Biting the Bullet Journal Episode 1 – Researching and Planning

By: Emma Gerber

A few months ago, I first encountered the “Bullet Journal”. In case you don’t know, the bullet journal is a notebook/planner hybrid that people handmake to fit them and their schedule. Inside it, you’ll find pages for weekly planning, goals for the year, habit trackers, and much much more. Bullet journals tend to be really artsy and aesthetic, and because they are handmade they are super personalizable. This is the planner for the hyper organized artistic person, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

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If I’m being honest, historically, I haven’t been the most organized person. My biggest problem in fifth grade was always forgetting my homework. In the seventh grade I literally just stuffed all of my papers into one big binder until it exploded (shout out to Coleman advisory for helping me with that mess). However, there’s no doubt that I’ve grown a lot since then. Especially this year, I’ve gotten a lot more organized. I have a special planner that I write out my entire daily schedule in, and I plan out everything I have to do for each week. Despite my feeble attempts at organization, the bullet journal will be a big step up. Nonetheless, I’ve decided to try it out.

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I decided the first step I should take would be to research. So, I opened up my computer, logged into my pinterest account, and started scrolling. Typing simply “Bullet Journals” into the search bar, I found millions of pristinely laid out journal pages. There were pages for everything, from grocery lists to sleep trackers to budget pages. Truly, this is how extra I aspire to be. My first reaction was both “This is awesome, I want to do everything!” and “How do people have time to do any of this?”

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It’s probably also important to note that these journals are usually made in dotted notebooks for optimal convenience. It’s basically just a journal with evenly dispersed dots in a perfect grid so you can easily draw a straight line.

I know that since this is my first bullet journal I should probably go the minimalistic route, but I’ve always been the perfectionist “go big or go home” type. So, I set out to make a plan of literally every bullet journal page I could ever want, and laid it out on a google doc. It ended up looking something like this:

Cover Table of Contents
Yearly layout Yearly layout
Birthdays and Holidays Year in Pixels
Goals Pretty graphic
Monthly calendar Monthly calendar
Habit Tracker Budget
Mood Tracker Gratitude
Books / Movies Songs I love
Schedule Grades
Want/Need Tiny Adventures
Daily Spreads Memories

Each box is a different page. I decided to lay it out this way because a I found that a lot of journals had designs that took up two pages, so I wanted to be able to account for that. The order of the pages will probably change, but this is just a rough draft for right now.  Below I’ve included a description and picture of each page – just so you can get the idea of what I’m thinking.

Table of Contents

This is pretty self explanatory – just a page to keep track of other pages.

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Yearly layout

This is basically just a glorified mini calendar. You can make a calendar and a place to keep track of events. This page is also often referenced to as a “Future Log”.

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Birthdays and Holidays

It’s important to me to remember people’s birthdays – that’s the true mark of a very organized person. This is just a page to help you do that.

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Year in Pixels

This is one of the more unique and cool pages, in my opinion. With this page, people basically make a chart of pixels, with one pixel for each day. Every day they fill in the pixel a certain color according to a key. For example, if they were tracking mood they could fill in their pixel yellow for happy, blue for sad, and green for somewhere in between. By the end of the year you have a cool pixelated picture of your year.

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Goals

Pretty simple – just a place for tracking goals. I’m not quite sure yet, but I think I want a yearly goals page instead of a monthly goals page. I can always make little monthly goals on my calendar, and besides, I’ve always been a more big picture person.

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A pretty graphic

I just needed to fill up a page here, so I thought I’d just include a pretty picture. Something that would make me happy when i looked at it. I might also leave it blank for a drawing space.

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Monthly calendar

Also pretty self explanatory – just a monthly calendar.

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Habit Tracker

This page is one of my personal favorites. There are so many things to do every day – so this page just gives you a place to check of your habits for the day. It also gives you a good picture at the end of the month of how much you stuck to your good habits.

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Budget

I don’t exactly have the most complicated budget ever, but I think it’s important to be prudent with money and start good habits early. This page is literally just a page to keep track of your budget: incomes, expenses, etc.

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Mood Tracker

Just another tracker, but for mood this time. From my research, these tend to be the most artsy and creative trackers.

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Gratitude

We all know expressing gratitude is important. I came across this page and thought it was a cool idea – just a place to jot down what you’re thankful for each day.

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Books / Movies

Just a place to keep track of books and movies that I want to/already have seen or read. I really like the idea of these pages being laid out like a bookshelf or movie pages. I’ve seen some ideas where people write out the book or movie name in their design and then color it in when they’ve seen or read it. I’m a huge fangirl and lover of stories, so I think this page will be perfect for me.

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Songs I love

Music is actually my lifeblood, so I just wanted a place to keep track of all of the epic songs i listen to.

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Schedule

Just a place to write down my school schedule so I don’t have to carry it around. I already do this in my current planner, so it seemed logical. On further thought this page might be closer to the front for convenience and organization.

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Grades

I am slightly obsessive over my grades, so I thought it would be a good idea to have a page to track them. This is just a simple page to write down grade checkpoints for a quick glance at how I’m doing.

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Want/Need

I forget literally everything, so this would just be a page to write down when I need more of something or if I come across something I want. With this, when my mom goes out to get stuff or someone asks me what I want for christmas, I won’t panic and blurt out “World Peace!” like I always somehow end up doing.

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Tiny Adventures

This page is just a page to document when you do those little things that you’ve been wanting to do more often, like talk to a stranger or stand outside and embrace the rain. I don’t know, I just thought it was a cute idea.

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Daily Spreads

Finally, we’ve gotten to the daily planner pages. Here is where I can write down my schedule, my homework and tasks, and track my water intake. Exactly what you would generally see in a regular planner. Yes, It took way too many pages to get here, but go big or go home, right?

Memories

This is just a cute little page at the end of every month to write down some cool things you don’t want to forget. Like that time Dr.Bisselle said “Mems” instead of “Memes” (Still my favorite moment of the year, tbh). I thought this would be really cute and rewarding to read at the end of the year.

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So there you have it! Your beginners guide to bullet journaling. Of course, there are still so many more things left to discover, but I’ll leave that up to you.

In conclusion, Bullet Journaling is cool and I really want to try it. I love the artsy side to it, and also the hyper organization. It also seems like it takes a lot of time to do, but I’m ready to give it a shot.

Tune in next time to see me buy my bullet journal materials and possibly even start working. I’m excited to take you on this adventure with me!