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The Perfect Bullet Journal Key For Rapid Logging

 How to use a bullet journal key for rapid logging in the bullet journal method!

When you start using a bujo, one of the first things you have to determine is how to set up your bullet journal key.

But what is a bullet journal key exactly and why do you need one?

In this post, I will walk you through how to use the bullet journal key symbols for rapid logging and I will share a few examples to inspire you on bullet journal key ideas.

If you are new to bullet journal you might want to check out my guide for starting a bullet journal. It’s the best place to start if you are a Bullet Journal beginner as I give you an entire overview of the system for you to start up. 

A bujo consist of the following parts:

  1. Bullet Journal Key – we are talking about this in this post!
  2. Bullet Journal Index
  3. Bullet Journal Future Log
  4. Bullet Journal Monthly Spreads
  5. Bullet Journal Weekly Spreads
  6. Bullet Journal Daily Spreads
  7. Bullet Journal Collections

What Is A Bullet Journal Key?

When you first start looking at Bullet Journals online you often see lots of symbols next to entries. This isn’t some strange language or bullet journal code you need to learn before you can start a Bullet Journal.

These bullet journal symbols are a kind of quick reference guide. 

Here are some reasons to use a bujo key:

  • More efficient
  • Saves time and effort
  • Can make you more organized
  • Easy to personalize
  • Saves space in your bullet journal
  • Looks neater

Bullet Journal Key Original Set up

The concept of bullet journal keys was created by Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal method creator.

The key to bullet journal rapid logging is the bullet key (pun intended!). Rapid Logging is when you can capture the information with a lot less content and organize it with bulleted lists.

For rapid logging each bullet journal icon is a visual demonstration to classify an entry into either task, event or notes, and you change the symbol as you get on with your tasks.

The original bullet keys are as followed:

Bullet journal keys original method

However, as with everything with a bullet journal, you are also free to optimize your rapid logging symbols to suit your own needs. Many people do it, including myself.

And it makes total sense. For instance, if you use your bullet journal as a student you will probably need a different set of keys for school than you would for work.

So don’t be afraid to experiment and try different systems and ideas. You can’t make a mistake. If something doesn’t work for you or is seeming to make things harder rather than easier then use it as a learning experience and try something new. 

 

Bullet Journal Key and Signifiers

Sometimes we need an extra bit of information to differentiate similar entries where just using the keys isn’t enough, that is when the bullet journal signifiers come in handy!

The signifiers are extra symbols that give additional context to your entries.

For instance, I use the exclamation mark to mark tasks or appointments that are super important and therefore need to be prioritized.

I just add the exclamation mark to the left of my entry when rapid logging.

When I scan the page I am working on I can see immediately what are the tasks that I need to concentrate first.

Exclamation mark (❗) = Important: I use this signifier to mark important things on my list that needs prioritizing.

You can add more bullet journal legend and signifiers to help you log your entries fast, just be aware that too many signifiers can actually make you less effective.

Some ideas of signifiers to use are:

Heart symbol = inspirational ideas and personal mantras.

Dollar symbol = expenses or invoices to be generated.

Clock symbol = deadline and due dates for projects.

Question mark = for something you need to verify.

You get the idea! You can create your own signifiers, that will make sense to your entries.

You definitely don’t have to use the same ones or mark them for the same thing! Do your thing! These are just a few to get you started.

I only use a couple of symbols at the max, and mostly I just use the important signifier.

 

Bullet journal key color code

You can also add color to help you classify your entries.

I love this beautiful bullet journal key layout from Rachel at Planning Mindfully, she uses her favorite bujo notebook Scribbles That Matter.

bullet journal key and index

This is a simple way to block time in your schedule too. And the bullet journal keys add such beautiful colors to your bujo.

 

How to use a bullet journal key

I like to keep the keys and signifiers to a minimum because I can get confused if I use too many. Less is more, right?

For work, I add my tasks and mark them as I progress, complete them or canceled/mark as irrelevant.

Sometimes I have to migrate tasks when I try to do too much in a day and run out of time. I simply use a little arrow to remind me that the task has been moved. When that happens, I repeat the task on the next day/week accordingly on the page.

I use dots/dashes for notes and reminders.

Finally, I have appointments, those are mostly related to my personal life.

I use a circle to differentiate them from other tasks and notes.

If I need to prioritize something I use the exclamation mark! I find that these simple symbols help me log my lists so easily and keep on track of everything seamlessly.

Bullet journal keys and signifiers

 

How to make a bullet journal key

Now I’ve shown you how I create my personal key bullet journal, now it is your turn! Don’t worry as it is super simple. Just follow these basic steps:

  1. Sit down and think about all the things that you need to keep organized in your life. You may want to do a brain dump to help you do this. Some ideas of what you may want to include are appointments, work commitments, personal commitments, family tasks, fitness routines, the list goes on as you can really have a symbol for anything!
  2. Create your own bullet journal code. These can be as simple and minimalist as you like, or more extravagant. Just keep in mind that the idea is to save time and be more efficient so don’t make them too complicated.
  3.  Write down your signifiers in a bullet journal legend or key

 

Where to add a key for bullet journal

If your bullet journal notebook doesn’t come with the specific key page, you just need to write it on a page like I did. Put it somewhere that is easy to find such as the first or back page of your journal. 

Another idea is to create a fold-out key or even bookmark the page you create your bujo signifiers on. 

 

Bullet Journal Key Ideas

Here are a few of my favorite accounts that have some great inspiration for bullet journal, I love the designs. Be sure to check their beautiful bullet journal pages for more ideas.

 

key for bullet journal

You can make your bujo key fit in with the theme of your journal, like this floral bujo theme from @archi_journal.

Learn how to doodle flowers in our HUGE flower drawing post. We show you how to draw over 50 different flowers!

 

bujo key

This is a stunning minimalist bullet journal key from @themapimethod

If you want to try more of a simple style like this then come and take a look at these gorgeous minimalist bullet journals ideas

 

bullet journal keys

Use washi tape to make your bullet journal key really stand out like this design from @lala_bunt

Find our favorite washi tape shops here. 

 

bullet journal key

From @bujobyki

 

bullet journal signifiers

This is a great example of using signifiers and colors in your bujo legend from @loashleydoodles

 

bullet journal keys and signifiers

If you have a lot of things you need to keep a track of and organized then you may need a more complicated key like this one from @greyzonepages

Although it looks like there are lots of symbols, when used in your bujo it is actually a really easy way to see what you have on in your life in one simple glance. Especially if you use the same bullet journal legend for a few years. 


I hope this post has shown you what a bullet journal key is and how to use one. Although it is not necessary to use a bujo key I think it is a great tool to help you use your journal to be more productive and simplify your life. 

It can take a little while to get used to using a key and the symbols, it won’t be long before they become second nature and you are rapid logging. You may even find you start using the same signifiers in other places outside of your bullet journal such as at work!

Have you created your own bujo key? Did it help you use your bujo better and faster? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

 

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About Diary of a Journal Planner

Lover of all things journaling with a serious pen and washi tape addiction. Lifelong doodler who loves to keep life organized. Want to keep a bullet journal? Here you will find plenty of bujo, calligraphy and doodle ideas to get you started.

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