I’ve tried more planners than I can count. I adore each of them for a while but just can’t find one that does everything I need. I’m tired of losing my lists, goal statements and meal plans. Maybe you feel the same — or maybe you’re just dying to exercise your artistic side a little more.
No matter why you’ve decided to give bullet journaling a try this year, we curated some tips and tricks to help you get started — and to stick with it. You don’t need a bunch of fancy materials to get started with your bullet journal — and you don’t need to be a budding artist. Sure, you can layer up colored pens and pencils, stickers and washi tape if that’s your thing, but you can also choose an empty notebook leftover from your latest school-supply run and make that your journal.
Start with a blank journal
New notebooks make me swoon, so I purchased one just for my bullet journal adventure. After checking out several online resources, I chose a Leuchtturn1917 Notebook with a dotted layout. I felt it offered the most options for different page and layout options. Something to keep in mind with the dotted layout: you might need a ruler nearby when you’re doing layouts. If you don’t want to worry about that, a Moleskine Grid Notebook or even one with regular lines, like this adorable Kate Spade Initial Notebook, might be a better option. If you have a super steady hand? A blank MUJI Sketchbook could work, too.
Choose your layouts
Layouts can take you down the rabbit hole of bullet journaling, never to return. Remember, creating a journal that works for you means embracing what you need and shedding the rest. When I began researching bullet journals, layout options overwhelmed me. I looked through Pinterest, made lists and fretted about it all. In the end, I chose the things I felt I needed — a year at a glance, monthly layout, weekly layouts, a section for goals, a reading layout, and a few other pages. I figured I could add things later if I found I needed them, rather than trying to cram everything in the world into my journal, just because something caught my eye in someone else’s.
- @kristenlongg on Twitter
- craftyenginerd on Instagram
- into simple on Instagram
- Pretty Prints and Paper
- ordinary epiphany on Instagram
- Boho Berry on Instagram
Pick your pens
Like the rest of bullet journaling, you can use pens you have in your drawer at home or choose a rainbow of colors to color-code and decorate every spare inch of your journal. Colored pens make me happy, and I chose this Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pen Set. I found the colors don’t bleed through the pages in my journal — and the triangular case keeps everything I need together. However, they do create a “shadow” on the next page. If that bothers you, you might want to use pens with regular ink, like these classic Bic Ballpoints in fun colors. If you prefer colored pencils, try this InnoArt Colored Pencil Set with all the colors of the rainbow.
Number one rule of bullet journaling
Your bullet journal only needs to work for you! Don’t let the options and possibilities overwhelm you, or you’ll stuff the journal in the back of a junk drawer before the beginning of spring. Remember, you can change layouts, change pens, and cross out things you don’t need. You’ll make mistakes, and that’s OK. No two bullet journals look or function in exactly the same way, which is why they appeal to so many people. So, grab your supplies and get started. You’ll love having all of your information at your fingertips.
Fantastic bullet journal resources
- Bullet Journal: An analog system for a digital age
- Bullet Journal Series from Boho Berry
- Tiny Ray of Sunshine
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