How Bullet Journaling Will Make Your Life Easier

By Katrin Benzler

You may have seen or heard of the term “bullet journal” somewhere in the media. As the name suggests, it is a journal filled with bullet points (nothing to do with guns, by the way). The aim of the bullet journal is to stay organized and finally get your life together. Then again, the magic of bullet journals is that there are no rules. Everyone can use it differently, which is what makes it so much fun. There are no set guidelines to follow and everything is your own creation.

If you:

  • Love stationery: beautiful pens, breath-taking office supplies, etc
  • Make lists and you have them scattered all over your floor
  • Hyperventilate when you enter a craft/stationery store
  • Love diaries, planners, agendas, and notebooks
  • Want to be more organized
  • Want to change a habit

Then read on.

If not, I still advise you to read on, because there are absolutely no requirements needed for a bullet journal.


But What is a Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is a notebook meant for rapid logging. It is effortless and practical. It can be minimalistic or it can be like a scrapbook. It can have photos, paintings, doodles, and quotes.


Source: Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

Personally, I started bullet journaling to keep all my separate notebooks (to-do lists, diaries, dream diaries, reflection notebook, agenda, photography planner, etc.) in one place. Another reason is that there were a lot of habits I wanted to change and keep track of. Furthermore, I love doodling and spending my time arranging each page. But, most importantly, I use my bullet journal to keep a positive mindset.


How do I Get Started?

  1. You need a (dotted) notebook and a pen.

Make sure your pages are thick enough for the ink to not bleed through. Which journal size you choose depends on how much you want to write on each page. However, if it’s too large or too small, it is not as practical. I advise A5 notebooks.

  1. Make a list of lists you want to include.

This is where we are all differentiate; you decide what you want to include, and where. I would recommend leaving the first few pages free for yearly trackers such as Future Logs, to then start with Monthly Logs and Daily Logs. An index on the first page makes it easier to keep a clear overview on what is where.


Source: Index on my Instagram 4trina_bujo

Here are ideas for yearly layouts:

  • 2018 Goals
  • 2018 Mood Tracker
  • Period Tracker
  • Netflix Series Tracker
  • Book List
  • UCR Grades Tracker
  • Holidays & Events
  • Birthdays
  • Future Log
  • Wishlist
  • IRP Tracker


Source: Holidays & Events on my Instagram 4trina_bujo


Source: IRP Tracker on my Instagram 4trina_bujo

And here are some ideas for monthly layouts:

  • Habit Tracker
  • Sleep Tracker
  • Monthly Overview
  • One Line a Day
  • Brain Dump
  • Individual Weeks
  • Dream Tracker
  • Expenses Tracker
  • Cover Pages
  • Diary Pages


Source: March Cover Page on my Instagram 4trina_bujo


Source: Weekly Overview on my Instagram 4trina_bujo


Source: Expenses Tracker on my Instagram 4trina_bujo


Source: Days to Remember on my Instagram 4trina_bujo

  1. Keep A Key

A key at the beginning of your journal helps you know what each symbol means. I don’t use this myself, but many bullet journalists recommend it.


Source: Serena’s Bullet Journal

  1. Plan the pages with a pencil

Once you have made the list of things you want to include, plan your pages accordingly before using a permanent pen. Trust me, you don’t want to tear out pages that can then accidently mess up your planning and initial structure.

  1. Find cool layouts on Pinterest or Instagram

The title says it all. If you lack creativity or need help getting started, Pinterest is the best place to get inspired (and to stay inspired, too). I like choosing one theme per month. For example, for January I chose blue shades and winter-inspired doodles. February featured copper, pink, and hearts. And March will be all plant and climate-change related.


Source: Post Tracker on my Instagram 4trina_bujo

So yes, bullet journaling can be effortless once you have set your yearly and monthly pages up, but it can also be time-consuming, if that is what you choose to do.
Bullet journaling takes a little practice; you need to try out different things before you figure out what you like best and what layouts work best for you. I only started my bullet journal this year and there is still so much to discover.

If you have any questions or are looking for recommendations, feel free to contact me on Facebook or Instagram!


Featured image source: Weekly Overview on my Instagram 4trina_bujo


Katrin Benzler, Class of 2019, is a Psychology and Sociology major from Heidelberg, Germany.


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