Busy Mom's Guide to Bullet Journaling – Intro to Bullet Journal Basics

How to Organize Your Busy Mom Life – An Intro to Bullet Journaling

If you are anything like me, you’ve probably got tons of notepads and journals and planners gathering dust around your house that just didn’t quite fit into your life.

I have started lots of diaries, journal prompt lists, and even a digital journal, and just like with any calendar or planner, I forget to go back to them after the first day or two so I end up never finishing.

It’s really the inconsistency that bothers me – once I miss a few days I am so over it.

It makes me feel like it’s physical evidence that I just can’t hack it. 

I used to think that if I ever really had all of my thoughts and lists in one place I could get my life together…but that notebook would be so thick and heavy I still couldn’t use it!

I will be the first to admit it – I am a planner junkie, and if it claims to finally get my life organized, then out comes my wallet! I am a big fan of Erin Condren’s line of planners and her accessory line is awesome… but I also needed something with a little more flexibility to keep track of all of my ideas. (Side Note: Her teacher lesson planners are the coolest and I have been trying to come up with a reason to need one. Maybe I will add it to my teacher gift ideas list!)



Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

As a busy mom, it’s not uncommon to lose track of your responsibilities since things can get so hectic! Whether you are a new mom that is struggling to balance home responsibilities and motherhood, an overwhelmed mom tired of managing both your job and your household, or a busy mom who gets so wrapped up in the task at hand that you tend to forget everything else, you need an intro to bullet journal basics!


This is a unique form of journaling, unlike any other type you have probably tried out.

It takes a little more time in the beginning, as you learn the basics and get your bullet journal set up, but keeping up with it is so quick and easy. I thought I would never find a system that could help me juggle everything as a busy mom, but bullet journaling has totally changed my life!

And I really think you will find that it is perfect for bringing a little more order and organization to your busy and hectic life.

Before getting into the cool details of bullet journals and how to create them, I want to introduce some basic bullet journal concepts and terminology.


Intro to Bullet Journal Basics

I know I kept hearing people talk about their oh so fabulous bullet journal and saw tons of posts about them online, but I needed a really straightforward guide to help me get started with the basics.

It ‘s important to know the standard terms for the components because if you ever want to look up how others create their bullet journals when you are trying to find inspiration, it really comes in handy. Also, it can be a little confusing at first if you haven’t had an intro to bullet journal phrases and techniques.

What is a bullet journal?

  • A bullet journal, or “bujo” for short, is a type of journal that includes multiple sections in order to keep track of the multiple facets of your life.
  • Instead of having one journal for your finances and career notes, and another journal for household to-do lists and journal entries, everything is in a single journal. (What?!?!?! I was totally sold on the idea when I found this out!) Once one journal is filled up, you then switch to a new one and start again.
  • A bullet journal starts out completely blank, and it is up to you to customize it to fit your life.

What Is Rapid Logging?

  • You are not typically writing full-length journal entries when you use a bullet journal.
  • Instead, you summarize your points with short words and phrases, as well as using symbols (called signifiers) that you get to select.
  • The creator of the bullet journal concept, Ryder Carroll, calls this “Rapid Logging.”

What Are The Components of Rapid Logging?

  • Topics
  • Page Numbers
  • Short Sentences
  • Bullets

According to Ryder Carroll’s Getting Started guide, the four components of Rapid Logging are topics, page numbers, short sentences, and bullets.

This way you understand your notes and can find them on the different pages, but it doesn’t take up a lot of space or too much of your time. (Bingo!)


What Are Signifiers?

  • Symbols within your journal as part of explaining things, creating schedules and to-do lists, and for various other sources.
  • A signifier might be using a smiley face when you have a good day or putting a symbol of the moon when you are talking about an event taking place in the evening.
  • You will identify your signifiers somewhere in your journal using a guide called a key.


What Is An Index?

  • Your index contains a list of your topics and the page number or numbers.
  • The index is something most traditional journals or diaries don’t tend to have and is unique to the bullet journal setup.
  • When you start putting the bullet journal together, you decide on what sections to create, then you make an index for easy reference to help you easily locate the page you want.

But remember, there is no right way or wrong way to do this; that is the great thing about journaling in general, including with bullet journaling.

Everything is up to you!


Busy Mom's Guide to Bullet Journaling – How Is A Bullet Journal Different?

How Bullet Journaling Is Different From Other Journals

You might already be able to tell how using a bullet journal is different than other forms of journaling, and know why it is so helpful for busy moms, but let’s sum it up just in case you aren’t already familiar!



There are several key differences between a bullet journal and a traditional journal or planner, outlined below:

1. Just one journal is used for everything!

First of all, you don’t have just a gratitude journal or just a diet and fitness journal with bullet journaling.

You get to have everything in a single journal.

How cool is that?!?!

This is why it is good to choose a thicker journal, but one that is easy to write in.

  • The hardbound books are great but can be hard to deal with, and you want to avoid any that use glued in pages as the binding may crack over time and become loose or lost.
  • You can also use a softer journal that is easy to turn pages, fold, and manipulate in order to draw on the pages and use quickly without too much fuss. Many of these are refillable as well.

I ended up selecting this one because of the elastic closure and pocket in the back:

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2. Another difference with a bullet journal is that it has sections for each form of journaling, and also includes an index for easy reference.

The sections are how you sort out your gratitude journal, bucket lists, daily planner, and more. There are some really creative ideas for different sections and topics, but it is best to just start with the basics.


3. Short sentences and bullets are used in place of long sentences.

You will still do some writing using short sentences, and the basic bullets determine which type of entry you are making, either a task, an event, or a note.

  • Tasks are any actionable item, and you go one step further with them to mark them as completed, migrated to a later date, or scheduled.
  • Events are items with a date attached, so either you schedule them or you write about them as a logged entry after they occur.
  • Notes are facts, ideas, thoughts, and observations. Anything that you want to remember, but that isn’t currently actionable.

Matt Ragland

4. Signifiers, or symbols used to represent moods and situations, are another key difference in bullet journaling.

Signifiers are good for quickly understanding what was going on during an entry or when making marks about how a day went in a monthly calendar view on one of the pages. These are yet another way you can customize your bullet journal to fit your life and personality.

Many people also choose to use different colors as signifiers, so their bullet journals really stand out from the crowd!

Personally, I am in love with the Papermate Flair pens for my bullet journal. But since they are a felt-tip style and work best for thicker pages,  I use the InkJoy style when my pages might bleed through.

4. A bullet journal is truly flexible.

Organizing your life as a busy mom is much easier to do with a bullet journal than any other. You can keep track of finances, schedules, growth charts, to-do lists and more!

Other long-form journals can still be good for relieving anxiety, getting out your emotions each day, and helping to find triggers for emotional eating. You should still have these as a part of your routine if they are issues you are facing.

However, with a bullet journal, it is good for organizing all the different areas of your life that you feel need a little more order. If you feel that you want to include additional journal types like those mentioned above, make sure to check out all of the great ideas for habit tracking, self-care, and mental health that others have already designed!

So what do you think?

Is a bullet journal a good option for you?