Bullet Journal – The Beginning

I Caved In

I didn’t want to carry another notebook around, but I finally decided to give it a try. I started a Bullet Journal.

I started it for September 2016. I thought it might come in handy for Grad School. I could better keep track of my assignments and deadlines.

I have two store bought planners, but I don’t use them like I should. I didn’t know why, and I assumed it was because it was easier to go digital.

I still do put things that are very important in my digital calendar. When I do that, I can have the reminder pop up, on the off chance that I do forget.

I procrastinated because I didn’t think it would be helpful, or that I would enjoy it, or that I would keep up with it.


Not Helpful


Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal

My introduction to the Bullet Journal was from the man himself, Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer living in Brooklyn. His Bullet Journal (BUJO) is no frills, just the facts ma’am. His month at a glance page was not to my liking and I was not impressed. However, he and others who were doing it, said it was a great organizational tool.

I already have a writing notebook. I put all my lists etc., in that book. It seemed redundant to me.


Lack of Enjoyment

I couldn’t see how the way Ryder did his BUJO would be enjoyable for me. His BUJO is all dude…minimalistic. For an extremely busy individual, that may work well. I’m just a little more creative.

Then I discovered that the BUJO had mutated, but not in a bad way.

I started really checking out other BUJO’s. A lot of them, mostly created by women, were elaborately designed, decorated, colored. The calligraphy and seriously attractive artwork graced their pages.

Now I was on the opposite pole from Ryder. If I had the time, I might go all out on my BUJO, but my time is limited. I was intimidated by what I saw. I thought, “Surely, this is not what Ryder intended this to be.”

I was thinking, this wouldn’t be something I would enjoy because it looks like too much effort.


Goldilocks – The third one was just right!



After many websites, photos and videos I learned that the BUJO can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. The only rule is that it has to work for you.

Since I am already a notebook aficionado, and have my favorite brands, my only decision was between the Moleskine and the Leuchtturm 1917 as well as if I wanted to go dotted or boxed.

I decided for my first go around I’d use the Moleskine Medium dotted (but couldn’t find it in the store). I stuck with Moleskine for this because I’m using the Leuchttrum 1917 for my writing notebook. I chose boxed because that is all the store had in stock. I don’t regret that choice, I actually like the boxes. Next time I’ll try dotted and see which one I like better.

As far as which layout I would do (simple or elaborate) I didn’t know. I know I didn’t like Ryder’s Monthly, nor did I want to have too much going-on on each page.

I learned as I went along. I looked at different layouts and decided to experiment with the weekly spread some. That is the spread that will be the one thing I need to create often.

However, I don’t mind. Unlike a store brought planner, I can change the setup. If I don’t like using a box set up, I’ll try the horizontal set up, or maybe I’ll come across another set up that may work. I can switch it every 7 days until I’m satisfied, or just to keep it interesting.

Some people have really interesting things in their BUJO’s. Aside from the calendars and tasks, they have things such as: Gratitude Lists, Grocery Lists, Water Intake…etc.

You can track whatever you want, it is a blank slate. Some people even journal in their BUJO’s. I don’t do this, because I have a separate book for straight writing.

My BUJO contains 3 types of information.

  • The Calendar (several ways: Month, Week, Future, Yearly)
  • Tasks
  • Various Lists


Life Hack

Remember when I said I didn’t have much time for the fanciness…well I am a hacker.


Like me, many people like to see the monthly calendar. I’ve seen so many real cool drawings of any given month. Me…I don’t have the time. Mr. Google is my friend. Copy, Paste, Size, Print, Paste. This goes for the large version of the calendar and the little mini versions that are throughout the BUJO.


All BUJO’s have a key. These are symbols that are used to assign and organize tasks. I’ve seen some BUJO’s with 15 symbols for various things. Me…I don’t have time. I have 4 symbols in my key. Task, Completed Task, Migrated Task, Event. That’s it. I didn’t doodle it either. I did a quick little thing on PowerPoint, Print, Cut, Paste.


But there were some things that others did that I thought was helpful, so I adopted it.

One thing was using Washi tape (or another type of decorative tape) to mark pages. Some people use tabs, but I like the tape. The only page I mark is the one that starts the new month. This decreases the bulk.

Another thing I liked was having lists. These are in the back of the BUJO. I have lists of movies I want to see in the upcoming months. Books I’m required to read (for school),

Other things in my book that I find helpful is something called a “Brain Dump”, this is a place where you list your ideas, doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t have to correspond with anything else in the list, it is just a list of things you want to do, remember etc.

I do also have a Goals Page. I have my short term SMART goals listed.

EDIT: I did also add a money tracker for savigs.  Quite helpful.


Keep it Simple Stupid Kind Of. My BUJO doesn’t require much of my time to set up weekly, but it is attractive to me. It is useful, which is the main point.

My pages have some pizzazz. I use colored pens/markers and I have stickers.

I am happy with it, and I find it organizes my life and I am able to remember things much better.

My Bullet Journaling fears have been abated.

It will be interesting to see how useful it is when school starts.



About Liz Kelso

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5 Responses to Bullet Journal – The Beginning

  1. What a coincidence! I just bought me a grid notebook so I could try it. We shall see. Do you have any links you would recommend me checking out? This was one site I found (http://bulletjournal.com/), but I think I need more ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Girl you are so organized! I would prob start something like this and never keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

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