If you’ve been on social media for any amount of time, you’ve probably read people going on about bullfet journals, or “bujos”. You might be where I was in October – loving the idea but not knowing where to start. Well, this is the post for you!
What is a bullet journal?
A bullet journal can be anything you want it to be, but in its basic form it incorporates a diary, planner, journal and to do lists, so you’re only carrying one notebook around.
It was devised by Ryder Carroll as a very basic and quick all-in-one system, but since then people have developed their bujos into glorious pieces of art. The brilliance of the system is you can have it basic, or arty, or a combination of the two.
Where do I start?
You need a notebook and a pen. That’s it. When I got the urge to bujo at the end of October, I felt the temptation to put it off until the New Year, but then I remembered a notebook I’d bought from Tesco and decided to take the bull by the horns.
I quickly realised the bullet journal system was one that worked for me, and I “upgraded” to an Ottergami in mint green, with the dotted pages so preferred by journalists. The dots give you a framework for your designs without dominating the page. The only downside to this journal is the lack of page numbers.
What’s the deal with spreads and collections?
As soon as you delve into the world of bujos, you’ll see these words banded about. A spread is simply a layout that takes up one or two pages. A collection is a page or series of pages devoted to one subject – eg, with bullet journaling, you’ll have a month spread and then weekly spreads for that month, which together makes up the collection for that month.
Collections can also be lists of things you want to record, or track. Trackers can include books you read, movies you watch, weight loss, and savings. I also have trackers for podcasts and YouTube videos.
What do I need in a bujo, then?
This is really up to you. I’ve started with an index, then what is known as a “future planner”; basically a calendar spread over a few pages where you note appointments you’re already aware of. This is because bujos tend to be filled in on a month-by-month basis, so you need one place to keep track of important dates.
I have monthly spreads, but I’m uncertain about doing weekly ones as my life is just not that busy. Though I might try and use it more of a journal – bujos are flexible like that!
Then you have your trackers and collections. Go into as much or as little detail as you want – after all, it’s your journal! This is really important to keep in mind, because there’s a lot of incredible ones out there and it can be easy to get swept away by them. However what works for one person might not work for you.
On the other hand, that’s another things that’s great about them; if something doesn’t work one month, you can change it up the next. You do NOT have to keep it all the same! I’ve seen several old hat journalists recommend doing a monthly review of what worked and what didn’t (as well as reviewing your trackers) though perhaps a quarterly or biannual one will be better. Again, it’s up to you.
Two things I would suggest – one; either buy a notebook with numbered pages (Leuchtturm or Scribbles That Matter) or write them in, and two; keep a track of your index. You’ll not need this in the early days, but a couple of months down the line it’ll be invaluable!
But don’t I have to be arty?
Take it from someone who isn’t – NO! The idea of a bullet journal is to be organised, not arty. Of course, you can combine the two, but if you’re not that way inclined, you don’t need to.
Or if you aren’t and want to, then there are loads of ways to tart your notebook up! You can get stickers, washi tape, and plastic stencils from a number of suppliers, or bob onto Etsy and find printable layouts. Or do what I did and find some pretty artwork and trace it in (a lightbox works wonders here and isn’t particularly expensive.)
Why not give it a go!