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A few months ago, I started a crazy new hobby called, Bullet Journaling.
Have you heard of it? It's basically a planner, to-do list, journal, and note taker…ALL IN ONE. And I'm completely hooked!
All you need is a blank notebook and a pen to get started. Then you can track whatever you want to track—from meal planning to your day-to-day tasks—making it as complicated or as simple as you like.
Here's a few reasons WHY I tried it:
1. I could never find a planner that truly fit my needs. The layouts just didn't work with my brain. Plus, some of them are so darn expensive! $70 for a planner? Really?
2. I also had multiple notes, ideas, and hundreds of other items I wanted to track. With one notebook to rule them all, I eliminated five different notebooks that were only partially filled. #notebookobsession
Let's be honest though—while bullet journals can be downright gorgeous, you are literally customizing a planner from scratch. I thought this hobby had the potential to be more of a time-waster than a time-saver.
I was oh-so-wrong.
In fact, I'm way more organized and productive than I've ever been before. The journal works exactly as I need it to, which means I don't have to waste time filling out printables and planner boxes that don't work.
Another perk? My creative gene is filled up with this unique way of expressing myself, and I love “playing” with new layouts, doodles, and hand lettering!
So without further ado, here's a peek at what my bullet journal looks like today.
There's a LOT of information on the internet about bullet journaling, but Brainbook: Bullet Journaling Your Way to a More Organized Life breaks down what you need to know in a way that's easy to understand and relevant to your life…all in one convenient place. With this comprehensive bullet journaling roadmap by your side, you’ll know exactly how to set up your journal for success from start to finish!
How I Bullet Journal
The Index is the organizing glue that holds the entire bullet journal together. I number all my pages so I can label and record them in my Index. Then when I need to find a certain page and I'm 50+ pages in, all I have to do is refer to the Index to find it!
2. Project Pages
I have a project planner page with a list of all the current projects I'm working on. Then I have pages where each of those projects is broken down into details, with tasks and notes. I'm getting more stuff done because I'm not overwhelmed with the entire project. I can just pick one task!
3. Monthly Calendar and Goals
Each month I have a list of goals and tasks I want to accomplish for both my personal life and for work. It's essential to refer back to these during my week so I know exactly what needs to get done.
4. Weekly Planning
This is probably my favorite spread of all. On the left, I list out all appointments and events, which workout I did for the day, and then in between, all the daily habits I'm currently working on. On the right, I have a menu for the week, my to-do's, and a quick look at what's coming up next week.
5. Daily Pages
I list out all appointments and tasks for the day. Because you don't set up the next day until you're done with the current one, you have as much room as you need to take notes, jot down reminders, etc. This eliminates the need for extra post-it notes and papers.
6. Lists and Collections
I also have pages dedicated to things I'm currently tracking. Examples would be, online orders that I'm waiting on, graphic design projects I've outsourced, and even a special page for Birthdays and other celebratory events.
I've really only scratched the surface of my bullet journal, so if you want a more in-depth peek, be sure to watch my flip-through video below!
How to Start a Bullet Journal:
Maybe you love the thought of bullet journaling, but feel a little overwhelmed at where to start. You are not alone!
The first few weeks in my bullet journal felt a little clumsy, and I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing. Two months in, I started getting the hang of it and throughly enjoyed planning my days. Four months later, I finished my first bullet journal and purchased my second…knowing that I wanted to do a few things differently this time around.
Here's my best tips to help you dive in with confidence.
- Purchase a cheap notebook. My first bullet journal was an EcoQua Spiralbound Grid Notebook for less than $7. If you fall in love with bullet journaling, you can be a little more choosey for your second journal. Currently, I use the Essentials Grid-Lined Notebook. It's still very affordable, and the paper is great quality.
- Understand this is your learning notebook. As much as you don't want to make “mistakes”, you need to try different layouts before finding what works best for you. Find YOUR format without worrying about how it looks just yet. You can always pretty it up later!
- Make a list of layouts you want to incorporate. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the creative monthly setups, weekly spreads, daily pages, and collection pages you find on Instagram. Look for inspiration, but also make a list of pages you want to try before diving in. Here are 101 ideas to get you started!
- Sketch your layouts in pencil. If I'm doing a more complicated layout, I always sketch in pencil first. That way, I know I have enough boxes for what I need and it's not so permanent. Later, I'll go back over my sketch with Faber-Castell Pitt Pens. Psst…this is the eraser I use to get rid of pencil lines. I love that it doesn't smear.
- Place tabs or flags on your most referenced pages. I love the Index for keeping everything organized, but there are some pages I reference every day, multiple times a day! I use sticky tab dividers so I can get to them fast.
There's a LOT of information on the internet about bullet journaling, but if you're looking for one comprehensive step-by-step guide that shows you how to make bullet journaling work for your style and schedule without taking a lot of effort, you're going to love Brainbook: Bullet Journaling Your Way to a More Organized Life.
This guide is a total of 116 jam-packed pages, including setup checklists, beginner tutorials, and advanced tips and tricks. I don't just show you how to set up your journal, I should you how to set your journal up for success, and maintain it going forward in a way that's easy to understand and relevant to your life.
Of course, I can't sign off without a quick mention of all the Instagram accounts that inspired me to jump into this fun trend. Be prepared to spend the next hour admiring their bullet journals—these girls are so creative!
I'm absolutely thrilled to find a planner that finally works for me! I can't wait to help you get started with your own bullet journal too. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about what I've covered here, and I'll try to answer them as best I can!
Oh, and if you already have a bullet journal, please share your Instagram account so I can see your pretty pages!
Excited to start your own bullet journal?
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.