What makes the Bullet Journal method of note-taking so popular? It’s the magic combination of speed, structure, and flexibility!

Once you understand how to set up your bullet journal and personalize it, you can capture any aspect of your day, work, and life in a streamlined manner. If you’re new to this method and find it daunting or if you just need a refresher on its essentials once in a while, our cheat sheet below can help.

Refer to the cheat sheet for quick descriptions of key Bullet Journal terms and symbols, and for a walkthrough of the logging process. You’ll also find ideas for Bullet Journal Collections and signifiers in the list.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The Bullet Journal Cheat Sheet for Quick Note-Taking.

The Bullet Journal Cheat Sheet for Quick Note-Taking

Item Description/Note
Terms to Know About
Rapid Logging Adding journal entries as bulleted lists
Collection Basic journal module to organize related information
¹Index Content locator (Sample entry:
Collection_Name: 1-2, 6-8, 15)
¹The Future Log For dated entries outside current month
¹The Monthly Log
a. The Calendar Page To record/schedule events and tasks
b. The Task Page Monthly inventory of time, upcoming tasks, priorities, migrated tasks, etc.
¹The Daily Log For capturing tasks, events, and notes daily with Rapid Logging
Topic Descriptive title for journal page
Bullet Short sentence paired with symbol for Rapid Logging
Signifier Special symbol to add extra context to journal entries
Stack Set of active Collections
Tags Hashtags for sharing Stacks in social media posts
Subcollections Subsets of Collection created for easier management of large projects
Dedicated Index Index dedicated to one subject only
Threading Stitching Collection together by connecting its page numbers
Migration Moving entries between Logs to update journal
Bullet Symbols
● Task_Name To-do list item / task incomplete
✖︎ Task_Name Task complete
> Task_Name Task migrated to collection
< Task_Name Task scheduled in Future Log
● Task_Name Task irrelevant
– Note_Name Item to be remembered
○ Event_Name Noteworthy moment
○ Event_Name

– Note 1
– Note 2

– Note 3
Nested bullets
Signifier Ideas
²* Priority
²! Inspiration
²👁 Explore further
i Special information: coupon code, flight number, receipt number, etc.
♥︎ Favorite/liked
? Research/verify/reconsider
$ Money related
</> Tech related
@ Name, email address, or social media handle
# Phone number
Address, location
🙂 Vacation
!? Idea
Medical information
[ ] Book/movie/video
🙂 Mood
Wishlist item (Check box after purchase)
Starter Tags
Steps to Log Information
1. Set up Index.
2. Set up Future Log after Index.
3. Update Monthly Log. a. Set up Monthly Log at start of month.
b. Add list of dates to Calendar page.
c. Migrate tasks from previous month or Future Log.
d.Schedule/record events and tasks on Calendar page.
e. Record notes and extra information on Task Page.
4. Create Daily Log for next day. a. Add Topic at top of page and page number at bottom.
b. Use Daily Log for rapid logging day’s tasks, events, and notes.
c. Add Topic and corresponding page number(s) to Index.
Custom Collection Ideas
Work/Productivity Project manager
Workflow tracker
Homework tracker
Meeting log
Time tracker
Exam prep tracker
Deadline tracker
Learning log
Career goals tracker
Job search tracker
Household Shopping list
Meal planner
Recipe book
Birthday calendar
Event planner
Errand tracker
Medical information tracker
Home improvement tracker
Trip planner
Recurring tasks tracker
Health Diet planner
Food diary
Workout tracker
Running log
Sleep tracker
Period tracker
Self care ideas list
Checkup tracker
Healthy foods list
Mood tracker
Finances Budget tracker
Bill payment tracker
Expense tracker
Debt tracker
Money goals tracker
Income tracker
Savings tracker
Investment tracker
Subscription tracker
Money to-do list
Life Personal diary
Gratitude journal
Life goals tracker
Quotes and affirmations list
Bucket list
Gift ideas tracker
Hobby tracker
Habit tracker
Reading list
Movie list
¹Core Collection: Foundational Collection part of every Bullet Journal.

²Suggested in the official Bullet Journal system.

Stay Analog or Go Digital

Your bullet journal can be a planner, calendar, memoir, or all of these and more rolled into one. And you’ll find plenty of stunning journal spreads online to use as inspiration for your own. What’s more, you can go digital with your bullet journal in creative ways. For example, you can repurpose Evernote as a bullet journal.

If you plan to go the digital route, we recommend using one of these apps to make bullet journaling effortless The 5 Best Bullet Journal Apps to Make Bullet Journaling Effortless The 5 Best Bullet Journal Apps to Make Bullet Journaling Effortless We rounded up several smart apps that come with all the right features for keeping a Bullet Journal. Read More .

Image Credit: Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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