17 Amazing Bullet Journal Key Ideas | The Ultimate Guide

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The Perfect key Ideas for your bullet journal

Ever wondered what all those Bullet Journal symbols and signs are that other people are using in their Bullet Journal?

Then you’re in the right place, as one of the first things Bullet Journalers need to think about, is their Bullet Journal Key!

In this post, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about a Bullet Journal Key, and why you should definitely have one, as well as sharing 17 awesome examples.

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If you’re already well underway with your Bullet Journal and just seeking inspiration, then skip straight ahead to Key Ideas, using our Table of Contents below.

If you are new to Bullet Journaling, head over to Minimalist Bullet Journal Spreads, Easy Ideas and Weekly Layouts, which will tell you everything you’ll need to know to get started.

If you’re looking for a new Bullet Journal, you can check out 11 of The Best Bullet Journal Notebooks to Buy to make sure you get your hands on the Journal that’s right for you.

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What is a Bullet Journal Key?

All of the information in a Bullet Journal is written in short sentences and paired with symbols or ‘bullets’. This is a great way to easily categorize entries visually – and your key is your quick reference guide – instead of writing down every little thing.

Your key page is usually one of the first pages in your journal, so that you can flip back to it when you need to reference what a symbol, color or letter means.

Your key will always be personal to you, so whether your list of symbols will be basic shapes and colors, or a more elaborate spread of small designs and different symbols, will depend entirely on you!

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7 Reasons to Use A Bullet Journal Key

With everything moving so quickly, all of our appointments, tasks, meetings, family, friends and side projects, it can be almost impossible to keep track of everything.

So the question is, how do we prioritise all of these things, so we can keep a healthy balance?

By creating a Simple Bujo Key with symbols and colors that relate to different types of tasks or priorities, you’ll be able to get your life back on track in no time.

Not to mention how much space it will save in your Journal for other things!

Here is a list of reasons you’ll definitely want to get your Bujo Key up together:

  1.     Make you more efficient
  2.     Save time and effort
  3.     Will make you more organized
  4.     Perfect way to personalize
  5.     Classify your entries
  6.     Saves space in your Bullet Journal
  7.     Looks cleaner and neater
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Rapid Logging

The concept of journaling with bulleted lists and their keys, was created by Ryder Carroll. 

Rapid Logging is when you can summarize the information in your Bullet Journal with a lot less content, organizing it with bulleted lists, meaning short sentences, paired with symbols.

For rapid logging, each Bullet Journal icon is a visual display to classify an entry into one of 3 important things:

  1. Tasks
  2. Events
  3. Notes

You then change the symbol as you progress your tasks, to reflect how it’s doing:

  • Completed
  • Migrated (Moving it to another day/week/month if you haven’t completed it)
  • Scheduled
  • Irrelevant

And the crucial part to Bullet Journal rapid logging? The Bullet Key!

Bullet Journal Key Ideas
Bullet Journal Key Ideas

Bullet Journal Signifiers

Signifiers are one of the best things you can use to customize your Bullet Journal.

Everyone has different needs and specific things they want their journal to achieve and creating your own Bullet Journal Signifiers will do just that!

They are a simple set of basic symbols, allowing you to quickly log and understand what is happening throughout your day – here are a few examples:

! – Important

? – Check

$ – Money / Work

~ – Waiting On

You can be as inventive with these as you like, we’ll be sharing some more examples later on in this post…

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Is a Bullet Journal Key Right for Me?

Just remember, as with anything you do with your Bullet Journal, it’s personal to you and your needs, so definitely change and adapt your Key to suit your needs, as this will optimize the use of your Journal.

For instance, if you are mainly using your Journal for studying, then you will have different needs to someone who is using it to organize important dates in their work life.

That could mean changing your system once you’re already underway, so don’t be afraid to try something new, or progress your key as your Journal develops.

As long as your Bujo system, (including your key), is making things easier and not harder, then you’re on the right  track!

Bullet Journal Color Code

A good idea and alternative to Bullet Journal Keys, is color coding entries.

Adding different colors will help you classify your entries and much in the same way as a key, you can mark the progress of your tasks and events against the corresponding color.

That way, you’ll know exactly how everything is progressing and let’s be honest, what’s not to love about more color?

You may also want to use color to divide some different areas of your Journaling, here’s some ideas:

  • Personal
  • Family members 
  • Friends
  • Work
  • Money
  • Home
  • Hobbies
  • Side Hustles
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How to Create A Bullet Journal Key

1. Think About It

This is the most important step.

Take some time to think about what you need to keep yourself organized in day-to-day life.

Is your Bullet Journal for fitness and self-care, family tasks, or maybe you are Journaling for its Theraputic benefits?

The best way to map this out, is to make a list, so you can visualize the types of entries you’ll be making.

2. Create Your Own Code

Whether you’re opting to use color-coding, the original Bullet Journal Key, or codes that are entirely your own – now is the time to create them!

These can be as simple or as detailed as you like, but remember, you will be using them regularly, so don’t make it too hard for you to jot down quickly.

3. Add Your Signifiers to the Key

This is the fun part – write down your personal signifiers in your Bullet Journal Key or Legend!

Do this on an easily accessible page and for each signifier, remember to write its meaning alongside/below.

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9 Top Tips to Perfect Key Creation

1. Keep it simple!

Don’t go overboard making tons of key symbols and Bullet Journal signifiers in an attempt to be really quick and hyper-organised, because more often than not, it will have the opposite effect.

A simple key is the best way ahead.

2. Make your Key Easy to Access

A page on the left hand side will be easier to see when you want to flip back to it. The inside of your front cover is probably the best place to put it.

3. Pencil First 

Creating your key in pencil first, will allow you to confidently line everything up how you want and avoid making mistakes.

4. Leave some space

As your Bullet Journal develops, there’s every chance you’ll need some additional or different signifiers, so leave space to modify your key and write them down later.

5. Keep it Simple

The less symbols you have, the more likely you are to use them and therefore, the more organised you will become!

This is a great example of how little things can make a big difference.

6. Color Coding

If you choose to use colors, don’t feel you’ve limited your options.

Your color key can be used alongside your symbols too, to really maximize your organisation. 

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8. Washi Tape Your Key

It can take some time to get used to your Key to begin with.

While you can flip back to your Key Legend each time you need to reference it, there is an easier option…

By using Washi Tape to attach your Key system to your Journal, you can take it out any time you need it and keep it in front of you while you complete your Journal!

9. Add Your Key To Your Monthly Log

If you’re using monthly spreads, you might want to add your key to the side of your monthly log. It’ll be a great help and easy to reference, especially if you choose to use color-coding.

This way, when keeping your daily log, you won’t need to flip all the way back to the start each time to see your  key.

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And there you have it – our ultimate guide to setting up your own Key! 

Hopefully you now feel ready to create the perfect Bullet Journal Key to suit your own needs, one that can take your organization to the next level. 

For more Bullet Journal Ideas, head over to our page, dedicated to Bullet Journaling.