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Planner opened to January, 2020

New year, new organized you: how to start bullet journaling

The start of the year is a great time to start getting yourself into a good head space, and one of the most popular ways to motivate yourself to make some kind of change is by making a resolution. Resolutions sometimes have a negative connotation (mostly because many of them seem to fail), but maybe this failure is due to the fact that we don’t always reflect on them and track how they’re going on a frequent basis. We asked journaling expert Mark Figuieredo (@menwhobullet) to give us his best organizational, bullet journal tips to keep our 2020 resolutions on track! Here’s what he had to say:

“Planners and calendars can be great options to help you be thoughtful and organized with tasks, events, and appointments, whereas journals are great places to describe emotions, life events, and to document your gratitude. However, if you are looking for a best-of-both-worlds scenario, a way to be more mindful and organized, a Bullet Journal is your best bet!”

The Bullet Journal is an analog system, created by Ryder Carroll, to help you organize your day, focus on reflection and live an intentional life. There is structure to the Bullet Journal method, but it’s not rigid like other planners and systems can be.

Getting Started

Getting started is simple, because all you need is a pen (or pencil) and a notebook. When starting out, it’s truly best to keep it simple: a basic ink pen and a lined or dotted (preferred) notebook will work. If it has numbered pages already that’s great, but if not, you can add them yourself. Once you have the tools to get started, your next step is to understand the basic parts of the bullet journal system and begin your own bullet journal journey.

The bullet journal is named after the bullet (•). This symbol in your bullet journal represents a task or to-do: it’s an email to send, a conversation to have, or a nightly self-care routine to keep. Once you complete the action on that bulleted item, you cross it out, which is can be such a gratifying experience!

Journal Sections

There are a four sections of your notebook to keep track of the day-to-day, as well as prepare for future months.

  • The Index: The index is built on the first few pages of your notebook, and it’s essentially a list of each page number and the contents of that page. The index can be used to find your journal notes and thoughts later so you don’t have to spend time searching for them.
  • Future log: This is where you plan ahead or move tasks to remember and remind you in future months. Most journals are set up for 6 months in advance.
  • Monthly Log: Laid out in a monthly calendar format, start your your monthly planning to keep track of milestones like birthdays, events, or appointments.
  • Weekly/Daily Log: Your weekly and/or daily log is where you keep your weekly or daily notes and tasks. If you use your bullet journal at work, capture things like meeting notes and work tasks. If you use your bullet journal at home, record items like household needs and to-dos. This is also the best section to track and take notes on personal goals like daily water intake, gym visits, or food logs. It’s also a great space to do some personal reflection on the week: How did it make you feel? How did you do with your personal goals? These are your pages, so do what feels right for you.
  • Collections: Collections track groups of like information. Most of the time collections are used for notes around one project, or they can be used as a single location to collect details about an upcoming trip or packing list. Just be sure to add them to your index so you know where to find them again.

So whether you need to get your business goals and priorities in order, have a space to write daily gratitude, or track your weekly weight loss, the bullet journal can give you an organized, personal space to do so much without overwhelming you or making you conform to a pre-filled out planner.