Welcome to the Bullet Journaling Basics series! I started using a bullet journal about a year ago, and have found it to be the absolute best (and probably only) way to keep me sane. There is no right or wrong way to use a bullet journal, so take everything here with a grain of salt, but since the system I've been using has been such a massive help to me, I thought it might prove helpful to you, too!
So sit back, maybe get a journal or notebook and a pen ready, and let me walk you through the basics of this magical, magical bullet journaling system.
THE FUTURE LOG
One of my favorite features of a bullet journal is the Future Log. I'm all about at-a-glance schedulers, and the Future Log is basically the ultimate at-a-glance calendar. The Future Log is by far one of the most important pages in your bullet journal, and if you do it well, it will be one of your most reliable pages, too.
Your Future Log can go as far off into the future as you'd like it to, but as for me, I like to keep things fairly close to the present by planning no more than three or four months out. Once you've set up your layout, filling in the Future Log is so easy.
I share a digital calendar with my husband so we can see the same birthdays, date nights, meetings, appointments, evening events, etc., and can plan ahead together (well... we try). So while I'm filling out my Future Log, I always refer to our shared calendar to get main events down first. Then I check the kids' school calendars and my personal iCal to make sure everything has been accounted for.
From there, it's just a matter of knowing (and setting) my own schedule! Of course I can always add dates and appointments later, as long as I've remembered to leave enough room.
Note: My Future Log is usually done in pencil, because in my experience, plans change.
The real trick of the Future Log is to be as short as possible with your descriptions. Save the details for a more detailed scheduler, which you'll be able to make on a separate page (more on that later.) Just keep your Future Log straight, simple, and to the point (I don't even include times for appointments).
Then of course there's the matter of labeling Events vs Tasks. I mostly stick with the classic Bullet Journal bullet point system, so my events are labeled with a "o" and my tasks are labeled with a "•". Having a bullet point system that works for you is very important, especially for viewing at-a-glance calendars.
Lastly, my bullet journaling is all done in a traveler's notebook, yes, but NEWS FLASH: YOU CAN BULLET JOURNAL IN ANY NOTEBOOK OR PLANNER. (Even in a dated planner!)
If you need a place to start, I've designed a couple of printable Future Log templates for you to use! You can print these full-size, or change your printer's scale settings to make mini-versions to use in your current planner or journal. Easy, peasy. I've scaled one down to 70% here to fit into an A5 planner! ⤵︎