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The Art of Bullet Journaling

By: Fatima Syed

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Coming home every day to a messy room with grocery lists, to-do lists, and numerous Chinese fortunes scattered all over made me re-think the method by which I keep track of documents that are important to me. In the past, my inability to find certain papers has really hurt my grade in classes, and I wondered if there was a better way to help me compile all my personal items together. After doing some research online, I found the perfect way I could stay organized while having some fun. Two words: bullet journaling.

The ‘bullet’ in bullet journalism comes from bulleted lists, which typically include short, attention grabbing phrases to help condense jumbled ideas into a few simple words. It is a creative way to keep track of notes, important dates, finances, documents, and goals. Bullet journalism helps make life easier for many people, as it can serve as a planner, to-do list, and diary all-in-one. The functions that a bullet journal can serve for people are flexible, it all depends on what you need to keep track of.

Typically, bullet journal sheets have a dotted grid pattern so that you can make clean lines when you are creating a spread. Notebooks specially made for bullet journaling can be found online by many craft retailers. However, normal grid paper that students use for geometry can work just as well! The UAlbany bookstore sells these for less than $3.00.

Think about what tasks you have difficulty keeping track of. After mentally compiling all the tasks you feel are important, number all your pages and create an index in the beginning of your journal that will help you easily locate your various spreads. Then, create a symbol spread which will help you easily group and identify similar tasks.

For example, in my bullet journal, I designed an X mark symbol that I use to quickly identify whether I am finished with an assignment or not. Instead of jumbling all tasks that I need to complete and hope I can find my homework tasks within it, I created a homework spread specifically for February. When I flip through my homework spread for February, I no longer waste any extra time figuring out what I have completed and what I still need to complete.

As you continue to bullet journal, you may realize that there are multiple reminders that fall into the same category. One example of this are birthdays for the loved ones in your life. When I think of birthdays, I think of birthday cakes! In my birthday/special life event spread, I designed a birthday cake symbol that I use to quickly locate the birthdays of my friends and family when I am flipping through my bullet journal.

Your bullet journal can be minimalist and to the point with simple titled spreads consisting of one color throughout the page and short bulleted lists underneath them. Or, you may want to use this as a creative outlet, too, and incorporate color, stickers, and photos. For plain black ink, I recommend good quality fountain pens that will not bleed through the page. For incorporating color, I recommend mid-liners and fine-liners for striking through words, and then highlighters for coloring in and underlining words.

If you choose to buy the supplies through the UAlbany Bookstore, the cost will be approximately $12 altogether.

There is no wrong way to design your bullet journal- just do it in the way that helps you become efficient, organized, and complete your goals. Happy Bullet Journaling!

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