Everything you need to know about the bullet journal

Posted by Phantom Notes on

What is a bullet journal and why do need one?

The bullet journal is a unique organization system. It combines the benefits of a diary, journal and sketchbook into a single journal.

The creator Ryder Carroll designed this system to help people break their bad habits, improve their quality of life, and do more of what makes them happy. He wanted an organized life that would be less stressful and more creative than what he was living at the time.

He describes it as a way to ‘track your past, order your present and plan for your future.’ 

The idea behind the bullet journal is that you are able to keep your life organized through an analog system. It functions similarly to a calendar or planner but there are other aspects, such as mood trackers, index cards, markers, stickers, habit trackers, and sketches that you can use.

To make the most of the bullet journal method, you’ll need a dot grid journal to begin with.

This will allow you to create your own personal planner with ease. The dots serve as a flexible guide, allowing you to keep your designs and lists structured and concise.

Here’s an easy to understand guide to the bullet journal method and how it will help you capture your thoughts and actually get things done. 

No bullshit, just practical advice that will help you right now. 

1. How is a bullet journal different to a regular journal?

A bullet journal isn’t an ordinary journal, pocket notebook or diary. It’s all about the way you use these tools. It’s a way of organising your thoughts on paper, making plans and taking action. Here's 5 creative ways to setup your bullet journal.


2. How does bullet journaling help?

Capture your ideas

Kiss mess, clutter and overcrowded sticky notes goodbye. A bullet journal gives you a more organised way of remembering your golden ideas in the one spot.

Write what’s on your mind and if writing isn’t your thing, go on and draw.

Jot down your thoughts, declutter your mind so you can keep doing great things.

Organise your life

So, now you’ve got your big ideas on paper. But they’re everywhere. They aren’t organised and wouldn’t make sense to your neighbour or her dog. You need order in your life.

Use your bullet journal to plan for whatever you need; your to-do list, keeping track of appointments, track progress on tasks, set goals – whatever. 

This article has more ideas of how to stay organised with a bullet journal.

Get things done

Maybe its not the plan you have a problem with. It’s putting the plan to action. 

It’s getting off the couch and actually getting things done. 

There’s only one fix for you friend: prioritise. Use your Bullet Journal to order how important your tasks are, get them done and enjoy that satisfying feeling when you tick them off your list. 

3. How does bullet journaling work?

Relax. Don’t let the spreads and symbols on Instagram scare you away. 

The best thing about bullet journaling is that you decide how simple or complicated you’ll the process will be. 

Here’s a quick run-down of the key parts of the bullet journaling method. You can use some or all of these or just ditch them all together, its entirely up to you:

  • Index: think of an index like the contents page of your journal. It helps you get to each section quicker than flipping through each page. 
  • Future log: this is your yearly overview or calendar. Use your future log to note long term dates and milestones so they don’t sneak up on you without warning.
  • Monthly log: here’s where you note the tasks you need to get done this month. The great thing about bullet journaling is that you don’t need to wait for January or June. You can start using it at any time of the year. 
  • Daily log: this is your daily to-do list. You can also jot down thoughts or ideas that come to mind.
  • Symbols: This is the key. Literally and metaphorically. Symbols set bullet journals apart from others in the stationery crowd. They help you visually group items together which saves you lots of time.

There are many symbols. If you’re just starting out, we suggest keeping it short and sweet with only the symbols you need. Here are a few to get you started:

• tasks

-  notes 

! inspiration (or ideas) 

* important 

O event

In Summary 

So, is bullet journaling really for you? 

Anyone can bullet journal. It’s all about how. 

If you’re looking for a way to take your creativity to a whole new level, organise your life and get things done with no pressure to be someone you aren’t - bullet journaling is totally for you. 

You don’t need to use the symbols if you don’t want to, you can just use the bullet journal to write lists, draw and sketch. It's all down to your personal preference and how you want to structure your thoughts.

To get started with bullet journaling, browse our range of Phantom Notebooks Limited Edition dot grid journals.

Finally, don't forget to read getting started with a bullet journal: a beginner’s guide. for tips on how to get started. 

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