What the HECK is • bullet journaling • and why is it so popular?!

You’ve seen it before on Instagram. . .

You’ve heard your super organized friend mention it over and over again. . .

Maybe you’ve looked it up before and decided that the seemingly complex system just wasn’t for you?

It’s safe to say, bullet journaling is in. It’s swept the planner community by full force and has even seeped its way out into the lives of many other communities and busy professionals

Today I wanted to break it down for you and help you see that you don’t have to do bullet journaling any one way. ? In fact, the most successful planning systems I’ve seen successful people use have been pieced together from various systems they’ve tried over the years. And bullet journaling has a lot of simple concepts that you can pull from to help you in your everyday planning.


Ok, the basics:

The method of bullet journaling is focused on a list. Often, people use journals or notebooks with graph paper to help their writing stay in line. The symbols can go in no particular order and follow this code:
  A dot represents a task that needs to be completed (a “to do” if you will)
 A hyphen represents notes from meetings you were in or an observation you made, thoughts you had, and ideas (I’ve even used this to write down song lyrics or poems I had stuck in my head that day!)
o An open dot represents an event that is happening that day that is scheduled or one you want to remember
> The more than sign is then put over at the end of a bullet at the end of a day that represents a task that you migrated to your task list for tomorrow. Womp! Nah, it happens to all of us!
< The less than sign over a bullet at the end of your day represents a task that is scheduled
An x over your dot simply means that your task is accomplished! Yasss queen!
There’s more to this if you want to get really complex with it! You can read more about the signifiers on the official bullet journal website here.

Ok, so the task system is the meat of the bullet journal. But these next few pieces are what ties the entire method together. The Index should be on the first few pages of your journal or notebook. It basically acts like a table of contents and reference point for your journal. So if you want to remember when you went to New York City for vacation and what you did there, you put those page #’s here.

On the next two page spreads, you’ll separate them into 3 different sections on each page. These should add up to 12 different sections for each month of the year (snazzy, huh?). Here is where you can put birthdays, anniversaries and big events you have throughout the year. It sort of takes place of a yearly spread in a normal planner.

The next set of pages will be an entire page spread devoted to one month. On the left-hand side, write the month at the top and then write the date of each day down on the left-hand side. Some people like to know which day of the week each day is, so next to each day you can write the first letter of that day (M for Monday, Th for Thursday, F for Friday, etc.) So each date will look like: 23 – Th. Here is where you can use this as a monthly task list to brain dump dates on the left-hand page and then write corresponding tasks on right-hand page.

 And that’s pretty much it! So as you can see, it can be really overwhelming at first and some people find it too complex to use the entire system. I’ve adapted the task list portion of it for my every day use and find it really easy to track! I’ve tried to do the entire system before and honestly, was not a fan of how much time it took me to set up each portion. I am a huge fan of planners with neat, minimalistic layouts that give me pieces of my day to organize and bullet journaling required me to do a lot of work to incorporate that element into my planning.

See my YouTube video below where I check out my FAVORITE journal and notebook of all time, the Leuchtturm 1917 Hardcover Dotted journal and talk a little bit more about bullet journaling!

What do you think?! Could this be a system you use? Or pieces of it you’ll steal for your own planning? I’m all about begging, borrowing and stealing pieces of systems to create what works best for you!