Starting a bullet journal may not be a new idea; however, I was just introduced to the concept in December 2016. As soon as I read a little bit about the subject, I was hooked. I knew it was for me! This would be an awesome tool for streamlining my life, giving me back some time, and keeping me on track, as well as a way to quickly write down all of my fabulous ideas without having to try to remember them later on (that’s called a “brain dump” in BuJo language).
Let’s Get Started
Today we are going to focus on how to start and maintain your own journal. All you need to start is some kind of notepad and a pen. It does really help to choose a size that will fit in your purse or other bag that you carry with you most of the time. I started mine in December using the back of a partially used 9.5″ x 6″ spiral notepad and a ballpoint pen. I experimented with monthly, weekly, and daily layouts until I came up with something that worked for me. For 2017 I bought a much nicer Moleskin A5 notebook to start the year fresh (more on that later).
Do What Works For You
The thing to remember about your journal is that it is uniquely yours and needs to work for you alone, so while you can (and should) try different layouts, stick with what works for you. A lot of people have a lot of fabulous ideas, but you shouldn’t keep something in your layout just because it works for someone else. There is no right or wrong here.
People are completely different when it comes to “decorating” their journals. Some are extremely ornate with lots of artwork and some are minimalist with nothing but black ink. I fall somewhere in between, but lean toward the minimalist side of things since I’m not a very artsy person and I don’t want to spend that much time on my layouts (remember, I’m trying to streamline my life here). If you’re very artistic and want your journal to reflect that, I take my hat off to you; go for it and express yourself! There are lots of very artistic journaling ideas you can pick up on Pinterest.
Notebooks are a very individual choice. Some people like thick paper, while others prefer thinner stock. You can choose lined, graph, or dotted grid paper and spiral, loose-leaf, or bound notebooks. I prefer a bound, dotted notebook so I purchased a Moleskin for my first “real” bullet journal. The A5 paper size is 5.83 inches x 8.27 inches. If you want a “full-size” notebook you can opt for the A4, which paper size is 8.27 X 11.69. For my next notebook I want to try the official Bullet Journal because it already has a key page and index pages preprinted. I’m thinking it will be a real timesaver when setting up a new notebook.
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For drawing lines and writing in my bullet journal I chose Micron Black 01, 03, and 05 pens (because I already had them and I LOVE them); a transparent ruler (for making straight lines); and some colored pencils (already had these, too). Some people like to use fountain pens, calligraphy, washi tape, stickers, highlighters, and other items to add color and artwork to their layouts. The choice is yours.
Ok, here are the ingredients for a well-designed journal. I don’t use all of these, but I’m listing them so you can see the diversity of ways you can set yours up.
- Symbol Key
- Future Log
- Monthly Spreads
- “Collections,” which can include any number of things, such as: Weekly Spreads, Trackers, Gratitude Log, Inspiration, Personal journal, and so on.
- Brain Dump
Here are some samples of my first attempts in my Moleskin. I will update with new photos when I start a new notebook.
So you can see I’m not completely devoid of color in my bullet journal! I add tiny splashes here and there to keep it interesting.
I use “Special Days” as my Future Log, but you can do it this way if it works better for you:
Next time we’ll go into more details on some of the layouts. I would love it if you would share your own ideas by commenting below.