Bullet Journaling- I’m Giving It a Try

I am in a few planner groups, and bullet journaling seems to be becoming more and more popular throughout the planning and creative communities. At first I kind of ignored it- it seems like a lot of work, everyone has excessively decorated pages, stickers, washi tape, spread across multiple notebooks. I cannot commit to that level of journaling, as much as I enjoy seeing the creative spreads that everyone posts! However, my curiosity finally got the better of me and I googled Bullet Journal. It turns out that it is a whole system of journaling and notation! And the images on the official website don’t look labour intensive whatsoever. It is supposed to be good for people who have a million to-do lists and have multiple planners, which is me! So, I’m giving it a shot. I can’t promise that I won’t abandon it if it doesn’t work, or that I’m going to obsessively journal, but it might be beneficial for me.Β 

Firstly, I spend probably an hour reading through the Bullet Journal site. I got a handle of what they typically include and had to figure out what I would include, starting with a legend/key. Some people have complicated and fairly intense legends with upwards of 50 little icons to indicate different things- I have fourteen icons thus far, and I should think that I would need too too many more. I want this to be a quick and easy system that helps me, not takes time out of my day! Straightforward and to-the-point it is.

Bullet Journal Legend.jpg

After my legend, we have the Index! My index is currently empty, but I have dedicated six pages to it to make sure that it has enough room. Then the calendars (a half page for each month, two page spread =four months), monthly logs, and then daily! I should think the daily will be where I spend most of my time, as I make 5-7 little to-do lists per day that are scattered throughout my purse, desk, and pockets. (Yes, you could make the argument that there are apps that do that, but I just don’t seem to use them. Technology is fantastic but isn’t always the best fit for me.) I have currently not put a lot of detailing into my daily pages- a sub-par scroll at the top which will hopefully improve in time, a date in the spade provided, and a weather icon if I feel so inclined.

Bullet Journal Daily Log.jpg

I have two overall hopes with this bullet journal: 1) to keep all of my to-do in one place, and 2) to possibly have a space to use the handwritten scripts I hope to learn! While the amount of time and work that some people put into their journals and planners results in a staggeringly beautiful piece of art, I don’t have the energy, nor the time, to dedicate to mine. It’s going to be all function! A lot of people will use this system to actually journal and write down general thoughts and feelings, but that’s not for me. I like having a small creative outlet that doesn’t have a huge time or material requirement.

Bullet Journal Notebook.jpg

I’m guessing that my stumbling blocks will be forwarding and migrating tasks- I am hoping that I will be dedicated enough to actually re-write things where they need to be re-written instead of just hoping that I remember. I’m curious to see what things I actually put into my daily log- sometimes I can get weirdly specific in my written schedules. To the point of “shower at X time, do two loads of laundry, update Goodreads, flat iron hair when dry”, etc. Will I put in that much effort with the icons? My other curiosity is whether or not I will eventually decide to get more creative with it. If I can actually learn a few scripts to the point where I can write freely, will I maybe put some of that extra time into other little illustrations? Maybe, maybe not. Only time will tell…. *cue ominous music*.

Have you tried a bullet journal? If yes, what are your tips and tricks? If you don’t, what organisational system do you use?

Until tomorrow,
The Historian!

16 thoughts on “Bullet Journaling- I’m Giving It a Try

  1. Victoria August 28, 2016 / 1:34 am

    I’ve been using a bullet journal since January! I love the system though mine has slowly evolved to a weekly planner with a to do list for the week, so that I don’t have to worry about moving or re writing things I don’t get done in the day I thought I’d do it. I love how flexible and simple the system is πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown August 28, 2016 / 3:37 pm

      Okay, that is a big concern, that I won’t migrate things and get lazy. I am keeping it to bigger tasks but it would be nicer to also have smaller tasks. Do you ever find you run out of space?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Victoria August 28, 2016 / 3:41 pm

        Not really because I just basically put a heading of – the week of __ to ___ and then have a running list underneath. Some weeks I have things that have to happen on a specific day but I add those to my calendar that I have in the front. It sometimes goes for a page sometimes more sometimes less and I go from there. I’m not really worried about keeping things on the right pages or having multiple lists or anything. I’m thinking of doing a post on my blog on how I use my bullet journal later on. But I’m thinking mine might last 2 years because I’m not even half way through the notebook at the moment even with a full 12 month calendar and the whole year of to do lists (though I do divide the page in half long ways because I don’t like lots of blank space and I just go up and down the columns) so it’s working pretty well for me πŸ™‚


  2. Curlygirlabroad August 28, 2016 / 4:16 am

    A bullet journal seems quite practical. I usually stick to writing things down in my agenda/diary, but for some reason I only write down half of the things in it, or I don’t look in the diary for a month. So this might be good for me too!


  3. Charlotte Graham August 28, 2016 / 8:05 am

    I have only recently heard of bullet journaling, so I am pleased to have come across your post explaining it! I love to try to stay organized, and I’ve always got at least two diaries/journals keeping track of my tasks in life, but I am intrigued by the bullet journal idea. Looking forward to seeing how it goes for you!


  4. Katelynne August 28, 2016 / 9:09 am

    I just decided that I’m going to start doing this as well, so I’m really excited that we can talk about it!! πŸ™‚ I think it’s really great, since I’m a person with a million little to-do lists as well! I’m hoping it’ll help keep my organised and I can’t wait to see how it works for you! πŸ™‚


  5. laugraeva August 28, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    I’ve been bullet journalling since January 2015, and I think it’s fab that it has become a trend! However, I would say that you really don’t have to make it look super pretty all the time. My first and second ones were a complete mix of art, scribbles, to-do lists, reminders… absolutely anything that I needed. I kept the system of boxes for to-do lists and the calendar/month goals as demonstrated in the Bullet Journal ‘How To’ video, as well as a contents page, but apart from that, my bullet journals work for me, not the other way round!
    So all I would say is to just adapt the system to suit you, and fill your notebook with whatever you need.



    • anhistorianabouttown August 28, 2016 / 3:33 pm

      Okay, I feel MUCH better now!! I was worried that it would be “wrong” if I went with all function. I should probably just not look on Pinterest. Thank you for the tips!! I’m going to rewatch that video!

      Liked by 1 person

      • laugraeva August 28, 2016 / 4:05 pm

        No worries! It’s cool that people want to make theirs pretty but it’s not the only way to bullet journal πŸ™‚ I did a little flip-through of mine on my instagram if you want to see how mine turned out!


  6. Meryn August 28, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    This sounds really helpful since I am constantly making lists of what to do- and then of course with essays etc don’t always look/ properly prioritize the correct thing. I’m just wondering if you can use any old notebook for this (and thus how do the months get divided up then?) or is a pre-organized agenda better? Any ideas how this way versus a more traditional student agenda would be helpful with a master’s program? I’m used to student agenda so long as they have spaces to write everything in a well-organized manner.


    • anhistorianabouttown August 28, 2016 / 3:30 pm

      I am using a regular notebook- you make your own future log, calendars, etc! However, I think if you wanted to use a traditional planner with the bullet system inside, I think it would work well! I used a traditional planner in my MA, and it worked well. I found that there are far less deadlines and things to organise in your MA; I had to do readings every day, so I couldn’t really “forget” those, and there are less papers. I personally find traditional student planners limiting in space, though! I would mush them together πŸ™‚


  7. Rosemary Carlson December 25, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    I don’t think I am nearly organized enough for bullet journaling though it sounds interesting. It would just be one more thing to do in my already too busy life! I admire you!


    • anhistorianabouttown December 27, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      Thank you! I found that with a million different sticky note lists I just wasn’t getting anything done on time or in any sort of organised manner 😦


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