If you’re new to bullet journaling or if you’re looking to make yours into a bullet journal you’re crazy about, we have you covered. Create a bullet journal that makes you excited about planning. There’s nothing better than creating an organized system that actually makes you want to be productive, right?
The bullet journal is an all-in-one planner system that you create completely on your own with a blank notebook. You can keep your notes, to-do lists, grocery list, budget, and more in there. Plus, you can make it totally all your own. There’s plenty of inspiration on the web, but we’re going to tell you how you can up-level your bullet journal and make it one that you’re obsessed with.
This post is sponsored by Cratejoy. All opinions are our own.
If you’re brand new to bullet journaling, here are the core steps to starting your bullet journal:
Step 1: Buying the journal
The two most common bullet journal notebook choices are the Moleskine notebooks or the Leuchtturm. I personally have used only the Moleskine option between the two. Any notebook will work, but both those journals are very high quality options. When you’re writing in something every day, it makes sense to splurge a little.
Decide between lined, graph and doted notebooks, or one without lines at all. To make that decision, I would ask myself “how much structure do I want?” If you plan to doodle a lot, go for the plain paper. If you plan to create lots of charts and stuff, go for dotted. If you’re feeling more structured, choose lined or graph.
Step 2: Keeping room in the front for a few index pages
You’ll want to keep three or four pages to index. One of the main aspects of bullet journaling is keeping an index so you can keep track of what is on each page. It makes it much easier to flip through and find everything.
Step 3: Creating a key [optional]
If you plan on creating weekly spreads (with to-do lists each day), you might want to create a key to keep track of any color coding or markings (to indicate when you’ve completed a task, when you moved the task to tomorrow, etc.)
I personally mostly use my bullet journal system for all the other notes, activities, and planning. I use a planner for my daily to-do lists. So, I skip this one, but it’s pretty standard for a beginner’s bullet journal.
Step 4: Figuring out how you want to lay it out
Do you want to have daily to-do list pages? Figure out how much space you’ll need for those when you create new pages. Some of this will be trial and error when laying out your bullet journal for the first time.
Step 5: Dressing it up
After you have a layout and some idea of what you’d like to include, here’s where the fun begins. Use stickers, markers to mark your pages, and stationery to add some life into your pages.
I love buying stationery. It’s always the first section I go to in Target. But getting surprise stationery supplies in the mail? That’s next level enjoyment for someone who loves planning.
Guidelines for making the most of your bullet journal:
Making it practical
There’s no use in making sections in your bullet journal that you aren’t going to use. One of my favorite bullet journal bloggers is Kara at Boho Berry. She talks about eliminating sections in her bullet journal that just don’t serve her.
Sometimes we like to try out fun things we see other people doing, but if it doesn’t end up enhancing your productivity, skip it.
On that same note, ask yourself a few questions about what will be most practical for you with this system. For example: Does it make sense to bring your journal with you everywhere? Is this going to be a morning routine thing for you and that’s it? Figure out how much time you actually want to commit to using it.
Planning out monthly themes
Each month the Creative Mercantile box has a new theme, which makes it super easy to set a monthly theme for your bullet journal. In each box is an assortment of stationery products that fit that theme. The theme of the box I received was thankfulness and I received the cutest themed washi tape, page markers, pencil bag, stickers, and so much more.
Here’s how I designed my daily gratitude pages with them:
Upcoming themes from the Creative Mercantile box:
March 2017: Celebration (one year anniversary edition)
April 2017: Succulents
May 2017: Sweet life
I can’t wait for April’s succulent theme. I feel very heart-eye emoji just thinking about what will be in that one.
Using Pinterest for inspiration
We all know about the wonderful world of Pinterest inspiration, but how can you make the best use of Pinterest for bullet journal usage?
What does your lifestyle look like? Are you a college student? If so, what are you studying? Law? Look up how law students use their planner system. You’d be surprised how specific you can get with bullet journaling inspiration. If you’re a mom, look at the ways moms are planning. Start searching more specific for inspiration to fit your life.
See also: 25+ ideas for your bullet journal
Getting involved in a challenge
There is a #PlanWithMeChallenge Facebook group hosted by Tiny Ray of Sunshine, Boho Berry, and Pretty Prints of Paper. They post monthly challenges with prompts for each day, so you can follow along and post them together.
The way to make a hobby even better is by making friends who enjoy the same things as you. Get together with that group or one like it – maybe even meet up with friends in person. They might end up making your passion greater and help you think of new, fun ideas.
Happy planning, friends!