Bullet journaling is a great way to keep track of life when it gets busy. For me, it’s also a creative outlet I can pour my creativity into. And here’s how I bullet journal.
* note: I’ve actually been only using this bullet-journaling-thingy for a little more than month, so I ain’t no experienced veteran, but I do consider myself a seasoned amateur. just FYI.
the things I use
- Pilot G-2 pen, 0.7 tip, in the color black (like my soul)
- a lined Moleskine notebook, paper cover. If you’re a bit rough when handling notebooks, I recommend something durable, like a hardback, so it’ll last. If you like making straight lines easily, get a graph-lined one. Mine has some cameras I drew pasted on the front go it.
- a ruler
- a pencil
- ticket stubs, pictures, and other memoir to scrapbook with
also, some other things you may want to use
- color pens or pencils
- stickers, sticky notes, and tabs
All you truly need is a writing utensil and a notebook!
linh’s basics to bullet journaling
Five easy questions you should ask yourself before you get started.
1) What do you want to “list?” How do you want to use your journal?
Here’s a few examples of ways to use and list in a bullet journal:
- daily to-dos
- trackers (financial, fitness, social media, etc.)
- meal planning
- routinely schedules
- journaling (writing about your day)
There’s an endless array of options you can choose from or create a healthy blend of all above! I keep this journal as a daily planner/tracker, but in between those pages, I’d add in doodles, some scrapbooking with movie tickets, a journal entry or two, or a page filled with penmanship practice. There isn’t really a set limit to what you can do with a bullet journal. I do feel, however, that a bullet journal has to have a list of some sorts, or else it’d just be a journal (hence the word “bullet”).
2) Number your pages! Index, or nah?
If you plan on making an index, similar to a table of contents, number your pages! It doesn’t take long, and can help you find pages you need to reference back to. An index can be found in the first two-four pages of the journal. Here, you can write in any important pages you’d like to be able to flip back to. You don’t have to record every page, so don’t feel pressured to. It’s quite the efficient organization system. I never put in an index mainly because I didn’t know about it back in the day, but I recommend it to all! It makes life much, much easier.
3) Minimalist, or color? Do you want to have a key?
Choose your side, grasshopper. You can either write all in black, color in with the rainbow, or both. If you do choose to use a lot of color, you’d might be interested in having a key and assigning a topic to each shade, like assigning yellow to schoolwork and green to financial. I’m not very big on color coding, but it’s always good to keep your options open.
4) Daily, weekly, and/or monthly layouts?
Make a choice – how often do you want to use your journal? I use mine everyday when I can, both the monthly and daily formats. The monthly overview is for looking at a glance, whereas the daily one is more focused on your tasks or goals.
5) Are you willing to get creative and work hard?
(this is where you say “YES!” really loud and pump your fist in the air like you just don’t care and whip out your writing utensil and start putting that creative mind of yours to work)
starting your bullet journal
- The first 2-4 pages of your bullet journal should be reserved for the index. A color-coding key would go here, also. I don’t do either of these, so I won’t be touching base on them.
- I start out with a title page on the next fresh page that has the current month written on it. On the next two pages, I have my monthly layout. After the monthly layout, I have my previous month’s favorites page and the this month page.
- From then on, I have my daily layouts and personalized pages.
monthly and daily layouts
Daily layouts are how I plan my daily to-dos, what’s-happenings, and track certain things. I start out by writing out the day (ex., Monday, January 1, 2016) as my header. Then, below and to the right, I list my to-do list. Pretty self explanatory, right? To the left, I write my what’s-happenings. This would include any after-school events I have, birthdays, holidays, meetings, etc. I also have a space where I write down a favorite song and my Instagram/blog activity. To really add more detail and pizazz (did I really just type “pizazz?”), by certain tasks I’d draw a mini book for homework or a set of piano keys for music. The little things like that really make it enjoyable to do and easy on the eye.
My monthly layouts consist of a monthly overview. I draw in the boxes with a ruler (it helps to count the lines and divide by the number of rows to get even boxes!), number each day, and write in the days of the week, a three-month mini calendar, and little doodles here and there to pull it all together.
headers, fonts, and banners galore!
Down below, I’ve attached a few pictures of inspiration for headers, fonts, and banners. Adding these to your bullet journal can bring it alive (figuratively, not literally). It takes practice to get these down; don’t be afraid to test it out on some scratch paper first. Over time, you’d get use to it and will be able to freehand it.
personalizing your journal
Adding pages for doodles, goal-listing, writing down memories, and all that jazz can really bring it all together. Between the days of daily planning and to-do lists, you can dedicate pages for different topics. You’ll find yourself filling up the pages fast, a sure sign that you’re actively using your bullet journal and enjoying it all the same. I scrapbook in little mementos after big trips or good days, and every month, I look back and pick out my favorite moments to remember.
tips for beginners, seasoned amateurs, and experienced veterans all the same
- Perfection is never key. If you fret over small, insignificant “mistakes,” you’ll never see the bigger picture.
- Don’t rip out pages! If you mess up, draw around it, ignore it, or cover it up with something cute. If you rip out a page every time you make a error, you’d run out of pages fast, and the binding may fall apart.
- Make it a goal to use it everyday. Don’t be ten-year old me and write a few sentences and forget about it! Once you start using your bullet journal consistently, you’ll find that your life is a bit more put together.
- Do you. Do what you love, and love what you do. 🙂
I truly hope that you guys have enjoyed this post and learned a few things from it! Tell me down below if how long you’ve been bullet journaling, or if you plan on starting one! If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask; I’m always up for discussion.