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Ultra-Streamlined Style for bullet journal

I might have a little time here and there to do creative designs with my journal. But usually I just need it to help manage the day. What's the fastest way to manage a bullet journal? As with many things in life, it depends. Let me offer an overview of the Universal Journal ultra-streamlined style.


The Universal Journal style intends to help you spend as little time as possible setting up and using your bullet journal. It's counter productive to get burned out on a tool that's supposed to help you avoid burning out. This graphic recaps the basics. Check out some other posts on the topic. Bullet Journal Ultra-StreamlinedEfficient workflowDecluttering your JournalStreamlined Color CodingPrintables
Thanks for visiting Universal Journal. Got any minimalist ideas you'd like to share with the rest of us? Please comment here.

Journal ideas for using Notemarks

Notemarks were created as a multi-purpose bookmark (check out that post here). They make a great addition for a bullet journal that doesn't have built-in ribbon bookmarks. Notemarks are meant to be printed double sided, and can be used as needed. Let's take a closer look at the possibilities.

If used uncut, the Notemark could be quad folded into one foldable bookmark. If cut in half, you'll have two Notemarks (good for the Monthly and Daily logs), like this:

how to use notemarks the note bookmarks

I cut the Notemarks in half and fold each half. The exterior has one usable column and an artistic column (great place for a sticky note caddie), while the interior has two usable dotted columns.

How to use the Notemarks

  • Book notes (such as highlights, keywords, or summaries for the book you are reading)
  • Unusual schedules (do you have a twice a month or once every third week type of event or task?) See below for a detailed look at the weekly Notemark.
  • Icon key (keep your journal's legend right where you are in your journal)
  • Sticky note caddie
  • Record monthly expenditures (if you don't need a permanent place in your journal)

Notemarks for unusual schedules

So you have garbage pick up once a week, every week, and it's still hard to remember. You have some once-a-month tasks to do. There's also that twice a month event or meeting. With a Notemark, you can keep up with all of that and more right from your daily logs.


I use a weekly Notemark for several tasks and events that may or may not always coincide each week. For each day, I have 3 columns:
  • signifier (according to my icon set)
  • frequency (the week of the month: 1, 2, 3, 4, combination, or ALL)
  • item (brief label of the task or event)
For example, where I live there is a thing I try to attend at the public library every second Monday of the month. I have another thing two Sundays of the month. The garbage needs to be taken out every Tuesday. Each item is briefly noted in the Notemark. At night when I reflect and set up the next day's log, the weekly Notemark is there to remind me of anything that might regularly occur on that day as well as keeping my place in the journal.

On the Monthly Notemark I keep my first-of-the-month list of chores.

Sometimes schedules change. When that happens I just make a new Notemark with the updates. Notemarks are made available for free download here.

Got any other ideas for using Notemarks? Comment here.

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In this ultra-streamlined approach to bullet journaling, it's not only the layouts and designs that are minimalist, but the techniques for using the system as well. The flow of your tasks, appointments, etc. from one module to another can be tricky. Or it can be simple. It's all a matter of how you manage these things.

In my journal, most items end up in the daily log for the day I intend to handle them. That may or may not happen on the actual day assigned but the most important thing is I don't lose track of stuff. The daily log is the last stage of a task/event filtering technique. T…

Streamlined Weekly Log

Not everyone uses a weekly log in their bullet journal. For those who do, here are three variants on one streamlined design. Each is an elegant 6 column spread with plenty of room for daily tasks an ample space for other information.


Variant 1: by kerrystudies on tumblr

Variant 2: by northernplanner on instagram

Variant 3: by u/ghostsco on reddit

Do you have other ideas for a weekly log? Comment here and be sure to subscribe!


DIY Add a paper pocket to your journal

Got a plain old notebook? There are plenty of options out there and you may not find one with all the features you like. But journalers are already familiar with customizing their journals and we tend to like that. Here's a super easy DIY option for a pocket.


Not everyone needs a pocket in their journal. If you want a pocket but don't have one, here is a very simple method using one Legal or A4 size sheet of paper and double-sided tape. (Affiliate links included.)



The Universal Journals are printed by Lulu.com Any print on demand service will be limited compared to a traditional printer. As capable as Lulu.com is (with quick turn around, worldwide availability, lots of product options for customers, and more), there are lots of things journalers might want in their Universal Journal that Lulu just can't do. At least not at this time. But this also makes for ideal customization. Make it your own.

Got any other ideas for adding a pocket to a book? Comment here. Be sure to su…