Bullet Journal Key – How To

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Bullet Journal Key – what is it?  How do I design mine?

The bullet journal key is a legend listing the symbols that you use in your bullet journal. It shows the symbols for categories of items and their state of completedness.  There are as many ways to create a bullet journal key are there are people using bullet journals.

cover photo: instagram @journals.filled.with.ink

Here are some ideas to get you started!

Bullet Journal Key Standard Form – K.I.S.S.

The standard form of the bullet journal key is the one created by Ryder Carrol in his original bullet journal.  It uses a standard set of symbols and signifiers.  This basic key is used by many and it is sufficient by any journaling standard.  One of the great things about this key is that is it so simple. Because there are so few symbols, it’s quick and easy to identify the category for any item. This key follows the K.I.S.S principle – keep it simple, stupid.

Bullet Journal Key Customizations

If you’re ready to get a little creative, your key can get more involved, or some might even say complicated.  

Take the key below, for example.  It’s got extra symbols to define things to remember, memories and events.  And it even includes a color code to show the manner in which time is spent.  In my opinion, these more elaborate keys are not in the true spirit of the bujo.  Afterall, the whole idea of this type of journal is simplicity!  But, if it keeps you interested in your journal, I say go for it!

Bullet Journal Key Ideas:

Here is a collection of bullet journal key ideas that you can use to inspire the creation of your own key, click the images to visit the creators on Instagram:

Bullet Journal Key Hacks:

  • When you first decide on your key it’s a good idea to write it in pencil first and then commit to the style once you see if the symbols you have selected work for you.
  • Create your key on a bookmark or extendable flap inserted into your journal as a flap using washi tape.  This gives you easy access while you get used to using the symbols.
  • Keep it simple!  Too many symbols create confusion.
  • Edit your key as your needs change.  It’s ok to change symbols or add new symbols to your key as your journal evolves.

Tell me about your Bullet Journal Key!

Post a comment here and tell me what inspired your key.  Post your instagram handle so we can check it out!