What is a Bullet Journal?





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What is a Bullet Journal?

It’s a simple question, right? How many times have you been asked “what is that notebook thingy that you’re always carrying around?”

For me the answer is a LOT and to be honest I struggle to explain its purpose succinctly.

In its most basic form the Bullet Journal is an organisational tool, part diary, part planner, part to do list. The Bullet Journal® or Bujo® for short was created by Ryder Carroll who coined the tag line “the analogue tool for the digital age”.

As a starting point for every wannabe Bullet Journaller I would recommend heading to the official Bullet Journal site and learning the basics.

These consist of:

  • The index – a quick reference that enables you to find your way around your journal easily
  • The future log – a place to log tasks/events that are planned in the future.
  • The monthly log – a place to log the major events for the month ahead
  • The Daily log – the location for you to “rapid log” the elements of your day, things that have happened, things for you to do, events scheduled and timings.

The key to the Bullet Journal system is learning how to rapid log, utilising symbols to signify the different elements of your list.

This was my first key in my very first Bullet Journal:


For the purists the above is a what having a Bullet Journal entails.

However for many, myself included, the Bullet Journal can then be embellished using a plethora of tools; fineliners, calligraphy, brush pens, coloured pencils, watercolour painting, stickers and dare I say it… Washi tape!

This is where the debate begins!

Being a member of many Bullet Journalling forums has enabled me a window into many viewpoints and uses of the system. There are those who are adamant that to be a true Bullet Journal you do not need bells and whistles, and this is a viewpoint I completely respect.

However for me the Bullet Journal is so much more than an organisational tool. It is also a creative outlet, a mindfulness tool, a place for me to aid self-development and document major life events.

Whether or not my journal is a true “Bullet Journal” is open to debate, there are many other terms that have been created to help bridge this gap, for example:

Omni Journal

The Omni Journal Facebook Group Omni Journal Junkies states “an Omni Journal is any journal that combines multiple elements – for example: planner plus sketching, diary plus photos, scrapbook plus travel journal… or any combination there of! Basically, once you start embellishing that bullet journal, it’s an Omni Journal”

Smash book

A bit like Scrapbooking, Smash booking is about documenting anything that matters to you without worrying about getting it neatly organized. You can smash in memorabilia, postcards, greeting cards, magazine cutouts, favorite quotes, photos, journaling, and other tidbits of stuff you can find to a Smash book. It’s a scrap book on the go.

Ultimately my belief is that it doesn’t really matter what we call it, it doesnt matter if you are a single pen and notebook kind of journaller, or if you have so many pens you could open a stationery shop. What matters is that it works for you.

After much experimentation, my regular journaling kit includes:

Every journal is unique to its creator, a unique fingerprint of our life as we see it at this time. This is the beauty of the system and the process.

To see my basic journal set up head over to a recent blog post.

Happy journalling

Jo xxx



I live in Essex in the UK with my gaggle of furry friends including Daisy the dog. I have had lifetime passion/obsession for beautiful stationery and to do lists which has lead me to the wonderful world of Bullet journals. When I first starting bullet journaling it struck me the lack of UK based resources for journal accessories which lead me to create my own. I know have my very own webshop selling my hand made journal stencils and ship all over the world and am just as enthusiastic as I ever was about stationery and organisation!!

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