As a college student and current intern at W.B. Mason, life can get busy. Between balancing school, work, and my personal life, there is A LOT to remember. For a while, I was not sure how to remember everything, let alone keep track of what was coming next. After some trials and tribulations, I discovered a life hack to keep myself organized, my secret weapon, my bullet journal.
What is a bullet journal? It is a blank journal where you can write daily, weekly, or monthly tasks. You can also write your goals, events, and schedules that need a place to live on paper. Essentially it is a journal that you can use to organize every aspect of your life. The brilliance behind the bullet journal is that you can make it whatever you want. There is no right or wrong way to create a bullet journal, instead, there is complete freedom in designing what you think is the perfect journal.
You may be wondering; how does a bullet journal apply to the working world? Well, as an intern I use it to keep track of reoccurring meetings, ongoing projects, and other work-related events. Since bullet journals are so flexible and easy to use, they come with some benefits. They can help to improve time management, organization, efficiency, and productivity, and they can help reduce stress. Bullet journals can also help declutter your brain because writing things down helps to eliminate the constant attempt to remember what meeting or project deadline is coming up. Bullet journals can also increase efficiency as all your events, projects, and other important things are in one place, so you do not have to search to find everything you need. Since all your tasks and events will be written in a physical layout it can be easier to focus on getting things done and planning your day-to-day schedule.
As I mentioned, bullet journals are flexible and open to interpretation. However, guidance can sometimes be needed to get the creative juices flowing. Setting up a bullet journal can be a creative and personalized process, but here are some general steps you can follow if you need help getting started:
- Choose a notebook: Select a notebook with blank, dotted, or lined pages. Many people prefer dotted pages because they provide guidelines without being intrusive.
- Create an index: Reserve a few pages at the beginning of the notebook for an index. As you add new sections to your journal, add them to the index with corresponding page numbers for easy reference.
- Create a monthly log: On a blank double-page spread, create a monthly log where you can plan your month ahead, including important dates, events, appointments, and deadlines.
- Create a daily log: For each day, create a new page where you can list your tasks, events, and notes for that day. Use a bullet system to differentiate between tasks, events, and notes, and mark each item as complete, migrated, or scheduled for a later date. Color coding can also help here.
- Use collections: Collections are thematic lists or pages that are specific to your needs. Some common collections include a habit tracker, a gratitude log, a reading list, or a travel itinerary.
- Add decorative elements: Bullet journals are a creative outlet, so feel free to add decorative elements such as hand-lettered headings, doodles, or stickers.
*Remember: the primary purpose of the bullet journal is to increase productivity, so do not get too caught up in aesthetics.
Your bullet journal is customizable to your specific needs, so feel free to experiment with different layouts and elements until you find what works best for you. However, if you need some inspiration, there are many tools available. Here are some suggestions:
- Pinterest: Pinterest is a great place to find bullet journal inspiration. You can search for specific keywords like “bullet journal daily spread” or “bullet journal monthly spread” to find a variety of ideas and layouts.
- Instagram: Instagram is another social media platform where you can find bullet journal ideas. You can search for hashtags like #bulletjournal, #bujo, or #bulletjournaling to discover new layouts and ideas.
- Bullet journal blogs: There are many blogs dedicated to bullet journaling that provide a wealth of information and ideas. Some popular bullet journal blogs include Boho Berry, Little Coffee Fox, and The Petite Planner.
- YouTube: YouTube is also a great resource for bullet journal ideas, as many bullet journal enthusiasts share their layouts and ideas in video form. You can search for bullet journal videos by using keywords like “bullet journal setup” or “bullet journal inspiration.”
The beauty of bullet journaling is that you do not need a lot of fancy supplies to get started. Although shopping for supplies can be one of the most fun aspects of bullet journaling, you don’t need to go crazy. Some of the supplies that can be needed to bullet journal are pens, pencils, markers, Wite-Out, highlighters, rulers, and other supplies to customize the journal. Luckily, W.B. Mason has a wide selection of everything you need to get started! Here is a list of my top bullet journal supplies W.B. Mason offers:
- Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pen: These pens come in a wide variety of colors and offer smooth writing, quick drying, and a comfortable grip.
- Sharpie S-Gel Pen: These are a great option for smooth, quick drying, and a comfortable writing experience that has bold, vibrant color options.
- BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencils: Bic mechanical pencils are known for their consistent and reliable performance, and smooth writing, without breaking or jamming.
- BIC Wite-Out EZ Correction Tape: Bic Wite-Out EZ Correction Tape is designed to be easy to use, quick drying, and long-lasting, with a simple and intuitive mechanism that can make it easy to apply the tape exactly where you need it.
- Zebra Mildliner Double-Ended Highlighter: This highlighter is versatile due to its dual-ended tip. It is suitable for a range of highlighting and underlining tasks while also featuring quick drying and vibrant colors.
- Westcott Clear Ruler: The Westcott Clear Ruler is made from transparent and durable plastic, making it easy to see what needs to be measured which ensures accuracy.
- Moleskin Hard Cover Notebook: The Moleskin Hard Cover Notebook is a durable lined hard cover notebook with acid-free high-quality paper, ribbon bookmark, and expandable pocket, ideal for writing.
- Moleskin Hard Cover Notebook, Plain: The Moleskin Hard Cover Plain Notebook is a durable blank hard cover notebook with acid-free high-quality paper, a ribbon bookmark, and an expandable pocket, ideal for writing.
- JAM Paper Hardcover Fabric Journal: The Jam Paper Hardcover Fabric Journal is a hardcover lined journal with an elastic closure that comes in a variety of designs perfect and expandable pocket ideal for a variety of journaling needs.
Whether you are looking for a creative outlet or a way to stay organized for work, the bullet journal is truly adaptable to its owner and this flexibility is a great tool for office productivity and life balance!
Bullet Journal. The Basics of Bullet Journal Indexes and Ways to Modify It. (https://bulletjournal.com/blogs/bulletjournalist/index-mods-and-variations). Accessed April 12, 2023.
The New Yorker. Can Bullet Journaling Save You? (https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/can-bullet-journaling-save-you). Accessed April 12, 2023.
Very Well Mind. What is a Bullet Journal? (https://www.verywellmind.com/bullet-journaling-4520842). Accessed April 12, 2023.