Monday, 9 October 2017

Artline Monday - Bullet Journal basics

Bullet journaling is, according to it's creator Ryder Carroll, an analog system for the digital age.  The idea behind it is to help you track the past, organise the present and plan for the future but a bullet journal is more than just a planner.  It can be anything you want it to be including a sketch book, to do list, notebook, diary and journal, that is the beauty of it!  It is also really easy to set one up, all you need is a notebook and some pens.

My notebook and Artline pens & highlighters

Ideally your notebook should have dotted or squared pages but if you have a lined or plain notebook sat on your shelf you can use that too. 


The first page you need to create is your Index, this will be where you write the page numbers for each section of your bullet journal.  My favourite way to write headers in my journal is to print the word using a highlighter first and then write over the top of it in a smaller, cursive font, I think it looks really pretty.

There are three main sections in a bullet journal, these are the Future Log, the Monthly Log and the Daily Log.  These sections are bones of your bullet journal, anything you add after these are the meat, so-to-speak.

Future Log

Your Future log is an overview of the next six months.  You just need to split your two page spread into six equal size boxes and list the first six months you want to work with.  I have started mine in November as we are already in October. You can use these pages to plan ahead, add any birthdays, reminders and events to the corresponding month and this will give you an idea of what you will have going on.  You can add a little calendar for each month but I decided to pop some inspirational quotes on mine instead.

Monthly Log

The Monthly log is your month at a glance.  On the first page you write down the days of the month and then make a note of anything you need to do or remember.  Some of these things will already be on your Future Log so you can just transfer them across at the start of the month.  I have highlighted the weekends on this page as it helps me break down the month into weeks easily.

On the second page of this log you can get creative!  I have given myself space to list my goals, kids reminders, blog stuff and my tasks for the month but you can put anything on this page that you want to keep track of, accomplish or remember.  You can change this up every month too, if you find the page isn't working for you one month you can try something different the following month until you find your perfect system.

Daily Log

The third section is your Daily Log, this is usually a two page spread set up to plan and record your day.  I have a timeline on the first page, it starts at 6am when I get up and goes on until when I go to bed in the evening.  I use this to visualise my day so I can see what I need to do, where I need to be and at what time.  

I also have two more sections on this page, they are for the weather and a reminder of the goals I want to complete each day.  

Again, on the second page you can do what ever you want!  I divided up the page using a highlighter and the squares on my paper which is a quick and easy way to create a layout.  If you are using plain paper you could use a ruler to make your sections or draw them freehand, your bullet journal doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be useful!

Food tracking, memories, brain dump & more

My first section on this page is for me to record the food I have eaten and then the next two are for my best and worst moments of the day. 

Brain dump is where I write down things I need to remember and my Christmas countdown is just there because I'm childishly excited for the festive season!

I have a small section for my shopping list, I add anything on here that I either need to buy that day or things I am running out of and will need to buy when I do the weekly shop.

My last section is to record my mood that day, I am still doing my year in pixels as well but I wanted to keep everything together in the bullet journal instead of spreading them out over two books.

Ideas for your daily log could be:

  • A doodle a day
  • Exercise 
  • Meditation
  • Reminders
  • Reading log
  • Quote of the day

If you don't think you need a whole page or two for your Daily Log then you could create a weekly spread instead.  It is up to you to decide what would work best for you or try out a few different things and see how they feel.

Bullet journal symbols

On my Index page I also added a key for the symbols you use in the logs as part of this system.  They are a dot for tasks, a circle for events and a line for notes.  You can also use an asterisk to signify something as important.  Once you have completed a task you change the dot into an X.  Any tasks that you haven't completed need to be considered, is it something that still needs to be done and is it worth your time doing it?  If you no longer need to complete the task you can cross it through, if you decide to complete it at a later date you change the dot into a > to show you have moved it onto your Monthly Log.  If you think the task will be completed at a much later date, like in a month or two then you use this < to show it has been moved onto your Future Log.  This is called migration and it is an important way to help you manage your time and whittle down your to do lists.

So what do you think of Bullet Journalling?  Will you be giving it a go or are you already a seasoned user? 


  1. Gorgeous set up Amanda, I do doodling and lists in my bullet journal, not sure I have the patience to use it as my every day planner xx

    1. Thank you Kerrymay! I’ve lost my planning groove recently so I’m trying different things to try and kick start it again xx