Bullet Journal Basics: What is a Bullet Journal Key?

Example of a bullet journal key

I find one barrier for some people to start bullet journaling is the terminology. It sounds fancy, it sounds complex and let’s be honest – it can sound like a lot of bloody faff. In this blog post I’m going to explain one of the basics of bullet journaling: what is a bullet journal key.

Example of a bullet journal key

The key is really nothing more complex than a series of symbols which indicate firstly what an item is and secondly where you are in its’ progress. Die-hard fans of the original bullet journal method will tell you there is only one symbol structure to follow. But for the rest of us there is no one way that is better than others, you can create whatever works for you. The one I’ll show you here is the way I use it in my own bullet journal.

Bullet Journal Key: Symbols to Denote Item Type

It can be helpful in a planner to distinguish between tasks, events and notes. In my bullet journal a task is a circle, an event is a triangle and a note is a horizontal line.

Bullet journal symbols: item types

Symbols to Denote Item Progress

There is nothing more satisfying than ticking things off that list. So in my bullet journal key I denote completed tasks by colouring in that circle. If I’ve started a task, but haven’t yet finished it, I’ll only colour in half the circle.

When a task gets moved to another day, I’ll draw a little arrow on the circle pointing to the right. And if I decide to cancel something all together, I’ll draw a line through the circle. By doing these two things, it’s easy to see each morning what tasks are being carried over from the previous day and what can be forgotten about completely.

Bulet journal key: item progress

That’s all there is to it. Hopefully that shows just how simple a bullet journal key really is. Many people like to draw this out at the front of their journal so they don’t forget what symbol means what as they work through the year.

If you’ve got any questions on bullet journal keys or anything else bujo related, head over to Instagram and drop me a DM. I’m happy to help!

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