Planning + Productivity

11 Brilliant Hacks That Will Take Your Bullet Journal to the Next Level

Overwhelmed trying to make your bullet journal work for you? Organize your bullet journal more efficiently with these genius bullet journal hacks!
 This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.
Okay, so here's the deal: I totally love my bullet journal but some weeks I fall off the wagon because I lose my pen or can't remember what page a note is on, etc. Basically, I was an overwhelmed bullet journalist in need of bullet journal hacks that actually work to make the system work for me! These are exactly what I needed! #bujo #bulletjournaling #bulletjournalinghacks #bulletjournalingtips

I waited 5 long weeks for it to come in from Turkey, and when it did arrive, I couldn’t wait to dig in!

What am I talking about?

My newest bullet journal hack: using a Traveler’s Notebook, which is essentially a way to combine multiple notebooks into one. Now I can house several bullet journal notebooks (one for collections, one for daily/weekly planning, one for our upcoming RV trip!) into ONE easy-to-carry life management system.

Over the years I’ve been bullet journaling, I’ve come across many tips and tricks to help you get more out of your bullet journal. Most originate because of a roadblock in the bullet journaling system that compelled someone to come up with a creative solution!

If you’ve ever wondered how to keep track of ever-disappearing pens, cover up those inevitable mistakes, flip to a page you access often within a matter of seconds, and more, you’ll discover a trick (or two, or three!) below to make bullet journaling even easier!

11 Bullet Journal Hacks You’ll Want to Try Immediately

1. Use a Traveler’s Notebook

This versatile, all-in-one notebook uses loops of string to “connect” different notebooks in one binding, so you can combine multiple bullet journals into one. The idea is you can keep one notebook as a planner, one strictly for more evergreen collections, one for note-taking, etc. You can even use different types of notebooks (dot-grid, squared, lined).

Options are endless!

2. Create a Dutch Door

It’s super simple to create a Dutch door: All you have to do is slide one page in your bullet journal beneath a paper trimmer. My friend, Rachelle, cheats and just folds one page of her notebook to create a sort of hidden flip-out page (more on a variation of that hack next!). The result is a two and a half page spread that allows you to see everything at a glance.

3. Add a Flip Out Page

For information you want to reference alongside your everyday bullet journal pages—like a weekly schedule (shown below!) or a color-coded organization key—you can create a flip-out page in the front or back of your notebook. Secure the back edge of the page with washi tape and voila! You have a paper that “flips out” for easy reference whenever you need it.

To Read: How to Take Charge of Your Day with Time Blocking

4. Embellish with a bookmark

Another way to quickly access specific pages is to add a simple bookmark so that page stands out. Most notebooks come with 1-3 ribbon bookmarks, but sometimes you just need more! Add a paperclip, sticky tab, strip of washi tape for a festive touch and easy access. Or use my personal favorite: the corner bookmark created by my friend, Lauren.

5. Be Bold

This hack helps text stand out from your normal, everyday writing and is especially useful in your bullet journal Index. Bolding certain words by increasing the thickness of the letters draws your eye to that text first. Use a darker marker or just press harder with your favorite pen to highlight your monthly pages, note pages, or any other page you reference often!

6. Vary your Index

Make your Index easier than ever to scan by separating your calendars and collections. Plus, splitting your Index in half maximizes space so you don’t need to dedicate as many pages to it. Double win!

7. Loop Your Pen—and never lose it again!

No pen loop? No problem! Simply pull the elastic strap of your notebook over the bottom two corners like this and instantly create a home for your favorite writing utensil. Psst…if you’re worried about the elastic stretching out like I was, I can attest that the ones on the Leuchtturm notebooks keep their shape.

8. Enjoy the wonders of Sticker Paper

If you find yourself recreating the same layout or design over and over again, invest in a pack of sticker paper, design the layout in Mac Pages or Microsoft Word and print! Or better yet, join the Brainbook Printable Library fam and I’ve done all that work for you!

I do this with my Cleaning Schedule so I don’t have to draw all the lines again every month. You can print out this same schedule for your bullet journal HERE.

Related: My List of the Best Bullet Journal Supplies

9. Learn how to Thread

With threading, you never have to worry about losing notes throughout the pages of your bullet journal. You simply “thread” pages together by jotting down the page number where more information is found.

For example, when planning my sister’s bridal shower, I had the guest list on page 95 and a few pages later (page 102), I sketched out the menu, decorations, and to-do list.  I then “threaded” those page numbers together at the bottom of the page in order to connect them.

10. Indulge in Washi Tape

You can use washi tape for the flip out pages and bookmarks I mentioned earlier, but you can also use it to cover up your mistakes. See those two washi tape strips on my TV Series Tracker? Those pretty patterns are hiding a pretty embarrassing TV doodle that didn’t turn out at all like I imagined. But you would never know it!

11. Tackle the Calendex

The Calendex is a more intimidating hack, but so useful once you learn how to do it! List out the next 12 months of the year on a designated page, and then as you make detailed plans throughout your journal, simply flip back to that page and jot down the page number where more information is found about events going on each month.

I especially love this for birthdays so I can see there is a birthday coming up and flip right to my Birthday and Special Days page to see whose birthday it is without using up precious space on my calendar page.

For more on how to use a Calendex, check out this comprehensive post.

So let me ask you a question:

What keeps you from using your bullet journal to the fullest?

If you’re like most people, time ranks number one on the list!

The excuse I hear most often from people who don’t want to even try the bullet journal system is that it would take too much time to set up and use. They imagine the elaborate drawing, doodling, and designing of their own bullet journal weekly and daily spreads and want to give up before they even start.

But by now I hope you’ve noticed from my other bullet journal posts (and even my book about the system) that your journal doesn’t need to be an elaborate art project for it to function well for you. In fact, you have my permission to focus on more minimalistic layouts if you’re paralyzed at the mere thought of putting pen to page.

Just remember, have fun.

The bullet journal is remarkably adaptable to what you need and, with these handy bullet journal hacks, you’ll not only save time, you’ll increase the functionality of your bullet journal.

Your ultra-productive self awaits!

Let’s chat about bullet journal hacks:

What hacks do you use to make your bullet journal work better for you? 

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.

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9 Comments

  1. Found this post to be pertinent and informative. THANKS! Like idea of freeling free to make a fresh start at start of school year partly for purposes of planning for and getting ready for the upcoming fall and holiday season. R

    1. Hi Karen,

      You’re welcome! Usually we think of January as a good “Reset” point, but I don’t know about you but I usually feel pretty frazzled after the December. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I don’t know if this qualifies as a hack, but if, for any number of reasons, you miss a week or even a full month (I might be speaking from personal experience), don’t beat yourself up or ditch your bullet journal and wait until January to start a new one. Just TURN THE PAGE and pick up where you left off. Your bullet journal is yours, and no one is going to know you missed some weeks. I’m kind of a perfectionist, and I fought this battle in the middle of last month. I really missed out on the benefits of using my bullet journal, and made myself just start up again without agonizing over the lack of May and half of June. I also moved across the state, and will be starting a new and different job, so my bullet journal layouts have been changing and will continue to do so. I’m seeing it as a creative challenge instead of freaking out because July looks so different from March!

    1. 100% right!

      It’s funny, in my brainbook week 3 in July looks different from week 1 in July because I’m always tweaking and trying new things. Right now I’m working on time blocking so my daily pages look a lot different than they used to.

      Miss a day? Turn over a new page! Miss a week or a month? Turn over a new page. And unlike a traditional planner, you don’t have all these “wasted” pages in between!

  3. Your Bullet Journal(-ling?) ideas are fantastic and very useful! I tried making a bullet journal, but couldn’t keep up in making it every month, but use them so much when they’re ready, so instead I opted for creating a digital bullet journal that would take less time to make, and I could make it in one go for the entire year. Of course, the best part about making these bullet journals is actually making the art – it’s so fun! – but, I do recommend for anyone who would prefer digital designs or feel limited on time to maybe create a digital version then print it. I’m so excited to start filling up this journal with more exciting stuff when the school year starts ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I’ve watched some videos on digital bullet journaling! It looks like a really good option and I’ve actually even considered it. However, I’ve discovered that since I spend almost my entire day looking at a screen the physical journal just works better for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Love the travelers notebook as I use multiples as well, can’t figure out the sizes. Can you share the measurements that work with A5 or source for yours?
    Thank you

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