My Bullet Journal – August 2017
Hi everyone! So I’ve been struggling with content lately and deciding what to post about but then I realized I have been getting tons of questions on Instagram about my bullet journal! I have been toying with the idea of doing a bullet journal post for you all but afraid to let you peek into my journal as it can be a bit personal and embarrassing but I’ve gotten so many inquiries about it I think it’s finally time 🙂
What is a bullet journal and who uses them???
-People who have a million little to-do lists floating around
– People who like pen and paper to-do lists
– People who are into goal-setting and habit tracking
– People who like stationery, journaling, scrapbooking, beautiful pens, etc.
– People who really love planners
– People who want to really love planners, or who want to be more organized
– People who would really like to keep a journal/diary but are having trouble sticking with the habit
Obviously none of these are required to start bullet journaling but if any of these sound like you, definitely keep reading!
So I’ve done a lot of trial and error with finding what notebooks works best for me and I’m gonna use this as an opportunity for a disclaimer: *everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you! This is meant to be an intro to help you get started.
Moleskine Softcover Dotted notebook in size Medium.
Retail Price: $29 at Barnes & Noble or $17 + S&H on Amazon
Why I like it:
Again, I went through a lot of trial and error before I landed on this notebook. I tried mini notebooks by Field Notes, I tried a lined Moleskine, I tried a regular lined journal from Barnes & Noble, and this one is still by far my favorite. I don’t like lined journals because my layouts are sometimes more “sketchy” and I often doodle in my journal so the dotted layout makes that way easier and are less obvious than lines. It makes my bullet journal feel more like a planner and a sketch book had a baby. Which I like. I also really like the size and the general feel of it too. The dotted softcovers also come in a large size, but for the spreads I prefer to do the medium suits me just fine and I don’t have a lot of open space left over. The size and softcover also make it very portable which is a necessity for me. I am always throwing it into my bag or backpack and taking it to work or coffee shops. If you are involved in the bullet journal community you have also probably seen a lot of people like the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook which is also dotted. However after reading reviews about it and doing a bit of research I’ve seen that while some people love it, a lot of people say it doesn’t lay flat and is less flexible than the Moleskine. So at the end of the day it just comes down to preference. I have not personally tried the Leuchtturm but I love my Moleskine so I don’t feel the need to change right now.
Conclusion: If you are someone who simply journals in a “diary” style where you write an entry of thoughts every day, a lined notebook is probably better for you. If you are someone who is a little more scattered and prefers daily spreads and journals in more of a “planner/sketchbook” style, a dotted notebook is probably more up your alley.
A notebook is only as good as the pen that writes in it. I am serious when I say that the quality of your pen will determine how much you journal and how much you keep up with it. If your pen sucks then you wont want to write with it. If your pen is good, then you will always want to pick it up and write with it. Simple as that. Now, that being said, I’ve thrown the word “quality” around all willy nilly without really explaining what I mean. I am here to say I do not discriminate against any pens! I don’t really believe theres such thing as a “bad” pen. It all comes down to preference: do you like more saturated ink? ball point? marker pen? Try a bunch out and see what ones you like! Some people who bullet journal have multiple pens. If you’re using a Moleskine you should note that the pages are somewhat thin so a marker style pen may bleed. Here are the pens I use:
From top to bottom:
Foray 0.7 Pen – $10.99 for a pack of a dozen at Office Max – probably the most classic “pen” in this bunch. Writes really smooth, retractible, and ink is not too opaque so its very forgiving if you make a mistake.
Pigma Micron 03 in size .35 – $13 for a pack of six at any art store (about $6 a piece if you buy them individually) – Now I’m an artist and I love these pens for sketching, I really like them for my BuJo too but the ink is very saturated so you have to have a steady and light hand when writing because they can bleed through the pages and are not forgiving at all if you write sloppily.
Sharpie Fine Point Pen – $6 on Amazon for a pack of four (you can find these at any store, even the grocery store – Okay I’m seriously in love with this pen. Isn’t it funny how sometimes the cheapest products end up being the best? I use this pen for almost ALL my layouts. It’s saturated without being too runny, but its bleed-proof. It’s the perfect size point for being detailed while still being opaque on the page. This is by far my favorite pen. I love it.
While this post might seem a tad long, you really don’t need many products to create a successful bullet journal. That’s why I’ve labeled this section “extras” because these thing are absolutely not required but I’ve found in my experience they really help!
This is a doubly awesome product because again, if you’re using the Moleskine Softcover it comes with a pocket in the back cover where, guess what – the protractor fits perfectly. I always like having a protractor or some kind of straight edge on hand to help keep my spreads uniform and always be able to have straight lines and boxes. It just helps break up the page more easily so you know exactly where to put everything. I think I got it for like two bucks at the grocery store…
These are funny little things. I found them at a craft store when I first started journaling and they really helped me spark some creativity whenever I was in a rut and didn’t know what to write about. They’re also great for sectioning off parts of your spreads that you like to have each day like for example a “mindfulness” section where you write what you’re grateful for that day. They say things like “One thing that made me laugh” “best thing I ate today” “I enjoyed chatting with” etc. etc. They’re great little tools if you practice mindfulness. I don’t remember what they cost but you can find them online or at any craft store!
My spreads vary every single day. No spread is exactly like the other. I am not a uniform person, I am scatter brained and messy. You will be able to tell which spreads were made on days that I was feeling rushed, creative, sad, bored etc. And remember these are just templates for you to use! Your spreads might look drastically different than mine and thats okay! Disclaimer: *I use my BuJo for planning, to-do lists, collections (music I like, books to read, christmas gift ideas etc) sketches, planner/daily spreads, and budgets for the month!
- My biggest advice to anyone starting to bullet journal would be, only use Pinterest as a source of inspiration, not a template. There are people on Instagram and Pinterest who have insanely detailed, perfect bullet journals. But they didn’t start out that way! Getting to that “level” (if you wanna call it that) requires years of practice and trial and error with products and layouts. Your journal will not be perfect at first and thats okay! Don’t focus on making it perfect and focus on why you want to start journaling. The aesthetic will follow organically.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I have so many pages in my bujo of sketches I hate and layouts that I scrapped halfway through. Remember, you’re journaling for YOU not anyone else.
- Really sit down and decide what you want your BuJo to be. Do you want it to be a planner? A sketchbook? A Diary? All of the above? Sit down and think about it and then plan accordingly. Once you have a defined idea of the direction you want to go, the journaling part just got that much easier.
- Last but not least, research research research! Pinterest has a lot of ideas and is a great tool as long as you have a clear idea of how you want your bullet journal to look and what you want it to be! Read blogs and read articles to see what other people like and then go out and buy some products!
Some helpful articles I like:
I hope that this post was informative and fun to read! As always, I’d love to know your thoughts so feel free to reach out to me through any of my social channels! Good luck and happy journaling!