One of the best things about your BuJo is the blank page. Free of restrictive templates and structure, you can track what you like, how you like, and when you like. It’s the perfect tool to achieve work-life harmony and make time for it all. There’s just one problem! When your life is busy, there’s always the risk your bullet journal will be tracking so much, you get confused just looking at it!
Thank goodness for bullet journal keys.
This simple technique will help you organize the madness that is your life and ensure your BuJo switches on the calm whenever you look at it.
Here’s how to create the perfect bullet journal key for you.
What is a bullet journal key?
Your bullet journal key is simply an index.
Using colors, symbols, and icons (or a variety of all three), your key becomes a quick and simple tool to categorize different aspects of your BuJo – without write everything out verbatim.
Imagine the difference:
1. A cluttered, wordy journal that gives you a headache just looking at it!
2. Organized pages categorized with symbols that mean something to you.
There’s no competition!
What’s more, a key is a simple way to pretty up your journal too making daily planning feel like more of a pleasure than a chore. (Perfect for us artistic and creative types!)
What to include in your bullet journal key
No one else’s life is exactly like yours so while it’s a good idea to get inspiration from other bullet journalers, your key should be personalized to you.
There are a myriad of things you may want to track and index. The secret is to find the right balance between organization and overwhelm. In other words, use as many symbols as you need to make navigating your journal easier, but not so many you get confused.
So grab a pen and make a list of all the things that happen in your life. And to help, here’s a list of things you may want to categorize to boost your productivity and achieve work-life harmony.
Use a key to keep on top of tasks,
to-do, and priorities
What to do need to keep tabs on
in your everyday life?
Where are you at with the things
you want to work on?
● Repeatable tasks
|● Staying on top of kid stuff|
● Workouts, classes, and exercise
● Food prep & cooking
● Homework time
● Morning routine
● Evening routine
● Me time
● Repeatable tasks
● Task complete
How to create a bullet journal key
So we’ve explored what you may want to index in your bullet journal.
But how do you turn all the things you want to plan, track, and monitor into a key that works for you?
There are a number of ways to create a bullet journal key. You can:
- Dedicate the first page of your journal to your index.
- Add your key to a bookmark so you can carry your key with you.
- Create a foldable tab and stick it into your BuJo
When deciding upon your icons, again you have a lot of choice. You can:
1. Use color coded circles. Super simple! All you need to do is draw a small circle and then color it in (check out a selection of pen recommendations here.) Use a different colour for each aspect you want to track and you’re done.
2. Work with highlighters such as this Zebra Double Ended Highlighter set. With 15 different colors, you have plenty of options for marking up different aspects of your journal’s key.
3. Use stickers – such as this essentials set –
Simply dedicate a different sticker for a different aspect that’s important to your planning and get categorizing with ease. You won’t need to draw a thing and thanks to the stickers you can feel confident knowing every icon will be uniform.
4. Hand draw symbols and icons. If you’re artistic and you enjoy crafting your own images inside your BuJo, extend this act of creativity to your BuJo key. Create your own bespoke set of categorization icons and produce a one-of-a-kind index. Fine point pens are best suited for this task. We like these Sakura Pigma pens for the job. Every pen in this 6-pack has a different sized nib giving you more control over your writing. Starting from 0.20mm through to 0.50mm, you’ll find it easy to produce clear, crisp icons.
5. Washi tape coding. If you want your key to look pretty without the need for elaborate, hand drawn icons, washi tape is a good compromise. This pack of 52 rolls of contains skinny tape with a range of repeating patterns. Perfect for drawing up your own colourful bullet journal key.
More than a master index
While your bullet journal key is perfect for managing projects, to-dos, appointments, and your schedule on a daily basis, there’s another way to incorporate keys into your BuJo.
One of the beauties of bullet journaling is you can turn your blank pages into whatever kind of tracker you want. For example, you can track your:
- Water intake
- Your mood
- Your cycle
- Journaling practice
- Daily writing
The options are endless.
Anything that you want to keep tabs on or turn into a habit, you can create a tracker to help you do this. Add a key and you have a simple, but effective way to see your progress at a glance.
For more tracking inspiration, check out this bullet journal habit tracking blog.
Staying organized is key for getting success from your bullet journaling practice.
Add a key to your journal and you can create a daily planner that not only helps you get productive, but looks pretty too.
What BuJo key techniques do you swear by? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.