April 24, 2017

Bonjour BuJo (n°4): Setting Up the Key

Bonjour readers! A few of you have expressed interest in this BuJo "set up" series and your voices have been heard! A fresh new journal makes you giddy to get started, and I am going to do my best to roll out this "set up" series at a pace that doesn't rush you, but that also gives you what you need when you need it. The series will feature BuJo foundations and by summer, you should have tools to run wild with a fun summer project! Before we get rolling on this series, a few things to keep it mind:

*Make your journal your own. Your journal will not be quite like anyone else's journal, as the bullet journal is specifically meant to suit your needs. I am here to provide a jumping off point and hopefully you will find a few ideas/designs that resonate with you, but I am by no means the knower of all things BuJo. Search the web, get on Instagram, check out Pinterest, and talk to other journalers as you discover what works for you. You can view my Pinterest inspiration board here. It has taken me about eight months, and I have finally begun to figure out what works for me (though my needs are honestly ever changing and my journal is still evolving).

*It won't be perfect and that is OK! There are pages you are going to be really darn proud of, and pages you will want to turn faster than you can blink, never looking back. (Dramatic, right? But I know you get me.) Don't lose sight of the bullet journal's essential purpose: to streamline. Streamline your calendar, planners, journals, lists, etc. You want to increase productivity and stimulate creativity - but this should be a positive experience! There WILL be crooked washi tape and misspelled words, but ultimately this process should bring a sense of focus. If the beautifying part isn't your thing - that's OK! If you want to try to add some embellishment but feel inexperienced, just try it out! You will learn and grow as you go. I tell my students that mistakes make learning happen every day ... sometimes that's hard advice to take myself, but it's so true!

Now let's get to the fun part. :)

The key is the very first page in your journal. Here, you set up the icons and symbols you will use as you make plans, create lists, set goals, find inspiration, show gratitude, etc. In my first journal I kept my key fairly simple, and I will stick to this as I begin my second journal. There are inspiration photos out there with too many icons and symbols to count. Remember, you want to streamline. If it gets too complicated, it will no longer be a useful tool. Simple is good! 

(My journal keys. Left is my new journal, right is my first journal.)

You can see that I didn't make many changes this time around, except I removed two icons because I just didn't use them regularly. I like simple designs and I'm a fan of white space, though I may end up going back and adding something above my laurel wreath eventually. That's the beauty. It can unfold in time. And a note on inspiration - the frame around my first key was inspired by the frame that hangs on Monica and Rachel's apartment door in Friends. I think I was Netflix binging at the time... :)

Update: I made my new key minutes before adding this photo to the post. Some of the gold gel pen ink has already smudged onto the adjacent white page. I told you, these things WILL happen. I had my "cringe" moment, and then I shrugged it off. It's best to just roll with it!

Key creation, while only requiring one page, will be a big part of your daily journal use. If you aren't sure what icons you will want, start with the basics: to do, completed, delayed, cancelled, and notes. You can always leave some extra white space and go back and add if you find you need another icon later. The adaptability of the bullet journal is, in my opinion, one if it's greatest qualities. 

Happy bullet journaling! Get rolling on those keys.
Warm wishes from me to you,

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