Bullet journals have proven to be useful and flexible organizing tools. They can make a chaotic life easier to manage. They can be tweaked to cater to individual preferences. However, the numerous possibilities can also make them daunting. There really is no right or wrong way to go about it. Find strategies that work for you. Here are a few bullet journal ideas to use in your personal planner:
1. Add an instant pocket for storage.
A pocket is handy for holding items that could be used for future posts. You could also make it a storage area for tickets, cards, cash, or any other thing that can fit the space. An envelope is perfect as you can simply glue it to the back. You may also use a strong tape.
2. Layer post-it notes for easy access without the bulk.
Sticky notes are great for brainstorming but carrying them around can be a hassle. The pads are too bulky to insert in a journal. A good alternative is to layer them one by one in overlapping fashion across a page to reduce bulk.
3. Use the built-in strap as pen holder.
It’s hard to write without a pen. Make sure that you always have one clipped to your journal. Many of them don’t have their own pen holder but you can always turn the strap into one with a simple trick. Simply wrap it diagonally to increase tension and hook a pen to the side.
4. Break down the index into categories.
Before writing anything down, think of what you want to use the journal for. Are you going to keep track of your expenses? Are you going to organize events? Are you aiming to log all your training runs for a marathon? Maybe it’s all these and more. Create an index for reference including the categories and sub-categories, as well as the corresponding pages.
5. Develop a color coding system.
A page full of text can be hard to read. Break things down into lists for improved readability. You may also use color as visual cue. Assign red for one category, blue for the next, yellow for another, and so on.
6. Remind yourself with a fold-out journal key.
via Cerrie’s Money
Journaling systems can take a while to master, even if you developed it yourself. Don’t be pressured into memorizing everything at once. Get a card and write down what each color signifies. Include acronyms and their meaning so you don’t get confused. Add this as a fold-out reference.
7. Use highlighters to mark the edges.
Since you have assigned colors to each category, start marking the edges of the pages with the appropriate hues. These will make it a breeze to flip to the right part of the journal whenever you want to write or read entries. Use highlighters or similar tools for this task.
8. Use washi tape for special pages.
The same idea can be executed using washi tape. Get them in different colors and designs to mark the edges in a distinctive manner. Most people opt to reserve washi tapes for marking very special pages like favorite entries and important posts.
9. Make corner bookmarks for grouping similar pages.
Regular bookmarks are great for noting individual pages. However, sometimes you might want to mark multiple pages. You can do this by making corner bookmarks with a triangular shape, similar to a flattened cone. The relevant pages should fit nicely inside them.
10. Hack a Dutch door for busy weeks.
In the construction world, Dutch doors are openings where the top half can be open while the bottom half remains closed. In journaling, pages can resemble Dutch doors where the top has been cut out while the bottom remains. It’s a neat trick for busy weeks as they can hold additional information in the middle of a spread.
11. Stick post-it notes on the pages.
Post-it notes aren’t just for temporary ideas. You can stick them directly onto the pages as permanent entries. For example, you might use them to create a grocery list that you can browse while shopping. Once you’re done, paste it on the journal so you don’t have to copy everything.
12. Trace drawings with carbon paper.
You can break the monotony of text by adding illustrations to your entries. Art skills aren’t necessary. Just get some carbon paper and trace the outline of a drawing onto the page. It’s very easy and you should be able to get good transfers after a few tries.
13. Thread related pages with a simple hack.
You may run out of space for long entries. If the next page is already full, then you will be forced to jump several pages to continue writing. Be sure to note the page number of this remote location on your original entry. Conversely, note the page number of the original entry on this remote location. Kim from Tiny Ray of Sunshine elaborates more on this topic.
14. Organize tasks by blocks within a day.
When trying to organize daily tasks, try not to lump everything in a single list. Divide the day into blocks such as morning, afternoon, and night. Assign tasks into the most suitable period to keep the lists short and improve the chances of completion. Shorter timeframes usually have better outcomes.
15. Make weekly logs for general tasks with no set schedules.
If there are tasks that simply cannot be pigeonholed into an exact day, then put them all together in a weekly log so that you can still keep track of their status. Cross them out as they are completed. You may also transfer them into a specific day later on. Group them into categories for improved manageability.
16. Dedicate a page for a year-long calendar with markings.
While it is important to delve into the details, it is also vital to zoom out sometimes and get a macro view of the entire year. Having a year-long calendar on a single page will be helpful. Mark significant dates so you can be reminded at a glance.
Remember that these are just starting points. Feel free to let your creative juices flow and make your own hacks. Share your own bullet journal ideas.