The Art of Bullet Journaling

Photo: Jezell Lee

Photo: Jezell Lee

January 2017. It started with an unlined, A5 journal and a 0.38mm black Muji pen.

I was a second semester senior in high school, caught in the throes of senioritis and weighed with the responsibilities of trying not to skip classes, planning graduation and drafting my valedictory.

At first, my journal wasn’t organized in any particular fashion. It was just a place for me to jot down all the things I had to do everyday. I took note of deadlines and reminders, and I counted down the days until graduation. But as the days became longer during the summer before coming to Berkeley, I gradually started to devote more time to my bullet journal (“bujo”), until I found an aesthetic style and system that worked for me.

Typically, I create a two page spread at the beginning of each month. The first page is always dedicated to the name of the month, usually decorated with olive branches or a basic wreath. The second consists of a box where I write down my goals for the month, as well as a mini calendar overview of important dates and upcoming deadlines.

My weekly spreads include a sleeptracker, so I can keep tabs on how many hours of sleep I get per night. This works really well in motivating me to sleep for a consistent amount of time. I also keep a weekly financial log of all the money I spend (mostly on food). My habit tracker revolves around self-care. As I complete these daily tasks, I fill in the boxes labelled “H2O intake,” “exercise,” “nighttime skin care,” and most importantly, “NO NAIL BITING!”

Daily to-do lists are written under headers with the names of the days of the week. I started writing the days and months in German once I got to college because I’m currently learning the language, and I need as much exposure to it as I can get! I draw eight small water droplets just above each day’s to-do list, and I fill one in every time I drink a glass of water. This is without a doubt, one of my greatest bullet journaling ideas, because it works so well in ensuring that I stay hydrated everyday! I’m motivated to drink more water so I can feel the satisfaction of shading in each of the eight water droplets.

With a schedule as hectic as mine, juggling clubs and classes, I find solace in the quiet moments I have to create my bullet journal. There is something so therapeutic and satisfying in checking off boxes as I meet each of my humble day-to-day goals. Though I mostly use my bujo to keep track of tasks I need to complete on a daily basis, it has also become my creative space. I’ve drawn a world map in it, detailing where I’ve traveled to and where I’d like to visit next. I’ve also kept a list of the things that make me happy, and occasionally, I’ll even paste in photos. My bullet journal is so much more than a collection of neatly written to-do lists. It is privy to my private musings, houses some of my most precious memories, and best of all, it brings structure to my days.

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