How to Bullet Journal- A guide for beginners Part 1!

I came across Bullet Journals about halfway through this year. It was at a time when I was using a Diary in the form of a ring binder. I liked the fact that I could switch weeks,days and bits of note paper around the Ring Planner.
However I am definitely a sprawler when it comes to planning things!
I much prefer brainstorming and just random sessions of thinking and shaping plans. I think that's why I tend to enjoy team work too - bouncing ideas off other clever people.
Using a Ring Bound Planner , I found it very hard to have these "thinking through writing" sessions - with the actual physical metal rings in the way! It kinda drove me a little crazy!
I feel much more focused and capable if I can really work through some ideas visually - then prioritise on paper - and get a clear path forward. So I started to think I had to actually do some research on how I plan my time and thoughts.
That was something I hadn't done before - though being a single working/business running mum I've had to track my days and be organised for a while, I hadn't researched how to plan as such.
 So I just  jumped in!
I started looking into Planners. types of Planners, ways people use their Planners and how they integrate it into their everyday lives.
In all this searching I came across a strange looking grid called a Dot Grid.
Looking at it blank - I had nooooo idea what you were meant to use it for!
I couldn't see it's use at all, and figured it was some decorative tool that I would have no interest in - that it would essentially end up being a waste of time & not be something that was functional or useful.
So again - I hit the google machine and looked into Dot Grids! In Australia the term "Dot Grid" or really even "Planning" is not a huge term as such. To plan is to organise our time , and we often refer to our "planner" as a diary.The idea that it was a huge community that has so many areas to it was all new to me!
 "Planning" certainly didn't automatically conjure up stickers, clips, pretty things all wrapped up in a book where we plan our day!
 Image by 21 Stars
So then, I started to research this mystical Dot Grid.
I discovered many ways in which people use Dot Grids. I found that in itself really rewarding, as I have a very old school love for paper, books and pens!
Seeing so many people reconnect with
the artist and creative inside them is beautiful!
Some use Dot Grid to plot out their time in the Day/week/month/Year - others purely use it to purge their thoughts.
Anyway - I get ahead of myself!
The Main use of a Dot Grid:
The most common place you find Dot Grid is in a Bullet Journal! In this Introduction I'll look at this first basic system that most of us end up stumbling upon - and I'll end by showing you some beautiful creative interpretations & expressive ways of using this system!
The Original Bullet Journal System:
This is a bound book of Dot Grid pages - that are ready to be written on, are often numbered and use high quality paper. Many Bullet Journal/Dot Grid lovers prefer thin paper that's suitable to fountain pen ink - but any paper can potentially be used.
The Original Bullet Journal is a systematic way of forming patterns and assigning meaning to any "thinking through writing" sessions you may have. These are known as Brain Dumps or Daily Logs (and I'm sure several other terms!) So you have dot grid paper to get all your ideas down onto in any beautiful creative or minimalist and structured way you wish. You can then use the Key to assign priorities & sort through all your plans and push them in the direction of being completed.There are some guidelines for use. An Index at the front - Page Numbers - and a Key - being some fundamental features.
The Index
Is a blank page (as they all are), which means you can assign your page "title" at anytime and simply write in the page number.
This then allows you a quick reference point at the front of your Journal, for all your plans, ideas and actual planner pages (organised in Months/Weeks etc)
The page shown in the image is from the front of the most popular bullet journal - a Leuchtturm. 
(Image of Index & Key from Boho Berry)
The basic use of a Bullet Journal system then becomes this - you dump all your plans, events, appointments, long term goals, short term goals, wishes etc. in a little purge of writing/drawing/graph making or any form you wish - into your Journal. Then start the task of sorting these ideas - 
In comes the Key...
The Key:
 is designed to allow you to draw a symbol next to your thoughts, which means you can categorise them and place them wherever you wish in your Journal. Your thoughts then become a Bullet Point with a symbol next to it - this lets you see at a glance what is an event, task, what is an action and what is a plan.
You can then move these ideas around your Journal onto any page - be it a Day/Week/Monthly/Year Planner Page or 2, or maybe a page for Future Plans, Creative Ideas, Wishes - whatever type of page you choose to build into your Journal!
The symbols vary - as does the wording for each symbol. Many people create their own symbols according to how they wish to sort their thoughts. 
Above is the original Bullet Journal Key version -
A Migrated task refers to something that still needs attention and so you may revisit it over the next day or two.
A Forwarded task is one which you plan to revisit at a later time - and so you add it into some future plans - say in a couple of months. (These 2 concepts in particular didn't work with me as I often plan too much into one day!)
BUT I loved identifying ideas as needing more research and seeing in my day which were action tasks, which needed research or which were simply a note. Then I could do similar things at the same time in the day.
What do you do with these bullets?
Your "bulleted" thoughts really then become the basis for how you structure your Planning Pages in your Bullet journal. Or in fact if it even becomes a diary type planner for you at all!
Does it suit you better to have a Day on a page? A 6 Month Overview over 2 pages? Pages of Brainstorming and Future tasks you need to complete to get these plans happening?
The combinations are endless!
How you bullet your events, tasks & plans then determines what you need in your Bullet Journal. So you can totally customise it to your brain, personality, time, values and expressions.
Bullets mean that at a glance you can sort through tasks & events -moving them around so they aren't lost. This is a real key to how Bullet Journals can work so well - as this is the part of time organisation that falls down - checking and reassigning tasks!
It's so easy to feel overwhelmed and just think you never get anything done.
That small 30 minute check-in every evening  - is a key feature to making any planning system operate FOR you.
What I found:
For me what stood out most was the simple tools used to brainstorm and then organise and sort. This gave value to my brainstorming nature! I could then see how to track these ideas, and see them planned into my days!
This is the part of the bullet Journal that I took with me. Assigning some priority (I usually just number) and tracking back in my Planner to see the tasks that I haven't completed - and make sure my little ideas don't fall through the cracks ;)
This was my main motivation for including Dot Grid Pages in Wilderness Custom Notebooks - where you choose your inside pages!
I always have some Dot Grid in mine - although I use it in a different way :)
It's a perfect Notebook - Months, a This Month Plan Page (my month at a glance) & some Dot Grid for me!
As a little aside: 
{I don't use a dot Grid book - or Bullet Journal System -  as a daily or weekly Planner - but I do use it!}
As another little aside:
{you can see how easily this has lead people into the beautiful world of improving their script handwriting, becoming obsessed with pens & paper, wanting to bring creativity into their books of boring everyday events & appointments!}
Next time I'll show you how people create Planning Pages on their lovely Dot Grid sheets!
Speak Soon - 
Tanya xx
PS - Boho Berry is a fantastic chick and great beginners resource! She has many followers on Instagram & Pinterest and is super easy to find :)
PPS - If you're interested in the original simplified system of the Bullet Journal, you can pop onto
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