Once you’re done with your first page, it’s time to set up your Bullet Journal key. What is it though? Why do I need one? What should I include there? In this post I’ll talk you through everything you need to know to set up your own personalized key.

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Bullet Journal | Masha Plans

Original Bullet Journal Key

The Bullet Journal system is a way to write down information based on rapid logging. All information is written in bullets – short sentences paired with symbols, that allow to easily categorize them visually.

According to the classic Bullet Journal format, all information is divided by tasks, events and notes. And each of these have their own signifier. The Bullet Journal key is the place where you write down what signifiers you use and what do they mean. It’s practically a code to crack the meaning of your notes.

The signifiers also reflect how are you doing with the project: completed, migrated, scheduled, irrelevant. You can see below an example of the original key setup. Here is a picture of the original key.

Comprehensive Guide To Bullet Journal Key - original key | Masha Plans

READ: 11 Things To Know Before Starting A Bullet Journal

Added Signifiers

Bullet Journal is famous for being completely customizable. This is true for your key as well. We all have different needs, so if you need to add some extra division for your notes – add whatever you need.

You probably need different set of symbols for school than you do for work, so use the original system as a general direction and feel free to think of your own key. One recommendation though – less is more, so don’t try to use too many signifiers. They must be simple to remember and straight to the point.

Some ideas are:

❗ = for something important you need to prioritize

❓ = for something you need to verify

💲 = for anything money related – payday, bills

💙 = for something personal

🕒 = a deadline

💡 = new idea

Different Approach To Bullet Journal Key

There are two interesting hacks you could use for your key, so I decided to mention this here under one section.

Comprehensive Guide To Bullet Journal Key - flip out key | Masha Plans

Color Code Key

A lot of people in the Bullet Journal community color code their journal. It helps you clarify your entries and makes it easier to visually understand your notes. Actually, Christina77Star has an amazing blog post on color coding in your Bullet Journal, so give it a look if you’re interested to know more.

So yes, you can come up with a way to color code your entries and add the code to your key.

Washi Tape Your Key

Your signifiers are the key to your entries, but I know often you forget what signifiers mean, especially if it’s your first Bullet Journal or if you use a color code. It just takes a while to get used to them all – I sure struggled when I started.

While you can actually just flip through to your first page every time, there is one more option – to use a washi tape and add a key to the cover of your journal. That way if you need it you can just flip it out and keep it in front of you while you’re taking notes. I love this technique because that way if you don’t need a key anymore you can just take it out. 

My Bullet Journal Key

I’ve tried a lot of different things with my code – I used many signifiers, I had color coding. But in the end I realized that the less signifiers I have the better it works for me. The less signifiers really simplifies the note taking process and allows me to concentrate more on the tasks.

I use little squares for my tasks, which I color when the task is completed. I cross them out for being irrelevant and add a little arrow if I just move them to another day.

For notes I use just a dot and for events a circle. If it’s something very important, I might use an exclamation mark, but I wouldn’t say it’s a part of my everyday key.

And finally I have a special symbol for birthdays – a triangle. This is really something I’m using mostly in my future log though, because I love to see from one glance what birthdays I should be prepared for soon.

Comprehensive Guide To Bullet Journal Key - my key | Masha Plans

READ: All You Need To Know About Bullet Journal Index

Bullet Journal Key Ideas

To boost your creative juices, I’ve gathered here some amazing key designs.

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This is all you need to know to create your own signifier system and make a key page. What signifiers do you use? Do you have a creative key page or just a practical one? Share your reply in the comments section below.

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Are you a Bullet Journal beginner? Check my Ultimate Guide To Bullet Journal For Beginners!