A Guide to Bullet Journaling

With the coursework deadlines slowly piling up and having 101 things to do before the Christmas break, it can be hard to stay organised. So why not give bullet journaling a go? If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s basically like keeping a to-do list journal which also helps to document those special moments such as the time you played Cards Against Humanity till the early hours or the time you received a special parcel from home. I started my bullet journal in July and so far, so good! I love looking back on special days and it helps me keep up to date with what I have and haven’t done. It’s also a great way to get creative with multi-coloured pens and doodles!

So here’s my quick guide to setting up your own bullet journal:

1) Treat yourself to a new notebook!

As a stationery lover, this was the perfect opportunity to head down to my local Paperchase and browse those beautiful notebooks! Choose wisely because this journal should hopefully stick with you for a whole year.

2) Consider a motivation page.

On the first page of your journal, write yourself a positive message to look back on throughout the year ahead. I’ve seen a couple of people do these now and I think it’s a great way to start your journal. Mine reads ‘Have Courage and Be Kind’ (Cinderella, 2015) as a personal reminder to hold my head up high and spread kindness to others.

3) Number your pages.

Bullet journals can be full of so many different types of pages so it’s great to keep an index of all your page numbers so you can easily find what you’re looking for.

  • Pages 1 & 2 should be reserved for your index. On this, write down all your page headings and the numbers these can be found on. For example, ‘November 2016: 65-66’.
  • Pages 3 & 4 should be dedicated to your ‘Future Log’ which involves writing down any events that are in the foreseeable future. When you reach that month, you can look back and see everything you need to remember. This is especially handy for keeping track of your upcoming deadlines.

4) Monthly logs.

From here on in, you construct your bullet journal on a day to day basis rather than prepping pages ahead of yourself only to find that you need more room for a particularly hectic day. You can start each month with a couple of pages dedicated to a mini calendar where you list the days of the month and add in any upcoming events. I also find it helpful to include a monthly to do list so that I know exactly what I want to achieve in the space of my month.

5) Weekly logs.

Your weekly logs are where you fill out your day-to-day tasks, memories and events/appointments to keep track of each day as it comes. Bullet journaling involves the use of signifiers which ‘signal’ what each short entry is about. This can become quite complex so I stick to five key signifiers.

  • A box indicates a task that I need to complete. Once I’ve done this task, I simply fill in the box to show this.
  • A triangle tells me if I have any appointments/places to go. This can include lectures, socials, careers fairs etc. Once I’ve attended the event, I fill the triangle in.
  • A dot indicates things I need to remember or want to log such as a TV programme that I watched or a book that I started reading.
  • A heart next to one of these signifiers shows that it is a special memory.
  • A star next to one of these signifiers shows it to be urgent/important.

This may seem confusing at first but once you get used to the code, it’s easy as pie. And if you don’t manage to get a task done on the day, simply put an arrow through the task box so you know to move it forwards to a different day.


6) Collections.

Once you’ve got the main aspects of your bullet journal set up, feel free to add odd pages here and there when you feel like you need to make a specific list. These are called collections. Examples of collections could include a list of books you want to read or a list of Christmas cards to write. As always, write these down in your index so you can easily find your collections through the page number system!

I hope this article has given you some organisational inspiration and that some of you will give bullet journaling a try. Go with your personal style, have fun with it and pretty soon, you’ll have a book full of info about what you’ve achieved and the amazing uni and life experiences you’ve had along the way!