue to Look For Inspiration
Organizing your bullet journal might be part of your hesitation to start one, but don’t think you have to do it all alone. You can get help and inspiration by taking a peek at other bullet journal pages others have created. This helps you know what types of things to include and how to design the layouts of each page.
This list of weekly bullet journal spreads is a great place to get inspiration of what to include in your bullet journal and how to lay it out to capture everything in a succinct space.
Use Signifiers Throughout the Journal
Organizing is sometimes about the details, such as signifiers. These are small symbols you use when describing an emotion, mood, or type of schedule. Bullets are the crux of a bullet journal and help you to keep everything short and sweet. There will be symbols for your mood of excitement or happiness, another symbol for an urgent matter, a symbol to describe what type of appointment you have and a symbol for a note just to track what happened in the day.
Some signifiers will be universal and will help you to quickly identify what was happening at that particular moment, like a Christmas tree symbol for noting a holiday dinner party or a ring when planning a wedding. Others will be unique to you.
You’ll change the shape of the universal signifiers to update your bullets, say if you need to move an appointment to the future for instance or if something got cancelled. All of this is broken down in the complete bullet journal setup guide here.
Keep Your Index Updated
The index is one of the most important parts of the journal and needs to be updated. Many people create an index in the beginning, but then forget to revisit it later and update it with the new information. Staying organised means updating your index so you’re quickly able to find the page you need when you need it.
Bullet Journal Supplies
To start your bullet journal, you first need a journal to use. This can be any type of journal, but choosing one that is thick enough for all your different pages and that has nice large pages is a good idea.
Look for one that can stay closed when needed, but when you open to individual pages, the spine isn’t so tight that it is hard to write in it. Also look for thick pages in case you decide to decorate some of the pages and don’t want anything bleeding through.
This is the best bullet journal on the market and this one is a little more affordable and also does an excellent job. You’ll also love these stencils if you’re not the artsy type. They’ll help you to create lists, moods and signifiers if you’re not the artsy type.
For a quick start guide, here’s a quick rundown of how to start your bullet journal.
Components of a Bullet Journal
While you can create the bullet journal however you like, it does help to have some direction for getting started. These are the components to try and include in your bullet journal:
Index – Every bullet journal should preferably begin with an index. This lets you know what area different sections of the journal are located, such as grocery, habit tracking, meal planning or finances. It is a great way to jot down fast notes as you can go right to that page.
Page numbers – Naturally, since you have an index, you also need to have page numbers. You can be as creative as you want, but make sure every page is numbered and it corresponds with what is in the index. Be sure to read the complete guide for a way to keep your pages linked together if you run out of space and need to continue a list elsewhere in your journal.
Signifiers – Signifiers are symbols as discussed above that you assign to different types of notes. It can be helpful when you want to use them in place of longer phrases. This can be a happy or sad smiley face for your moods, a heart for a date with your significant other, or an aeroplane when scheduling travel.
With this basic information, you will be well on your way to getting that bullet journal started and your life organised.
I often struggle with my index and then wind up losing track. I think that I should take the time to number my pages in advance and then update the index every Friday. I dunno.
try that and see if it works for you. I am a mess without my index page so i had to learn to update mine religiously