I list lists.

I make lists for everything you could imagine; to-do lists, to-buy lists, to-eat lists, even to-list lists. (Is the word list sounding a bit funny to anyone else?) So when I stumbled across a Buzzfeed article introducing me to the art of bullet journaling, I thought it sounded pretty confusing, but a challenge that seemed right up my street nevertheless.

Essentially, a bullet journal is a combination of a to do list, a calendar, a planner and a diary, with a few other fun things thrown in here and there. You can have pretty free reign with how you use your journal, but the fundamental idea is that you keep whatever you are doing brief and concise – ‘rapid logging’ as it’s officially called. By reading through a few more Buzzfeed articles, plus looking at the official website as well, I set to work creating what I hoped would be my little book of organisational heaven.

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My baby - Mollie the Molskine

Once I had the basics understood, I had an official excuse to go on any planner’s favourite adventure; stationary shopping. Off I trotted to the shops and quickly filled my basket with a dotted Moleskine purple notebook as is recommended along with the Leuchtturn dot gird journal by the official bullet journal website. Next to that fell fresh biros, pencil, rubbers, colouring pencils and fineliners, all waiting to be pressed to paper for the first time and fulfil its tiny little destiny. It is a truth universally acknowledged that one cannot start a bullet journal without all brand new material.

And there I began.

The first page – or module – of a bullet journal is an index. This immediately got my organized lightbulbs flashing as this contents is updated as you add in more pages so you can easily find what you’re looking for in a notebook filled with a mountain of this and that.

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Next comes the future log, an overview of the year ahead to give you a quick snapshot of what you’ve got to come and a chance to jot down things you don’t need to remember again for a little while.

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After this are a few pages dedicated to tracking and logging things you want to read, or watch, or listen to, or eat, or whatever you fancy. As I’ve said, although there is a structure within bullet journals the fun comes in personalising it as you like. I set aside four pages for this and track the books, movies, TV shows I follow, as well as a slightly off topic list for baby names (don’t judge, I know you’re now contemplating putting one in too).

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Once you’ve put in a few things you’d like to track – you can always put some similar pages later on in the journal if you think of something new thanks to the ever-updating index page – you start to get into my favourite part, details!

We’ve already done a future log, so zooming in a bit, it’s only natural to put in a monthly log. I start each month with a calendar to help me get an idea of what’s coming up over the next few weeks as well as my most used page, a habit tracker. On this page I keep note of the different things I want to do/avoid and having it visually in front of me makes it a doddle to keep track of – the more colour the better!

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Next, each week gets a double page spread with a little section dedicated to each day. This is where the fundamentals of the ‘bullet’ part of journaling comes in. Each day, you add in your things to do, events and notes. You then either cross them off or change them into a cute little arrow depending on when you’re going to get them done. Sounds a bit wordy and complicated I know. Let the picture explain. A piece of advice here, keep a key especially when you’re starting out or you’ll end up like I did, furiously scratching my head with my brand new fineliner without the foggiest idea of what symbol I needed.

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These pages are really for you to design in whatever way suits you best and are not just limited to your daily to-dos. For example, some people have a mini habit tracker on each page instead of a month-long one at the start, some include the weather forecast, meal plans, water drunk, hours slept, the list (yay) goes on and on!

As you get further into the journal, feel free to add in whatever else crosses your mind; gratitude pages and goal pages are particularly popular ones. I made one specially for things to do before moving to Spain as well as tracking how often I exercise.

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I’m now almost 4 months into bullet journaling and I love it. It keeps me on track and organised in a way that’s prefect for someone that has ‘in one ear and out the other’ framed above her bed. I’ve adapted it as I go, depending on how I feel. I started off as is suggested but the beauty of this way of notetaking is that you can mould it as you learn more as you go. Now, for example, with moving to Spain and all, my weeks resemble more of a diary as I write what I’ve done that day in the weekly log and keep a to do list for the whole week; do what suits you best.

The best way to get inspired is making the most of what Instagram has to offer. Hashtags like #bulletjournal and #bulletjournaljunkies are a great place to start, and there are a number of accounts dedicated solely to the art of the journal. Sit down with a cup of tea and lose yourself in the cyber inspiration.

So go on, what’s stopping you? The world is your oyster and a freshly packaged, pristine Molskine is calling your name. Get that book. Buy your pens. Take over the world. Well, maybe just the bullet journaling world for the moment, but who knows what might happen when you’ve got your life together thanks to your new best friend.

Published by Kate Beckitt