The Bullet Journal: What It Is & Why You Need It

If you’re not familiar with the Bullet Journal concept, consider this your official invitation to the bandwagon. I am not normally one to espouse the virtues of the latest Instagram craze, but in this case, I’m going to go ahead and make an exception. If you have ever thought that it would be fantastic to organize your responsibilities at home, keep your work notes and appointments sorted and a running list of products to test and skills to learn all in one place you’re absolutely right, it would be, and you can, with a Bullet Journal.

I want to start off by saying that I am the most disorganized neat freak on the planet. I love all things organizational and I start and subsequently abandon more complicated systems of getting my schedule, life, and workspace into a flow each month than I care to admit. Poor Kerri has to deal with a new “THIS is how I work now!” email every month. It’s bad, folks.

Bullet Journal with pens

My husband is the one who turned me onto the idea of making a Bullet Journal (given my other love of notebooks of all kinds) and I immediately thought that it would be an incredibly useful tool for stylists, marketers, and/or  business owners of any kind.

At any given time, I have 4-5 different notebooks going, each with their own purpose and function. I can imagine that between appointment books, Pinterest profiles, sketchbooks, and Google Calendars, you probably feel the same way. Could you imagine having one book that has all of your inspirations, notes, to-dos and appointments? No more losing track of what is where!

Over this article series, we will go over what a Bullet Journal is, how to set one up for yourself as well as some rookie mistakes (that I definitely made and want to save you from) and fun creative challenges.

Let’s get started!

What Is A Bullet Journal?

At its core, a Bullet Journal is a do-it-yourself life planner. It can be whatever you want it to be, which makes it the perfect planning tool. It also makes it a little confusing. After all, if something can be anything…what is it?? There are absolutely no rules when it comes to Bullet journaling, but there are a few guidelines (like basic structure), so let’s nail down some specifics:

A Bullet journal is a life planner that’s intended to organize your year in a few different ways: “in the future,” by month and by day. It is intended to be an accurate representation of your real life which means that you can (and should) include both personal and work/life information in your Bullet Journal, that way your entire life is in one place. But we are getting a little ahead of ourselves here.

It’s a purely analog tool in an increasingly digital world and there is a good reason for that: our brains actually process and retain information differently on paper than they do on a screen.

Bullet Journal supplies

By taking a physical approach to information, we are able to organize it in a different and more creative way.

You can have all of the digital calendars and reminders that you want, all notifying you of various appointments and tasks, but the bad news is that your mind will discard that information almost instantly.

Essentially, the Bullet Journal uses your brain’s natural mechanics against you to trick you into wanting to keep yourself organized. It’s Science + Art (to the organizational power).

What you will need

  1. 1 Notebook. It should be sturdy enough to withstand heavy usage for an entire year with graphed or dotted pages. Suggestions: Leuchtturn 1917 Notebook —Dotted, the Official Bullet Journal Notebook (it’s usually out of stock on the website though), Moleskine Squared Notebook
  2. 1 Flexible Stainless Steel Ruler
  3. Ultra-Fine point pens. I like Micron Art Pens, but you can use Sakura Microperms or even Schmidt, Foray or the Pilot V5—just look for a 0.5mm tip and you should be GTG.

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