Getting into bullet journaling may sometimes seem to be a daunting task for beginners who’re looking from the outside in. And while the system does have a learning curve, it’s not as hard as one may make it be.
Given that, I’ve made a resource that can function as sort of a glossary of terms for bujo beginners.
If you aren’t familiar with the term bujo, I suggest you hold ctrl + f at the same time and type in bujo. Clicking next will forward you to the next instance of the word, do this until you find the entry with its meaning. You can do this for all the words you want to learn.
If you’re reading this through phone, just click on your options or the three dots somewhere around your browser, and tap on find word.
While the community does introduce words of their own, or sometimes their own name for certain collections, the words listed here will be the basic form of the word, along with its definition.
I’ll be starting with the most basic terms needed for the core components of the bullet journal grouped together, followed by everything else that you may want to find.
Here’s a great primer for beginners:
Basic Bullet Journal Collections
The bullet journal is the analog planner system created by Ryder Carroll to improve productivity and mindfulness.
The flexible system can be placed in any blank notebook, with very minimal supplies at hand. It has since evolved to suit the growing needs of the Bullet Journaling Community, resulting in a more maximalist approach by some.
Bujo is the shortcut for the term bullet journal.
It was coined by the bujo community and has since become a popular term amongst bullet journal enthusiasts.
Collections are basically sections inside the bullet journal.
All the components inside a bullet journal are considered to be a collection. This includes the basic components as listed here, all the trackers, logs, and notes, as well as the collection of drawing one might have in it.
A great way to think of it is a collection of anything. In a sense, the bullet journal as a whole is a collection.
Here’s a video where Ryder Carroll explains it:
A spread is basically used to define how the page is laid out. You can use the term layout as well.
Each page is a spread, with different ways on how to distribute each element needed to house the kind and amount of data you will be inputting on that collection.
Sometimes, when you use two pages in succession, the spread can extend to both pages, as the layout does as well.
The signifier key is the part of the bullet journal where you’ll place all the symbols to help you organize all the entries in a collection.
Each symbol will stand for something and better describe what to do with each individual piece of information.
The basic keys are:
• = Tasks
– = Notes
○ = Events
> = Migrate to next day or period of time
< = Migrate to future log
* = Priority
! = Inspiration
Since the bullet journal is unique to its user, there are no set symbols and definitions to accompany it. You are free to let your creativity flow and choose your own designs.
The index will act as your table of contents. Here, each collection will be logged, as well as what page the collection is located in.
This is usually placed at the start of each notebook, but some prefer to keep it at the back.
The user is free to design it as simple or elaborately as they want.
The future log is where you will be logging all your future tasks, events, and notes.
This usually comes after the index, and its setup may give you a better overview of the year or period of time that you intend to use the notebook for.
This could be as easy as laying down the months in a table or grid form, to be able to easily see all that you’ll have in store.
This is mostly where the basic methods begin to diverge, with the future log, in particular, having three basic methods you can do. If you want to learn them all, please check out this link.
The monthly log basically acts as a more specific future log. Some also refer to it as monthlies.
The spread is usually split into 2 pages, the first housing the calendar for the month, and the second housing everything you have to due during the month, or the entries having been migrated from the past month.
For the first pages, you will also be able to log in to any important details that happened during the day.
It should look like this:
The weekly log is basically everything that you plan for the week. Some also refer to it as weeklies.
Here you’ll be able to get a good look at your week and plan it out accordingly. Unlike the future and monthly log, more in-depth details go into the planning of this, being able to schedule out your actual day.
Some people have come to combine this with the daily log.
Some also refer to it as dailies. This is purely about a single day in particular.
Here you can log in everything that’s happened to you throughout the day, as well as plan out the next day.
With this much data on each day, it will make it easier for you to find details and patterns that can help you develop better habits.
Everything Else Bujo
There are so many things that you can include here. For this list, I’ll be including the words used regularly, terms specific to certain journals, and also the terms I’ve explored in my other posts.
I hope this can give you better hold on everything you need for bullet journaling.
Remember, to find a specific word, just use the find function of your browser.
The Alastair Method is a method of doing the future log. Unlike the future log, this style will not have all the entries per month in chronological order. Instead, you will have all them listed out with a table beside it so you can mark which month it actually falls on.
This makes it easier to list the entry, but somewhat harder to have an overview of the year instantly.
When choosing a notebook for your bullet journal, you’ll have the choice between differently lined paper, or no lines at all.
A notebook with blank paper is best for those who like doing art in their journal. This will let them have the freedom of the whole page without the lines ruining their art.
Bleeding is when the ink of your pen goes through the paper of the notebook.
Of course, having your pen do this will ruin your spread and might cause you to waste paper. To avoid this, make sure to check on how thick the paper of your notebook is. The standard paper that will help you avoid bleeding is 80 gsm, but the higher the gsm, the better.
A brain dump is a tool that will allow you to declutter and organize your brain.
It has many benefits, including reducing anxiety and better brainstorming sessions.
This exercise is as simple as taking a piece of paper and writing everything in your mind. For the specifics on how to integrate it into your bullet journal, please check this article.
Bullet Journal Community
The bullet journal community is wide and vast, encompassing people of different countries, backgrounds, and ideologies. Given all that, this is one of the most supportive and accepting communities on the internet.
I suggest going to Reddit, Instagram, or Facebook to find good communities.
Bullet can have two meanings. As a key for the signifier, this means that the entry is a task when written beside it. However, if you do not follow the standard system, the bullet can just act like a normal bullet point.
The calendex is a method of doing the future log that makes it easier for you to have an overview of your year. However, by doing this you will have to turn to the specific page where the data is contained.
This works as a table with you marking on the specific date the page where the data is supposed to be.
As simple as the bullet journal is, you can also incorporate a simple checklist to significantly enhance your task management capabilities.
This is usually used for various trackers and logs throughout your journal, but can also be used for any collection that needs it.
These are usually for the more artistically inclined. You can use cover pages to mark where a certain collection starts in your journal to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
You can also use printables and stickers should you not have the required skill, like me, to make an awesome cover page.
The dashboard is something you can add to your bullet journal, that is much like a cover page, to house certain trackers or logs that will serve as aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time.
You can also use it to store post its or sticky notes.
It looks something like this:
This is a way of notebook binding wherein the pages are held together by discs.
When choosing a notebook for your bullet journal, you are free to choose any style of binding you want.
It acts like a spiral binder you don’t have to open to insert new paper. The pages themselves are punched in a different way, allowing for secure placing but still easy to replace.
The dot grid is a kind guide used for certain papers.
This is perhaps the most commonly used kind of paper for bullet journaling because it gives you a sense of freedom with the page but still allows you to have guides to keep the page clean and neat. Both minimalist and maximalist spreads can use this kind of paper.
The dutch door is a portion of the page cut to make it seem like it has a door to a different section of the notebook.
You can manually cut the pages, or a stick a separate piece of paper to make a kind of flap. This is useful in that you’ll be able to check out certain information from different pages and run them over with another set of data very conveniently.
Feathering is when your pen’s ink spreads across the page slightly. It’ll have the appearance of your writing being blurred.
This can be remedied by having a higher gsm of paper, and overall paper quality.
Financial Tracking is very commonly used with bullet journaling.
With the bullet journal, you can try anything from your monthly expenses, savings, and daily spending. As long as you have money, you can track it with these trackers.
This makes it easy to keep track of your spending, as it is something you monitor each day.
Ghosting is when the ink of your pen is seen through the other side of the page.
This usually happens with more expensive pens when used with thin paper. Try having a paper with more than 80 gsm to remedy this.
One of the more popular trackers of the bullet journal is the goal tracker. It lets you easily keep track of your progress, making it easier to achieve goals.
It also makes it so you can set realistic and achievable goals in a set amount of time. It lets you practice consistency and build the habit.
One of the papers for the notebook you can choose from is graph paper.
Some prefer this paper because it gives them a grid to properly guide their tables and trackers.
Some maximalists may prefer this because it gives them a good perspective line when drawing.
A gratitude log is a great tool for fostering positivity. It works by taking the time to write all that you are grateful for, reminding you of things you may have missed that are positive influences in your life.
GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter. This is used to measure the thickness and weight of the paper. The higher the gsm, the better it is for the ink.
For maximalists, it would be better to have a very high gsm. Anything 80gsm or above would work great.
The habit tracker is used to keep track of all the habits you want to develop. This lets you keep track of your progress and helps you remain consistent.
The habit tracker is the more generalized term for tracker concerning habits like sleeping, flossing, etc.
Health trackers help you track anything concerned with your body’s wellbeing, making sure you take meds or watch your blood pressure.
This is a generalized term for trackers concerning health.
Lettering refers to the many styles of writing fonts and typefaces. It is usually handwritten and many bullet journalists use it to make their notebooks aesthetically pleasing.
The leuchtturm1917 is the official brand of the bullet journal, and they offer a wide variety of notebooks perfect for the system.
They have notebooks in various sizes and with different paper types. They also have different gsm’s for their paper.
Lined paper is one of the 4 types of paper that can be used for your bullet journal.
This is by far the simplest to use if you want a minimalist spread for your notebook.
If you also want to do a diary or journal inside your bullet journal, you will find it easier with this.
A log is a collection where you can keep track of certain types of information. You can store recipes, quotes, writing prompts, etc, here and it will let you store them for future use or tracking.
This is a log that you can use to list all your usual groceries every month. This will make it much more convenient and efficient to make sure you have everything you need regularly.
With this tracker, you can keep track and plan your meals for a period of time.
This is great to have when you need to keep track of your diet or avoid certain foods. This will let you add variety, control the calorie count, and much more.
This is for keeping track of precious memories.
Some people set this up by sticking pictures, keeping track of quotes, or by a diary entry.
Some have even made logs for the stupid things they hear, just to lighten their mood.
Migrating / Migration
Migration is the act of transferring all the tasks that weren’t finished the next day. If the task or event falls on another month, you can migrate the entry to the future log.
This is a great opportunity to examine each task and determine which ones are worth the time and energy.
A mind map is a tool that makes it easier to remember things and takes notes. It can help you significantly with brainstorming and planning, letting you come up with creative solutions.
It takes advantage of how the brain works, using imagery, colors, and keywords.
Moleskine is a brand of notebooks that have very high quality. It’s a bit expensive but it also comes with a variety of notebooks that are perfect for bullet journaling.
The mood tracker lets you keep track of your mood in a given period of time. It’s great for finding patterns by running your mood for a specific day to the corresponding daily log to find out what caused it.
It lets you plan out how to remedy this and stay in a positive mindset.
Nesting is when you add an additional set of the information under a certain entry, letting you form a more detailed picture of the subject.
It looks like this:
- Bullet Journal
- Lined paper for minimalists
- Blank or grid for maximalists
The notebook is, of course, one of the two most basic supplies for the bullet journal, the other being the pen.
While you can use any notebook available, not all of them are created equally. And will have different features like the
- Type of paper
- Thickness of paper
- Number of pages
There are various paper sizes available for each notebook. As with everything bujo, there are no right or wrong choices when it comes to this. What’s important is that it is working for you.
Also, make sure your notebook is reliable and fits the size of how you’ll be using it.
You would probably need a smaller one if you travel a lot, so it can fit inside your pocket.
A printable is something that you can get online to decorate your notebook
Once you buy it, you are able to print it and stick it into your notebook to use as a predesigned collection like a log or tracker.
Rapid-logging is the act of writing anything you want to keep a note of into your weekly or daily log. This can be anything from events, tasks, notes, or ideas.
This is a log where you can store recipes you want to try out in the future. You can use this in conjunction with logs and trackers to create a meal plan for your diet, family, or anything else.
It is a kind of binding for notebooks where you can refill it with paper that matches the size and holes of the notebook.
Some prefer to use this because you can easily refill the journal.
Ryder Carroll is the creator of the bullet journal. He started developing the bullet journal when he was in high school to cope with being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder(ADD).
He has his own youtube channel where he explains the basic system of bullet journals.
The schedule tracker is great for tracking school or work schedules. This would work great for moms, students, teachers, or anyone whose work involves great attention to time management.
School Year Tracker
This tracks the school year for students and teachers. This will let them have an overview of their exams, deadlines, and project, letting them plan out their year accordingly.
Stickers are usually used to label things or are a preset collection you can use easily.
They save time, and if you don’t have the artistic predisposition this will grant you access to an aesthetically pleasing notebook.
STM stands for scribbles that matter. It’s a brand of notebooks with a variety of products perfect for anyone looking to start a bujo.
This is the term for all the tools and instruments used for all that you do with the bullet journal. These include writing instruments, tapes, brushes, etc.
When you want your journal to follow a certain concept, you’ll want to pick a theme and design your spreads around it.
Usually, some collections take up more pages that are spread out through the notebook. Threading makes it easier to turn to the next instance of the collection by writing what page the next part will be at.
This is usually written beside the page number of the first instance.
Tracker is the general term for collections that track certain details.
This is used to track where you’ve been. It can be as simple as listing down where you’ve been or having an elaborate spread with art.
Traveler’s Notebook is a brand of notebook bound with string and with a leather cover. You stack different notebooks into one leather-bound case.
Washi tapes are paper tapes you can use to decorate or stick things to the notebook.
They are easy to take out, and often sport cute designs.
Weight Loss Tracker
This tracks your weight over a period of time. This is great for tracking your fitness goals.