Those of you who have followed my blog for some time know that I’ve mentioned my bullet journal in previous posts. But some of you may being wondering:
What is a bullet journal?
Is a bullet journal right for me?
How do I even get started with a bullet journal?
Fear not, my wonderful fellow humans, for I will be covering these questions in this post. I will also be showing you my first bullet journal and how I’ve changed things to suit my needs.
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So what is a bullet journal?
A bullet journal is a blank journal that you customise to suit all of your needs and aspirations. This is usually done using a bullet point system, hence the name.
I personally love my bullet journal because I have just one place to write my to do lists, places I need to be, thoughts and ideas, dreams, memories, habits to track, and achievements. It doesn’t stress me out because I’m not juggling a million different pieces of stationery. It’s just one book that fits everything in.
Is a bullet journal right for me?
Bullet journals are ideal for people who:-
– like to write lists;
– have little to-do lists lying around everywhere;
– are interesting in setting goals and tracking habits;
– like stationery, journaling, scrapbooking, etc;
– really want to be more organised;
– aspire to improve themselves but don’t know how to stick at it;
– are juggling multiple planners for different things.
Do any of these sound like you?
Of course, even if you don’t fit the bill here, it doesn’t mean that a bullet journal isn’t right for you.
Bullet journals can take a number of different roles, as well as being a planner. You can track statistics for your blog, school grades, habits, etc. You can keep a note of memories, funny things that your children have said, projects that you want to do or are in the process of doing… The list goes on.
A bullet journal can be useful for ANYONE.
How do I even get started?
Start by buying a journal.
If you’ve had a look online before coming here, you’ll know that a lot of people go on about the Leuchtturm dotted page journal. It is a great journal, with 249 numbered pages and an index page at the front so that you fill in what pages contain what. But that’s a lot of pages wasted if I decided I didn’t like it, and at £12.99 each it also seemed a lot of money wasted. I also wasn’t sure about having dotted pages – surely I would have to draw more grids and tables? I wanted my bullet journal to be as low-maintenance as possible so I’d be more likely to use it.
In the end I went for a Herlitz square-grid journal. Sure, with 96 pages at £6.99 it’s less value for money, but it was less of a loss if I decided it wasn’t for me. Plus the squared paper gave me more guidance; it’s my own preference. You might prefer dotted paper.
So you have your journal. Now what?
I was so inspired to start my first bullet journal…until I actually tried to start it. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with how to set it up, and I ended up copying a lot of layouts already on YouTube. I didn’t have a full idea of what would suit me.
But that’s fine. Your first bullet journal especially is going to be a lot of trial and error; don’t worry about it being perfect. Plus you might decide later that the spreads that you’ve done don’t fit well with your needs. I’m not saying don’t make your pages look pretty if that’s what you want. Just don’t invest hours and hours into them.
Most people start their bullet journals off with an Index page, or table of contents. This allows you to quickly turn to the collections that you are maintaining. Personally, I don’t use an index page. Instead I use washitape as colour-coded tabs. This is just my preference, maybe because my bullet journal is more minimalistic. However, if you choose to use loads of different collections, page numbers and an index might be more suited to you.
It’s important to think about WHAT you want your bullet journal to do for you.
I’d recommend brainstorming what different things you want to include and track in your bullet journal. It might also be a good idea to watch this video to have a look at the bare minimum that you should look at doing to prep your bullet journal. This is gist of what how the bullet journal system works so you can get an idea of what you should be aiming for at the core of the journal. That way you can plan collections around it to fit with the core content.
Collection Page Ideas
The only limit to what your bullet journal can do for you is your imagination. There are loads of different collections you can do, depending on what you want to turn your attention to.
I don’t use all of these collections, however I know a lot of people on the Internet swear by them. It’s entirely up to you what collections you decide to do, and how you do them, so don’t feel pressured to do them all!
I have a brain dump where I can just chuck a load of random thoughts at the page without having to worry about it making any sense. However, you could do an idea log like Tricia has suggested on her blog, Chocolate Musings. This is a fantastic way to filter out the really good ideas from your brain dump and put them somewhere safe from all the other crap your mind pooped out.
I wanted a collective place to store these great ideas so I could expand or explore it further when I had more time or could find a connection between other thoughts.
– Tricia, Chocolate Musings
Books to Read/Books Read Collection
If you like to read or want to read more, you might want to start a collection relating to that. I have a page to list books that I want to read, and then a page to list the books that I have read this year.
I now swear by an Achievement Log in my journal. Often I look back at my week and wonder what I’ve actually managed to do with my time, and it helps me to be able to refer back to an achievement log. It helps boost my mood loads when I can see that I have done so many different things.
Achievements don’t have to be huge to be worthy of going into the Achievement Log. It can be as simple as getting up in the morning, or having a shower if you’re having a rubbish day, or as challenging as taking part in a marathon. Something I’m still working on is remembering that even the smallest of victories can add up to a greater and better you.
This is quite a popular collection spread with bullet journalists, and for good reason. It can help you improve on areas you may be struggling and become a better all-rounded version of yourself. You’d be surprised how much pride and joy you can get out of colouring in the day’s “Wash Dishes” square!
Tricia at Chocolate Musings has a really helpful guide to setting up your own habit tracker. You can check it out here.
Level 10 Life Spread
Inspired by the book, The Miracle Morning, this spread allows you to assess how satisfied you are with ten areas of your life. This gives you a glimpse at your overall life satisfaction. It also allows you to figure out what goals you can set yourself to improve your life.
Kara at Boho Berry (arguably the Queen of the bullet journal) has a video on how to set it up. You can find it here.
If you’re still struggling with ideas for your bullet journal, here’s a flip-through of my own:
I hope this blog post helps you decide whether a bullet journal is right for you, and how to get started. For more incredible bullet journal spread ideas, subscribe to Chocolate Musings. She has an abundance of beautiful designs that might just inspire you. My favourite at the moment is her eclipse week spread. She is so talented; check it out:
Also share your own bullet journal ideas in the comments section or via my social media links.
And in the meantime, keep smiling!