The bullet journal system takes organizing your life to a whole new level. From your life’s hectic schedule, to tracking habits and moods, and everything in between, the bullet journal has you covered. But to keep those thoughts organized, you need a functional bullet journal key.
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Recommended resources in this post:
- Mega assortment of the finest colored pen set or fancy glittery highlighters for the perfect color coding
- Cute assortment of circle labels or diverse washi tape designs to take color coding to the next level
- Comprehensive bullet journaling roadmap with printable bujo pages
Or check out the BEST recommended bullet journal buys by your favorite bullet journalists.
What is purpose of a bullet journal key?
A bullet journaling key can be used as a shorthand way for you to easily interpret items in your bullet journal at a glance. Bullet journal symbols, sometimes called bullet journal signifiers, are used for these main reasons:
1. To prioritize the urgency or significances of a task (eg. must do today)
2. To indicate the status of a task (eg. started, completed)
3. To classify/assign information (eg. things pertaining to a particular college class, family member, etc)
Here’s a spread that demonstrates all three ways of using a bullet journal key. This extensive pen set has all the colors you can imagine. This is the bullet journal notebook that conveniently has the color code key built in. (via @my_blue_sky_design)
Bullet journal symbols and signifiers
In the original bullet journal system created by founder Ryder Carroll, bullet journal symbols were used just for tasks. The basic signifiers were:
- . Task
- X Task completed
- > Task migrated
- - Task canceled
Bullet journal key idea: Weather tracker
Hopefully, most days are sunny. (via Pin source)
Bujo key for leisure and recreation
Or combine various trackers that are somewhat related onto a single spread and color code with glittery highlighters to differentiate. In this recreational bullet journal layouts, you can mark works you’d like to read as a book vs watch as a tv shows vs see as a movie. (via @bujoforstudents)
What’s the best way to create a bullet journaling key?
Step 1: Figure out what bullet journal symbols and signifiers to use.
The most important thing to remember is to create a key that works for YOU. As you can see from above, there are many ways to a bullet journal key. But just as other bullet journalists have expanded on the original set of symbols, it is just as acceptable to stick to a few key that you will use.
If you’re not sure what works for you, then start off with fewer and add as you see the need. Remember, the key is to keep a simple bullet journal key.
Step 2: Figure out the most optimal place to put it.
Next, you’ll want to place the bullet journal key or legend somewhere easily accessible. Especially in the beginning when you’re getting used to the symbols, you want to be able to refer to it quickly. Some put the key in the front, some turn theirs into a flip-out key.
Step 3: Update it as needed.
A bullet journal is a dynamic system that should change as you do to fit your lifestyle. If you need to add more symbols, no problem. Use one and find that you no longer need it? Take it out. That’s the beauty of bullet journaling. You do what you want.
Remember, don’t confine yourself if you feel you need more symbols. But don’t overwhelm yourself to the point that it takes you wayyyy more time to figure out what your signifier meant than with al than it does to just read what you wrote.
Because then, that would defeat the purpose of your key.
Like this one, which should not be attempted unless you are an experienced bullet journalist. (via @lifebywhitney)
I hope this post on the bullet journaling key has opened your mind to the possibilities. Unlock your creativity!