I’m just going to start off this post by saying that I’d be completely lost without my bullet journal. It is honestly one of the best organizational concepts I’ve ever come across. I’m completely obsessed with mine and I use it to plan my entire life.
A bullet journal is like a mashup of a planner, to-do lists, a diary, drawings, charts, trackers, and really anything else you could put in a notebook. It keeps everything collected together in one place for easy access. Essentially, you can add anything into your journal that helps you stay organized and fits your needs.
Without further ado, here’s a list of my best tips and tricks for a beginner bullet journalist:
- It takes time to find what works for you. Not every single spread will be useful for your needs. I have found that I don’t really use a future log and my habit trackers are better on each week instead of the month. I have no use for dailies, but I prefer to look at all my days in a whole week. After a few months of trying different layouts, you’ll find the best ways to organize everything for you.
- Mistakes will happen. It’s inevitable when you’re writing with pens. Whether it’s spelling words wrong in the heading, mislabeling the dates, or smudging ink. They’ll happen and it’s not the end of the world. Your layouts can still be beautiful even if it seems like there’s a glaringly obvious mistake.
- Bullet journaling isn’t about the looks. Even though Instagram may convince you differently, most journalists aren’t in it to make their spreads beautiful. It’s all about the functionality and organization. As long as your journal is working for you, the pretty decorating can come later. And for many, including me, the decorating and pretty penmanship and doodles are actually therapeutic. It takes a lot of time to do and it’s actually relaxing. But if you just want to write a list and get on with your life, do what works for you!
- Your supplies don’t matter. Even though many people use fancy notebooks and pens and have a washi tape collection that could fill my entire closet, you don’t really need them. A regular old spiral bound notebook and any pen will work perfectly. As I already mentioned, it’s not about looks as much as functionality. As long as you have a contained place to keep all your stuff, you can call it a bullet journal!
- It’s okay if you don’t journal every day. Sometimes it’s just impossible to keep up with creating new spreads each week (or each day) and you might get behind sometimes or skip an entire week. And that’s totally fine. I’ve had weeks where I just write the bare minimum to-do lists for each day.
- Look to social media for inspiration, but make it your own. Its totally fine to get ideas from other people’s bullet journals. But when you start out you can easily get sucked in by all these bullet journal flip through videos. While you should draw inspiration from others, you shouldn’t strive to make your journal exactly the same as someone else’s. Give it your own flair, switch up the layouts, and make it work for you.
- Don’t get too hung up on the symbols. Technically having a shorthand key is the main idea behind bullet journaling, but again, you have to make it work for you. To be honest, I don’t keep my symbols consistent between spreads. I don’t mark important events with an exclamation point. I kind of just use boxes and asterisks to mark important things. If having a consistent key is your thing, then go for it!
For pictures of my own bullet journal, check out my instagram!
Do you have any other advice for new bullet journalists? Or if you are new to bullet journaling, what questions or concerns do you have?