Welcome to Post 1 of our new bullet journaling series here on Rhodia Drive! In the bullet journaling intro post I told you a little bit about what you will see in this series: practical tips on how to use a bullet journal in a simplified, easy to use way.
Whether you are new to the bullet journaling system or are a veteran user, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the photos online of different ways to use a bullet journal. I’ve seen lots of comments from people online who say they couldn’t do bullet journaling because they found it too time consuming. This makes me sad, because it’s exactly the opposite of what the bullet journal system was designed for.
The Bullet Journal system was designed by Ryder Carroll to be a way to quickly and easily categorize your notes as you write them, to make the information easy to find later. I recommend going through the Getting Started guide and watching the video (personally I prefer the original video) to see what Bullet Journaling is all about.
The system caught on, and people started adapting it to their needs. The best thing about the Bullet Journal system is that you can customize it to use it any way you want, and can change it as your needs change (even day to day if you want). It grows organically to fit your needs.
As people started coming up with new ways to bullet journal, many people decided they wanted to incorporate planning pages and ended up drawing up weekly pages in their book, which is very time consuming. As I talk about in this post, the point of the original Bullet Journal system is NOT to draw up your days and weeks ahead of time, so you’re not constrained and have as much space as you need to write each day. Some days are less busy and you need less space. Other days are busier and you need more space to write your appointments, tasks, and notes for the day.
In this post I will show you a way to incorporate forward planning (also called Future Logging) into your bullet journal while still giving you unlimited space to write your Daily Log and your Collections.
In this post I am using a softcover A5 dotted Rhodiarama notebook, which has just become available in the USA! Hooray! These notebooks have 90gsm ivory paper which is great to use with fountain pens, or any pen of your choice.
Here is how I set up a new bullet journal:
To be able to plan ahead in my bullet journal, I draw up a year’s worth of monthly pages at the front of the book. This gives me the ability to plan the entire year, and doesn’t take up nearly as much time (or fill up my book) as drawing weekly layouts page after page.
The dot grid allows me to make straight lines horizontally and vertically. On the pages there are 40 spaces counting from the top of the page to the bottom, so I gave 3 spaces at the top and one space at the bottom, then drew up 6 rows with 6 lines each.
Each page has 28 spaces across the page, so I drew up 4 columns per page with 7 spaces in each column.
This gives me a month grid where each day has 6 lines vertically and 7 across.
I have a space before each week to write reminders for that week. There is also a space below the days where I write recurring events that happen on the same day every week.
I draw up the entire year of monthly calendars in the very front of my notebook. I like to put a two-page spread between each month where I can write that month’s goals, budget, tracking, master list, etc.
And that, my friends, is all I do to set up my new bullet journal.
Once my monthly pages are done, I’m able to dive right into my Daily Log. I can write as much or as little as I need to each day. Some days I write a full page or more. Other days I write less.
You can see this post for tips on how to decide which bullets and signifiers to use for your Rapid Logging.
What about an Index, you ask? I don’t use one. After bullet journaling for several years I’ve found it’s easier for me to find everything when I write my Collections in the back of the book and my Daily Log from the front. But of course if you find the Index useful, add one. Some people find it helpful to put their Index in the back of their book, some prefer it in the front.
I hope this post helps you get set up with bullet journaling in your notebook. Remember, quick and simple is key.
Next Friday I’ll have more tips on using your bullet journal!
For more tips on bullet journaling, look for our Rhodia bullet journaling posts here on Rhodia Drive on the first three Fridays of each month!