Take the bullet. Start Bullet Journalling.

Bullet journaling has taken the 21st century by storm. But how did this form of journaling come to be? Let’s venture briefly into the history of journaling to find out.

One of the oldest forms of journaling can be found in The Pillow Book, an account of written by Sei Shōnagon, during the 990s. The book is  composed of a quirky and anecdotal account of Empress Consort Teishi’s court proceedings through Sei’s somewhat-disconnected everyday musings. Similar travelogues and journals can be found in ancient Roman and South-east Asian histories.

What began as a process of dwelling on the past, has evolved into a tool for the present and the future. People’s busy schedules have changed journaling habits across the globe. Blank journals have morphed into ‘planners’—bulky books, with a pre-printed calendar, check-lists, scheduler, address book and so on. In the late 90s, scheduling every aspect of your life into the planner became a sort of ritual, and was often looked upon with pride.

In 2013, Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer from New York City, reimagined the act of journaling. Should journaling be limited to the printed page of a planner? Or can it be a method that’s entirely customizable to suit one’s needs? The Bullet Journal Method (BuJo for short) was born out of much deliberation about questions like these. It is a tool for the present, but also creates space for the past and the future, After seven years, this method of content organization has inspired hundreds to begin journaling once again. 

If we’ve got you sufficiently curious about this type of journaling, read on! Next, you’ll learn how to begin Bullet Journaling with your Endless notebook right away. 

Step 1: Learn the language

Choosing to write by hand has its benefits and shortcomings. Studies show that the act of writing tends to relieve stress, increase motor coordination and enhance focus. That said, this method requires dedicated time and organizing efforts. Rapid Logging is a type of writing adopted for Bullet Journaling. It is quick, yet effective, and helps you put down your thoughts in an organized manner. 

Think about all the different types of information you may want to jot down in your journal. It could be tasks, notes, thoughts or even moments of inspiration. All of them have a place in your journal. The trick is to organize them efficiently.

For that purpose, derive a key that you can use while journaling. Essentially, rapid journaling is noting down information in bulleted form, so choose symbols that can be used to represent your content. The official BuJo website has a standard key for this, but you can customize it, at will.

Image from www.gouletpens.com

For items like tasks or events, also think of ways to show completed tasks or migrated ones. We’ll talk more about this ahead. 

Step 2: Structure it right 

A basic bullet journal consists of four parts: an Index, The Future Log, The Monthly Log and The Daily Log. You can also add a ‘Custom Collections’ section to let your creativity soar. This moldable structure makes it easy to organize your life and interests.

The Index is integral to the process of bullet journaling. It helps you locate your content at any point in time. At Endless, we’ve always recognized the importance of an index, and even included it as a part of our journals. So instead of having to manually draw one, simply add Topics or Collections to the existing index at the beginning of your journal. 

The Future Log gives you a bird’s-eye view of the coming months. Divide your pages into sections for the upcoming months, leaving space to jot down major upcoming events and tasks of the year ahead. Don’t write down anything too specific, or immediate tasks—there will be plenty of space for that. This type of log is meant to give you a brief outline of the coming year. Choose to add things like travel, goals, birthdays or major events.

If you’re worried about writing on a blank page, use the Planner Layout from your Endless Toolkit to keep your lines in check. Then, you can use the 5mm Grid to fill it in with content. 

The Monthly Log is a spread of pages consisting of a Calendar and a Task page. The calendar, structured vertically in the order of dates lets you put your entire month in perspective, and you can align your tasks to a given date. You can also use a single page, and create both sections side by side. To execute this, use the Two-column Divider to re-create a calendar and task list on the same page. 

Your Daily Log forms the bed-rock of your journal. It is designed for your day-to-day use. Record the date at the top of the page, and begin Rapid Journaling using the key you created in Step 1. As the day progresses, keep adding to your daily log. Apart from jotting down the day’s tasks, make sure you take note of passing ideas or bouts of inspiration. Scribble them in so you can get back to it later.

Have you ever found yourself in a library, overwhelmed, because suddenly you don’t remember the books you planned to borrow? Well, building a Custom Collection in your journal can help you plan for this exact moment. Not only do these topic-specific lists help you remember things when you need to, but they can also motivate you to accomplish long term goals. For example, you could start a collection titled ‘Living eco-friendly this year’ and list small changes you’re looking to bring in your lifestyle. As and when you implement them, mark them with a tick and the date on which you started. Putting things down on paper keeps you accountable and accurate. A couple of years down the line, when you look back in time, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve been able to accomplish! 

Step 3: Get down to it. 

There’s nothing left to do but to begin. Every morning, take note of the previous day’s tasks and events. If some remain incomplete, add them to today’s list. If they fall under the right categories, you can even migrate tasks to Custom Collections. Don’t be afraid to change tasks or goals, if necessary. Re-visit the pages of your journal when you can. Don’t forget to take note of all the things you’ve managed to do, along with the ones that you haven’t. The process should keep you motivated to continue. And above all, don’t forget to have fun and be creative! There’s nothing stopping you from a doodle here and there, or even a day’s break.

Let us know if this blog helped you in any way, or if you have some feedback for us! We’re always looking to hear from you.