If you’ve been on the internet at all in the last few months, chances are you’ve read about bullet journals. And if you’re like me, you were probably curious about what exactly a bullet journal is. Put simply, a bullet journal is an organizational system that keeps track of anything you want. It can be your task manager, sketchbook, journal, idea list, and more. However, this post isn’t meant to be a how-to, but to share my experience with using a bullet journal. (If you need a how-to, this article explains it all.)
I like the idea of being organized, so I had pages of lists in several notebooks and multiple apps on my phone to keep track of life. This resulted in a lack of organization rather than being more organized. So the idea of a simple way to organize my life was appealing. And when I learned that all you really need to start a bullet journal is a pen and a notebook, I decided to give it a try. Here’s what worked for me.
Keep It Simple
When I first came across bullet journals, I saw a lot of pictures of beautiful, hand drawn spreads. I have no artistic talent, so it was a little intimidating. This led me to put the idea on the back burner for a while. But I later realized that I didn’t have to make it that complicated, and isn’t the whole point of getting more organized to make your life simpler? Plus the idea of spending a ton of time on my journal/organizer didn’t appeal to me. I knew I wouldn’t keep up with it if it felt like too much of a chore.
Setting Up My Bullet Journal
So I finally bit the bullet with a notebook I had lying around. I started with a super simple spread, no fancy fonts or elaborate doodles or drawings. Then I made a key in the front, an index, a future log, and important lists.
Now it was time to set up my first month. First, I built a habit tracker. I was never completely happy with how this turned out. But the great thing about a bullet journal is that you can change it up if something isn’t working. I also tried a menu planner, but couldn’t seem to make that work, either.
Next was my favorite part of the bullet journal concept-the daily log. Here I could keep brief notes, make to-do lists for each day, and jot down important reminders. This part of the journal really kept me on track and helped me to be more productive each day. I simply wrote the date and made my list underneath. If I didn’t fill the page, I would just continue with the next day. And anything I didn’t finish each day could be migrated to the next. I also loved that I could add a new list (or collection) at any time.
I kept my paper bullet journal for about 3 months and I loved the concept. But I got to a point where I realized that I would prefer a digital version. What led me to this decision? Why do I like digital better? Keep reading!A bullet journal can keep you organized. Can it be done digitally?Click To Tweet
My Digital Bullet Journal
I realized that I do pretty much everything else on my phone or computer, so why have a notebook and pen to carry around, too? That was the main reason I changed to a digital bullet journal. So I set my journal up in OneNote. I started a new notebook and titled it Bullet Journal. (I know, obvious right?) Then I made tabs for collections, my journal, budgeting, and others. I also start a new tab for each month to include things like my habit tracker, sleep tracker, workout chart, and so on.
But there are other advantages as well. I made templates of my habit tracker, chore list, calendar, and other charts I use each month. Now all I have to do is copy and paste them into each new month. It only takes me about 5 minutes to set up each new month, which I love!
Why I Love OneNote
OneNote has several templates to choose from to dress up your pages. I can also find free clip art online and paste into my pages. So I’m able to make my pages and spreads look amazing with very little work and no artistic talent!
OneNote has tags that you can add to your lists, such as to-do check boxes, movies to see, and priority tasks. You can even search your tags and see all the items marked with a specific tag in one place.
OneNote allows you to add links to your notes. You can add links to web pages or other pages anywhere in your OneNote. I just discovered this feature and I absolutely love it. For example, I can make a specific list in one page (such as groceries) and then link to it from my budget page!
OneNote stores everything in the cloud, so even if something happens to my device, I don’t lose all of my hard work. Also, I will never run out of pages in a notebook. OneNote is available for Apple, Android, and Windows devices, so you can download and sync it to all your devices. And the full desktop version is completely free!
For me, a digital bullet journal is the way to go. I realize this isn’t the best for everyone. Some of you are artistic enough to make beautiful spreads and are willing to put in the time doing it. That’s not me. I don’t want to spend a ton of time on my journal and don’t have the talent to make it that artistic. So you have to do what’s best for you. But if, like me, you don’t have the time or desire to make your bullet journal look like the ones on Instagram, digital may be the way to go for you. And though I personally love the features of OneNote, there are plenty of note-taking apps that you can choose from.
Do you keep a bullet journal? Do you prefer paper or digital and why? Tell me about it in the comments below, then read more: