Bullet Journaling

Last September, following a tip from my mom, I started bullet journaling. One aspect of the bullet journal is a high form of internet craze, wherein people post pretty pictures on their instagrams and blogs of how wonderfully analog and totally unplugged their lives have become. If you want to hear about it from the original creator, go here. Which is why, at this point, I feel obligated to post to my blog about it.

Let’s get a few things out of the way first:

  1. This is a show and tell post, not a how-to. You’re welcome to read and let it inform what you do, but I’m not giving advice here. I’m sharing a thing that works for me.
  2. My Bullet Journal isn’t pretty. Or rather, I think it’s beautiful in the way that something so fully functional can have beauty in its workings, but it’s not got gorgeous pictures or calligraphy in it.

Ok! Now that that’s out of the way, what is my bullet journal? It’s my combination daily planner, personal thoughts journal, a way to get my thoughts together at the end or beginning of a day, and collector of things to remember. I collect the daily to-dos and notes in a “daily log” using bullets, each with their own meaning.

• To-do

– Note

o Appointment

There is only one rule I use for my bullet journal, and that is this: If a task is on my daily list, I MUST do something with it by the end of today. My options are:

x This task has been done.

> or < This task has been moved to a different list of tasks, either earlier or later in the journal depending on the direction of the arrow.

/ This task has been started, or is half done. Still needs to move to another list, in an alternate form.

This task is not happening.

My one rule  keeps me on track. No more to-do lists following me into the next day! Now if a thing is worth moving, I move it to tomorrow’s list or schedule it for another day this month. If it isn’t worth moving, I cross it out. The end.

I carry my bullet journal everywhere I go, and write things down as needed, and refer to it for what I need to do. The daily logs are really where it’s at, for me with bullet journaling. I’ve done months where that’s the only thing, and it still keeps me on task. Now I do have a monthly page, for scheduling things, and I’ll show it to you, but I really think that the most important thing is to follow the one rule.

Well, that and numbering your pages so that you can have an index. Where is that great idea I once had? Good question: Check the index!

And now, some pictures! Remember, I promised nothing fancy. It is a nice journal, but you can use anything you have lying around with 5 pages in the front that you wrote in optimistically one time. I allowed myself to “graduate” to this nice journal and a good pen after I completely filled in a random one I had with whatever I could find to write with, and so knew the system worked for me.


This is a date in the past. You can tell, because there are no plain dots! Everything has been taken care of, in one way or another. Even if I did have to cross out “breathe.”

A note on my month layout: The dates are down the middle, with the left side reserved for home, the right for work. Then the first letter of the days of the week and which side of the number they are on depends on whether they are a home day or a work day. You see the numbers 1-6 on the work side, which indicate which schedule I’m teaching that day. After that come the letters. Each time I add something to this calendar, I put it on the list. Then I put the corresponding letter on that date. So that on the 15th, to choose a packed day for an example, it was a Friday that I was at home. I wanted to remember a friend’s birthday, family came into town, and I had appointments at both 9:30a and 4:00p.