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How to turn a notebook into a bullet journal

25th March 2022

Before digital productivity tools became the norm, bullet journals were the go-to as a versatile way to figure out tasks on your to-do list, or to find some time to relax. What is a bullet journal? Think of it as an advanced diary for both writing and drawing. Instead of blank, ruled or checked pages, a bullet journal contains several sections that allow you to log daily to-do lists, maintain a weekly or monthly calendar, take notes, track mental and physiological health and follow short and long term goals. 

How you can set up a bullet journal

Pick the perfect notebook

You absolutely don’t need a fancy notebook to start a bullet journal. Select a good sustainable notebook, which has enough space for you to design your own customized bullet journal. A decorative notebook that contains existing sections isn’t necessary for bullet journalling since you will be creating the different sections yourself.

Set up an index
Writing numbers on each page of the journal will help you organize the various sections of your bullet journal. The first blank spread - the first two blank pages that fall side by side will be your index page. All you have to do is write “index” on top of each page. You can use a recycled pen or pencil to create each section of your bullet journal - markings made with a pen are generally easier to read.

Create your future log 

The next blank spread of your journal will serve as a future log. These two pages are meant to help you get a bird’s eye view of tasks that you need to address within the next six months. It will include a month-by-month breakdown of tasks, events and goals. To create the future log, just count the number of lines on your page and divide that number by three. Then, use a ruler to draw three straight lines across the spread to divide into three equal sections on each page. Use each section to write the names of the next six months. The first month would be month during which you have created the bullet journal.  Remember to write page numbers on the corners of each page. Ideally, the page numbers on your future log should be named sequentially like, “Future Log… 1, 2” and so on. 

Create a monthly log
Use the next bank spread of your journal to create a monthly log that gives you an overview of any given month. Start by putting the name of the current month at the top of both pages. On the left side, put down every date of the month. Once completed, write down the abbreviation of the day of the week next to the number. For example, “April 1st, Fri”. On the right-hand side, jot down your task list for the month. Use bullet points to list down all the goals you intend to complete, errands you need to run and any other habits that you need to track or deadlines you need to complete. For example, “Pay internet bill” etc. 

Update your index 

Once you have set up your future and monthly logs, go back to your index and add your monthly log to there. For example, "March Monthly Log... 3-4.". 

Add a daily log
On the next blank spread, write today’s date on the top of the page. Use small bullet points to take a note of everything that you need to do, the tasks you’ve completed and practically anything else of interest that has occurred on the day. Use as many lines as required to log daily activities. At the end of the day, use a new line to make the entry for the next day. 

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