What Is A Bullet Journal? It's Exactly What You Need To Start 2018 On The Right Foot

By
Ad failed to load

Choosing the right planner at the start of the new year is a critical, albeit incredibly personal decision. As for me, I'm a notebook hoarder, so I might be a little biased, but journals are getting a lot of attention in the health and wellness space, specifically ones that allot you more room to explore your creativity. One of my favorite YouTubers recently uploaded a video all about bullet journaling, which definitely piqued my curiosity. What is a bullet journal and why have I never heard of this writing tool until now?

I remember in high school, we were given a day planner at the beginning of the year. It was, essentially, a paperback, spiral notebook with an eagle (our mascot) spreading its wings across the cover page, sketched over a backdrop of red, black, and gold. Back then, planners were your standard pad of paper on which you would jot down homework assignments, email addresses, and write song lyrics when you were spacing out in class. Fast-forward to now, and planners are so much more than organizational tools given out in office buildings.

Bullet journals aren't just for scheduling meetings and making plans. They're handwritten listicles, stress-induced doodles, and diary entries. These are the tools you can use to organize your life, as well as escape from it when the going gets rough and the only thing left for you to do is scribble out the feels. Consider a bullet journal as an open-ended outlet you can use whenever, wherever, and however you need to. Here's why you need one in 2018.

Ad failed to load

1There Are No Boundaries

bujobeauties on Instagram

If you haven't noticed, I'm kind of a planner snob. Over the years, I've narrowed down the features the right notebook must possess in order to satisfy me. Personally, blank pages irk me; I crave structure, but I also prefer layouts that allow me some freedom to play with word sizes and doodle.

The pages of bullet journals aren't entirely structured. They're formatted with bullet points across the page as a core format, but as for writing prompts or blank calendar spreads? Zero. This makes for a seriously versatile planner that's excellent for organization freaks such as myself who need just a hint of guidance, as well as creatives who thrive on an open canvas.

2It Gives You The Chance To Be Creative

bullet.journals on Instagram

Even if you doodle over them anyway, lines in a journal can feel so restrictive. Bullet journals give you the freedom to make each page 100 percent, unapologetically yours.

If you don't feel like writing one day, try sketching instead. If you prefer photography to calligraphy, arrange a few snapshots across the page. Blank spaces don't have to be daunting; they can be inviting, too. The point of bullet journaling is to create more with less, and to explore your creative side with whatever materials you prefer to use.

3You Can Make Them As Minimalist As You Like

bujobeauties on Instagram

I'll be the first one to admit that even though I splurge on expensive planners every year, I leave at least half of the pages blank. Sometimes, when planners are designed with prompts and questionnaires that take up the entire page, it can be frustrating because you either a) have no interest in filling them out or b) find these quirky details irrelevant to your life.

According to the official bullet journal website, these planners encourage creativity, but also support rapid logging if fancy page layouts and graphics aren't your thing. Rapid logging sounds technical, but the concept is actually really simple: jot down quick notes on whatever, whenever, and create your own symbols to categorize your thoughts.

Ad failed to load

4Bullet Symbols Make Organization So Much Easier

bujobeauties on Instagram

That whole it's-your-journal-you-can-do-what-you-want-to bit isn't just a marketing ploy. These notebooks leave what you write and how you organize your thoughts entirely up to you. However, there is an organizational code of conduct to upscale your documentation.

According to BuzzFeed, the breakdown is simple: To start, use a bullet symbol to mark the things you need to do. As tasks are completed, draw an "x" through the bullet. A "less than" symbol over the bullet means said to-do task is in the works, and a "greater than" symbol over the bullet means you didn't necessarily get to it that day, so you're holding off until further notice. Once you've got the basics down, feel free to experiment with your own symbols.

5Creating An Index Will Help You Remember Things

bujobeauties on Instagram

I wouldn't say I have a particularly bad memory, but it's not the greatest, which is one of the reasons why I keep a journal in the first place. Still, if you're keeping a journal on the reg, by the time the new year rolls around, you have 365 pages worth of names, dates, and thought processes documented.

Rather than skimming through chunks of pages so you can find that one book by that one author that you read sometime that one spring, creating an index at the beginning of your journal can be majorly helpful. Here's how it works: Write a key explaining the symbols you use throughout the journal, and as each different topic comes up, jot down the page number where you referenced each subject.

6To-Do Lists Aren't So Daunting Anymore

bujobeauties on Instagram

I'm a list-maker. I make lists in my planner, my journal, on pieces of loose-leaf, or even on my phone. Sometimes, I make multiple copies of the same list in multiple places. Clearly, I have a problem.

But some people find to-do lists overwhelming, especially if they start jotting down every little thing that needs to get done, like brushing their teeth or making the bed. The free-form nature of bullet journals takes the weight off of looming to-do lists because you have the wiggle room to make them aesthetically pleasing. Think of it this way: You probably wouldn't RSVP "yes" to a party that had a dull-looking invitation. The more enticing your to-do list looks, the more likely you are to check things off efficiently.

Ad failed to load

7You'll Always Have An Outlet When You're Stressed

bujobeauties on Instagram

I can feel the eye rolls seeping through the computer screen, but hear me out. While, yes, I am a writer, I am in no way, shape, or form, a fine artist. My drawings of human hands are something out of a Tim Burton cartoon, and as much as I love photography, I'm an amateur.

You don't have to be an artist to take advantage of art as therapy, and bullet journals are the perfect outlet to turn to when your mind is operating on overdrive. Best-selling author, illustrator, and co-founder of Sketchbook Skool Danny Gregory told MindBodyGreen that drawing relieves stress by inspiring you to tap into your "playful spirit," help you see that your imperfections are perfection, and by making your emotions tangible.

Happy journaling!

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

6 Commitment-Free Ways To Change Up Your Look After A Breakup, If You Feel Like It

I'm married and not breaking up (I just had to clarify before I get a call from my husband wondering what's going on). However, if for some reason we ever did separate (again, not happening!), I've imagined I'd have this Eat, Pray, Love moment where …
By Stephanie Montes

Here's Everything That's Leaving Netflix In June

Summer is here, and with it comes plenty of opportunity to binge watch more movies and TV shows that we never knew we needed in our lives. May has passed by in a blink of an eye, so I definitely need to catch up on what Netflix is getting rid of afte…
By Kristen Perrone

Cherry Print Is One Of Summer's Biggest Fashion Trends & It's So Much Sweeter Than Florals

If there's one thing that I've had my eye on this summer it's a cool, flirty cherry-print dress. Along with versatile black tops and blue denim, the color red has become a staple in my wardrobe this year and anytime I can infuse it into my daily look…
By Ariana Marsh

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano
)}