The Bullet Journal often feels like it has a language of its own. Hopefully, this glossary will help you understand the basic terms. If you have any additional requests let me know!
Bullets: The building blocks of a Bullet Journal. You use these to add items to your logs. These are split between Events, Notes and Tasks.
Collection: A collection is a page or series of pages that contain the same topic or information. Daily, Monthly and Future Logs are all collections, as would be a Tracker, project or list. Collections are generally listed in the Index (except for Daily Logs) with a month’s worth of logs perhaps being included as p.10-15,17-20.
Daily Log: This is where the journal bit comes in- in addition to a planner, somewhere to record what’s happening, what you want to do and what you thought of it all.
Events: Something that has or will occur. This can be anything from birthdays to the day you move into a new house. These can be added ahead of time or as they happen. Most commonly represented by an O.
Future Log: This is located near the front of your journal and is an overview of the next year or so. This is where you can Schedule Events and Tasks well before you would get to them on a Monthly Log.
Index: What it says on the tin. A couple of pages at the front of your journal where you compile all your Collections and the page numbers they inhabit so you can find them later. This is great because it’s flexible. You could start a project on p.5-6, then continue on p.14 when you need more space- just keep adding pages!
Key: Also best located near the front of your journal, a Key is there to remind you what bullet points you’re using and any other Signifiers.
Migration: This is the partner of Scheduling, it’s for when you have so many Tasks related to the same thing that you move them from your Monthly Log to a new Collection– for example, the things to pack for a holiday or to buy for Christmas presents.
Monthly Log: Essentially this is a calendar. This is where you enter all the Tasks and Events due in the month that you have previously recorded in the Future Log. The traditional layout includes a vertical calendar and a separate task list but this is where the fun starts as Monthly Logs can also expand easily to include Trackers.
A ‘traditional’ Monthly Log, arranged as vertical list, with a habit Tracker on the next page. A fancier log with a calendar layout and a section for Tasks.
Nesting: You’re probably familiar with nesting with bullet points, but you may not have heard the term before. In a Bullet Journal it is where you have an Event or Task that has extra sub-tasks or Notes to complete it. For example, the Event ‘Leave for Holiday’ may have nested Tasks of ‘Turn down heating’ and ‘Check charging cords packed.’
Notes: Just that, a note about something that is neither a Task nor an Event but worth jotting down. Most commonly represented by a -.
Scheduling: This is when you move a task from a Future Log to a Daily Log (often with a Monthly in-between.) Think about it as having the task sitting there as a • on your Future Log, but when you get around to drawing up the Monthly Log it belongs to you change the symbol in the Future Log to < to show you’ve got it scheduled to do- and then do the same when added to a Daily Log. And then you can change it to an X when complete!
Signifier: It’s all very well keeping you Bullets to a minimum, but sometimes a little extra is needed to keep track of things. This is where signifiers come in. They may be an extra symbol such as * next to a Task to mark it as a high priority, or a highlighter colour to make sure you spot birthdays well ahead of time.
Spread: A spread is another term for a Collection and one that is probably more helpful if you’re searching for inspiration. Monthly Logs are more commonly referred to as Monthly Spreads so a useful term to know!
Tasks: The focal point of using a planner or a list- something that needs to be done! These are initially represented by a •, but transform to an X once completed or a < or > when Migrated or Scheduled.
Tracker: A tracker is for tracking things. Lots of journalers use a monthly or weekly habit tracker for everyday tasks or goals like walking a couple of miles or not drinking alcohol. Essentially you can track anything you want to; habits, money, sleep or mood it’s entirely up to you!
Monthly tracker spreads, showing sleep and habits. This would count as part of the Monthly Log. A Weekly Spread. This includes room for Daily Logs and Tasks scheduled for the week.
Weekly Log: This is a ‘zoom in’ from a Monthly Log. I use these instead of traditional Daily Logs as I like being able to fit a whole week, plus any to-do’s on a double-page spread so I can see everything at once.
#Afterthepen: I’ve already had a couple of queries about this as a tag so thought I’d explain it. This is a tag used for a spread after it’s been filled in; so a completed habit Tracker or Weekly Log.
#Beforethepen: Another tag explanation, as you can probably deduct from the above, this tag is for a spread before it’s been completed; so the layout is drawn up and complete but it hasn’t been used for the week, month or day that it is for.
I hope you found this Bullet Journal glossary helpful! If you have any other terms you find confusing and would like explained, please let me know.
If you’ve got through this and are still interested in giving Bullet Journaling a try, check out my guide to the basics!