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Bullet Journal Tutorial: How to Use Basic Symbols

Learn the basic symbols used in bullet journaling and how to make a key for your own journal, with Annie Weir

Bullet journaling was designed to help people organize their lives and bring clarity to their minds using a simple and flexible system made up of basic symbols.

Annie Weir (@a_journal_by_annie) has been bullet journaling since 2017, combining her passion for lettering and illustration with a place to store her ideas, thoughts, and memories.
In this tutorial, she shares how to use bullet journal symbols and how you can make a key for your own journal.

Basic Symbols

Here are the basic symbols you can use, adapt, or replace in your own journal:

• = task

Use this symbol to list the tasks you need to complete.

X = completed

Draw a cross over the task dot to indicate you have completed it.

> = migrate

You can use this symbol to mark any task that you did not complete on the day you had planned to. It shows that the task has been moved–migrated–to a different date in the near future.

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< = schedule

If you know you are going to be unable to finish a task in the near future, you can schedule a task. Instead of migrating it onto the next page of the journal and cluttering your page and your mind, you can note it down in your future log and save it for a later date.

○ = event

An event can include anything from a birthday to a power cut, allowing you to record upcoming plans or make note of an event that already happened.

- = notes

Any one of the symbols you use could require some additional information. Use the hyphen to make notes below any symbol so that you can clearly link relevant information to each point in your journal.

You can use these symbols as the foundation for your journaling or adapt them to your needs and style.

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If you enjoyed this tutorial, check out Annie Weir’s online course, Introduction to Illustrated Bullet Journaling to learn how to create a handmade, stylish, and functional bullet journal using illustration and hand lettering.

You may also like:

- Introduction to Brush Lettering, a course by James Lewis
- The Golden Secrets of Lettering, a course by Martina Flor
- Watercolor Travel Journal, a course by Alicia Aradilla

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