How to Start a Bullet Journal

Using a Bullet Journal to Organize Work and Art

Have you heard of a Bullet Journal?

I had seen dotted and graph paper journals in the store while perusing day planners over the past few months. I just couldn’t image why someone would want one. What do you use it for?

I’ve heard some YouTubers in the past few weeks mention Bullet Journals in passing. I didn’t think much of it. Then a few weeks ago, I picked up a Bullet Journal.

I had no idea what do with it but I purchased it anyway and brought it home.

Is it a day planner? Not really…

When I got home, I went to the bullet journal website and watched the introduction video. Then, started the journal.

But, I was still a little confused so I watch one more video.

This is not meant to be a day planner, per se. Which is ok, since I tend to fail at day planners, lately. One reason day planners don’t work for me is because I have electronic calendars that I use for work appointments.

It’s the time when I’m not in the office, at my day job, that I struggle organizing. I also need a place to log time tracking for work.

Setting up the Bullet Journal

I suggest that you watch the Bullet Journal video before getting started.

Watch the Bullet Journal Introduction Video here.

My video is located at the bottom of this page in case you’d prefer to watch it instead of reading.

Here’s a quick overview. I’ll have pictures of my examples below

Create a key to remind you of the symbols you’ll use in the pages.

The index is created as you go. I love this idea. As I create a new page, I just write the title in the index and place the page number to make it easy to find.

Create a Future Log (looks like a monthly log). This is simply a place to put tasks that you can schedule sometime in the future.

Create a One month log with a running task list. Don’t worry about filling in every date. If you have something that’s specific to a date, like Mother’s Day or Dinner with parents write it in the monthly. Otherwise, you should be able to add it to the running task list on the right.

Daily Log – I set up a basic one then expanded on it. You don’t have to confine it to two pages. Currently, I’m using a page per day. This allows me to add things on the fly and allows room for notes and ides.

How does the Bullet Journal Work?

The bullet journal is a place to write down what comes to mind. Everything can be referenced using the index. This can include projects, notes, goals, trackers or whatever you keep track of.

Merging Work and Art Side Hustle

In the journal, I keep work notes, time tracking and work tasks that I don’t have scheduled in my calendar.

I color code work tasks and art tasks so they are easy to tell apart. This reminds me that I don’t need to work on art tasks during the work day and vice versa.

My absolute favorite part is that I can adjust and add pages to suit my needs.

How is this system helping me?

This system helps me get the art stuff out of my head so I can work. I always have a place to organize my thoughts.

It allows me to look back at what I have done during the week. I can see how productive I’ve been and I no longer have to guess.

During quarantine, it’s helped create a morning work at home routine. This has been a great for my mental health.

So Far, I’m only Two Weeks in…

Hopefully I don’t give up on this but I’ll let you know. There are no plans to limit this to one journal a year.

Lately, I’ve realized that I may be in danger of information overload. The hope is that this will help me process all the information that I’ve been researching and learning about for my art hustle.

In 6 months, I’ll plan on giving you an update on how or if this is working for me.

Have you tried the Bullet Journal System?

If you haven’t, my suggestion would be to start slow with a basic Bullet Journal set up.

Add work flows as you find they are needed.

I don’t use my BuJo as a sketchbook but, I find it’s great to have nearby incase an art idea pops into my head while I’m working. I have a place to put it down without it disappearing into an abyss of Post-it notes.

If you need help organizing your thoughts and your day but a traditional planner hasn’t worked, I think you should at least give this a try.

The beaches are officially open so hopefully, I’ll see you at the beach!

~ Jenn

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