Planner & Bullet Journal Glossary
When I first started my planning journey, I was overwhelmed by all the foreign words: I had no idea what anything meant. To give further context, I thought BuJo was some type of martial arts (hint: it’s short for “Bullet Journal”).
If you’re overwhelmed, don’t worry: every bullet journaler goes through this. Learning what the lingo means helped me better understand and improve my journaling and planning. To help you guys, I compiled everything I researched into this comprehensive, concise, and meaty blog post.
Here is the ultimate planner and bullet journal glossary.
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Deciding and thinking through what, where, when, how, and why to go about a certain task before taking action. To read more about planning, check our blog post on how to plan your day efficiently.
A personal record of activities, events, experiences, reflections, and other occurrences that are updated regularly. There are different types of journaling used for different purposes, such as art journaling, food journaling, etc.
The craft of arranging type (fonts) legibly and appealingly.
A design for a set of letters.
The creator of the bullet journal system. I talk about his Ted-talk in this blog post here.
Lettering, specifically hand-lettering, is the drawing and illustrating of letters. A lot of bullet journalers and planners incorporate lettering in their journaling (although it isn’t necessary). It is different from calligraphy.
The art of skillful handwriting. The tools used for calligraphy also differ from the tools used for lettering.
Items commonly used
A planner is a book designed to carry around, helping you organize your days.
A diary where you organize events, tasks, and assignments. Related to planner and journal.
A system that Ryder Caroll devised to help organize tasks, events, and notes. It has been adopted by many other people.
The shortened term of bullet journal used by many users on social media. you can find many examples of bullet journaling if you search the #bujo tag.
It is a Japanese brand that creates brush pens and markers. These brush pens are commonly used for lettering. You can find them here.
A refillable notebook. The TN (short for traveler’s notebook) can hold multiple books. Certain brands of traveler’s notebooks can also store items, such as personal cards, notes, and more.
Notebooks that have a dotted grid on each page. Commonly used in the journaling/planning community.
A notebook where the pages are graph paper.
Worksheets and planners are made to be printed. It is usually in the form of a PDF. Check out our printable library here.
A type of Japanese paper. Washi tape, which is popular among the journaling community, is paper tape. It often has colors, patterns, and different types of design on it. Washi tape is also reusable.
A visual way to represent different ideas and concepts. It is a tool that can be used to generate more ideas, analyze information, and better understand a concept.
Midori is a Japanese brand that creates stationary. They are well known for their traveler’s notebooks in addition to their simplistic, sleek, and minimalist planners and notebooks.
This is the act of moving uncompleted tasks onto another day or month. These tasks get moved based on an assessment. If it is important, it should migrate. If it isn’t, the task doesn’t get moved.
This is the act of recording events, habits, moods, goals, and more. This term is related to “Tracker”.
Method of generating ideas to help solve a problem.
A quick way to capturing information and recording tasks, events, and notes in the form of a bulleted list.
It is a way to connect ideas in your journal. This method will save you time and labor.
The Kanban method is a Japanese system used to help visualize work. Applications and tools, such as Trello, base their serves around this system.
The Kanban method has three categories: to-do, in progress, and finished. The objective is to move tasks from start to finish, minimizing the number of tasks that are ‘in-progress’.
Method of allocating a specific amount of time for a specific task.
These are points/bullets within a bullet. It typically looks like this:
- Set up planner
- Create spreads
- Choose theme and markers
- Brainstorm different collection ideas
You can nest notes under events or tasks to capture keynotes or steps. This is where you can add additional details.
The act of testing and sampling different pencils, pens, markers, paints, tapes, and more.
A technique to help declutter your thoughts and help gain clarity. Most journalers dedicate a spread to this.
Components of the Planner and Journal
A page or section that references the symbols used throughout the journal.
The future log is located at the beginning of a bullet journal — it is where you log future events – anything you know that will happen within the future months.
This sits at the beginning of your bullet journal. The index is the table of content where you list the page sections/titles and their page numbers.
Collections are pages/lists of any given topic. For example, one collection might be a list of items you need to pack.
Monthlies / Monthly Log
This is the spread/pages that are used for a single month. The main purpose of this spread is to help you plan your month. If you have any events or tasks you need to get done in that month, this is where you’ll list it.
Your tasks and entries for the week.
Your tasks and entry for an individual day.
A tracker keeps you accountable for certain tasks. There are different things you can track for, such as habits, mood, goals, and more. In a bullet journal or planner, there is usually a section designated for tracking.
Two open, facing pages of a journal or notebook.
List of tasks you have to complete.
This is a list of all the things you want to do. You can put this in a collection.
These are symbols or indicators that give your entries/lists further context. In the bullet journal system, they are placed on the left of the bullets. Two indicators commonly used are:
- The asterisk (*), is used to indicate important events
- The Exclamation (!) symbol indicates inspiration
This bullet journaling technique used to either create more space, aesthetic purposes or to create distinguished sections. One way to achieve this effect is to cut pages to give a door-like effect, but maintain the structure of a spread.
One of the three types of entries when rapid-logging. This indicates the things we have to do on a list. There are five states to a task:
- A bullet indicates an incomplete task
- An ‘x’ indicates a complete task
- > means that the task has migrated to collection
- < the task has been scheduled in the Future log
A strikethrough means that the task is irrelevant
Represented by the open bullet when rapid-logging. Events are date-dependent that are usually scheduled ahead of time. They can also be logged after the event occurs.
They are one of the three types of entries in the rapid-logging list.
One of the three types of entries in rapid-logging. They are indicated with a dash. Notes are used to record the information you want to remember.
Short-formed sentences or phrases used in the bullet journaling method.
Sizes and categories
A dot grid is a page that is filled with evenly spaced dots. Notebooks with dot grids are a popular choice for bullet journaling.
This stands for grams per square meter. This is something to take into consideration — if you use a lot of markers, you want to choose a paper with a higher GSM. Thicker paper (higher GSM) tends to protect better against bleeding and ghosting.
A brand/type of planner. It is popular amongst the journaling community and beyond. There are a variety of cover sizes and categories. They have A4, A5, A6 planners and more.
Leuchtturm, founded in 1917, is a German stationery company that creates planners and other high-quality stationery. This is a popular journal that many people in the community use and recommend. You might see the term in its shortened term, LT1917.
Size of paper: 8.5 in x 11 inches. This is the standard printer paper size.
Size of paper: 11 in x 17 inches.
One of the two orientations for paper — it is taller than wide.
Page orientation where the page is wider than tall.
A4, A5, A6 paper sizes:
The A paper series is used worldwide and was codified by the International Organization for Standardization. This system is the same everywhere in the world.
These are the common sizes seen in notebooks:
- A4: 297 x 420 mm or 11.7 x 16.5 in. The larger end of planner/journal sizes.
- A5: 148 x 210 mm or 5.8 x 8.3 in — this is the typical size of most planners.
- A6: 105 x 148 mm or 4.1 x 5.8 in — this is on the smaller end of planner sizes. A6 planners are small and portable.
B Paper Sizes
The B paper series is based on the same principles as the A paper series but has a slightly different aspect ratio. However, it isn’t standardized world-wide, as the system differs in Japan.
- B5: 176 x 250mm (6.9 x 9.8 in)
- B6: 125 x 176mm (4.9 x 6.9 in)
- B7: 88 x 125mm (3.5 x 4.9 in)
This is a type of notebook binding that uses discs to hold the sheets of paper together. This is a flexible binding system that allows you to take out or add pages at any given time.
This paper-binding system is used with softcover books. The cover and the pages are held together with blue at the spine.
It’s when a bit of the writing from one side shows up on the other side. It is less offensive than bleeding.
Bleeding is a little more intrusive — it is when ink from the previous page makes its way to the next page. The ink has penetrated the paper and will interfere with your journaling on that specific page. Like ghosting, this happens because the pages are not thick enough for whatever medium you’re using.
I know this is a lot, but if you ever need to refer back to this page, feel free to bookmark it! I will be sure to update the planner and bullet journal glossary regularly.
If you have any terms that you are unsure of, please let them in the comments below. Share your favorite planning technique with us in the comments 🙂