13 Awesome Bullet Journal Tips to Help Make the Perfect Journal

Before I dive into these fabulous bullet journal tips, I need to address something about bullet journals that really hurts this community.

Because there are so many beautiful examples of bullet journals out there (not a bad thing), it can be pretty intimidating for new people to jump into the arena (not a good thing).

However, if you take a look at the original purpose of the bullet journal and example created by Ryder Carroll, you will see that there is nothing complicated about the bullet journal. In fact, the original idea of the bullet journal is to be minimal.

So minimal that anybody can get one started.

Then at some point, things started to take on a life of their own and bullet journals became as much art pieces as tools for productivity.

It’s important to remember that your bullet journal doesn’t need to be an art gallery. First and foremost your bullet journal should you help you in your life.

If you want to add a bit of flair after that then go for it.

Bullet Journal Tips that Will Make Journaling a Lot Easier

In the spirit of bullet journals, I’m going to share some tips on how to create an awesome bullet journal. But I’m not just going to use words.

I’m going to use great looking images because a bullet journal is as much of a visual medium as anything else.

1. Bullet Journal Basics

Bullet Journal Tips, Tricks and Basics

Tiny Ray of Sunshine comes through big time with this fabulous infographic that breaks down all of the common things that people put into a bullet journal.

Seriously, if this could be made into a poster it would be extremely valuable. When starting off with a bullet journal don’t be surprised if you find yourself going back to reference things over and over again.

2. Bullet Journal Basics Part II

Understanding bullet journal basics in an easy to use infographic.

Unfortunately, I had this image saved on my computer and have no idea where I got it from but because it’s so useful I wanted to share it.

Similar to the image above, if I could make this into a full-blown poster (I’m spotting a trend here) then I definitely would.

You might notice that neither of the infographics mention doing crazy cool illustrations in your bullet journal.

I just want you to keep in mind that you don’t have to create art pieces in order to create something that is effective for you.

3. But What Exactly Is a Bullet Journal?

What is a bullet journal?

This image from Buzzfeed pretty much sums things up.

A bullet journal is never just one thing although it can be just one thing if you want it to be. What makes bullet journals so special is how they bring together lots of different tools into a single, cohesive format.

It’s kind of like that best friend that is there when you need them for whatever reason.

Until you have to get another bullet journal.

4. The Wonderful World of Lists

Using lists with your bullet journal.

If you have a bullet journal you’re eventually going to use lists. Once you use one list you might end up creating 57 (rounded up) more lists because you want to keep track of all of the things!

And there is nothing wrong with that.

Because you have so much information being thrown your way daily it’s not reasonable to think you can keep track of everything in your head.

Make lists for those times you know you’ll need to go back and check on things.

5. Create Your Own Bullet Journal Key

Creating a unique key for your bullet journal.

While there is the default Bullet Journal suggested key you’re more than welcome to create any key that you want or expand upon the default one.

This image does a great job of showing you how you can tweak the key to work for you.

Again, this is the beauty of the bullet journal. It offers you a good framework for getting something done but the framework is flexible.

6. No Lack of Spread Inspiration

Spreads are where things can get a bit crazy in the bullet journal world because there are 1000s of different spreads you can do and that doesn’t even include the spreads that you come up with on your own.

A spread is usually defined as some type of format that you use for whatever that spreads across both the left and right pages of your bullet journal.

My best advice is to follow different bullet journalers on Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube to see what types of spreads they create to help you come up with ideas of your own.

And don’t hesitate to copy spreads. These aren’t treasures meant to be kept to yourself.

7. Sleep Trackers

Tracking your health with your bullet journal.

A sleep tracker is exactly that, it helps you track your sleep.

This is something I never thought of before until I came across bullet journals but it’s pretty fascinating to see your sleeping patterns to better understand what is happening with you and your daily moods.

In the image above you can see that they added a water tracker as well which is another great thing to track since it’s about your health.

When you’re wondering why you feel like shit, just look at your tracker to see if you notice any negative patterns that you can fix up.

8. The Different Parts of a Bullet Journal

Keeping track of different things in your bullet journal.

Again, a bullet journal is never just one thing. It’s really like its own world where you get to create new lands. You aren’t restricted to just creating specific sections of a bullet journal.

Stick to the basics, copy others, or use your imagination and create new and fascinating things.

It’s completely up to you.

9. Bullet Journals Should Be Functional

A simple bullet journal layout.

This is really the most important point.

If all you want to do is sketch then buy a sketchbook. A bullet journal is meant to offer some type of organization and structure to your life to make it easier.

If your bullet journal stops being functional then it is no longer a bullet journal. It has no become something you don’t want to bother with.

If you find yourself in this situation then just go back to the very basics. Skip the illustrations. Skip the hand lettering.

Just use a bullet journal as something simple and then you can slowly branch out again.

10. Keep Track of Your Savings Goals

How to keep track of your savings goals with a bullet journal.

I’m pretty bad with money and that’s why I created a blog on personal finance to try and help me make sense of it all. A bullet journal has been a great way for me to visualize the savings that I have as I try to reach different goals.

Sure there are apps that do the exact same thing but there is something to be said about being able to color in different parts of your goal. It makes you feel like you’re part of the process.

It makes it real if that makes any sense.

It does to me.

11. Your Bullet Journal Weekly Layout Should Fit Your Needs

Weekly spread bullet journal inspiration.

This point has already been made ad nauseum in this post but you really need to customize your bullet journal to your needs over time. At the beginning, just follow the basics and as you keep track of your life you’ll begin to see what things you need to improve upon and then you can figure out how to use your bullet journal to help.

A lot of weekly layouts you see are just cool and different ways to track the week but maybe you need weekdays on one page and the weekends on another.

Your bullet journal really is one giant experiment and you can’t be afraid to try different things to understand what works best for you.

12. Symbol Inspiration Is Where It’s At

Using date symbols for your bullet journal.

Beautiful symbols in your bullet journal can help you remember things, easily spot things, or just be used as awesome creative outlets.

Are they necessary? Nope.

Do they help? In the right context, yes.

13. Header Banners Gives Your Creativity a Chance to Shine

Banner header examples for your bullet journal.

Header banners are similar to symbols. They aren’t necessary but they can be helpful in quickly recognizing different sections of your bullet journal.

The Perfect Bujo Is the One That Works

With so many inspirational bullet journalers out there it’s easy to think that the perfect bullet journal has pieces of art that can hang in a museum but that isn’t the case.

The perfect bullet journal is that one that suits your needs.

If it helps you accomplish what you want and keep track of what is needed then you’ve already happened upon the perfect bullet journal. Nothing more is needed.

11 Wonderful & Free Hand Lettering Tutorials to Help You Master Lettering

It’s hard to come across a beautiful bullet journal page without seeing some type of fancy hand lettering. Have you ever wondered what magic is being used to create these beautiful letters?

I wondered the same thing but thanks to the power of the Internet I wasn’t left wondering for very long.

In fact, I came to understand hand lettering and calligraphy within a matter of minutes.

This doesn’t mean that I mastered each. I’m far from a master and probably still need 100 years of practice but I can tell you that I’m better today than I was yesterday.

Hand Lettering Tutorials to Help You Become a Pro

Now, I must say that you can watch these videos all day long but if you don’t practice then you won’t get better. I hate practicing.

I’m at the stage in my life that I feel like if I can’t master something right away then it’s not for me. That’s not a good mentality to have so what I do now is try to set aside a specific time of day each day to practice.

If you want to get better at anything this is what you need to do. You can’t practice when you have the urge or randomly. You have to force yourself to do it which is tough considering life is always like “hell nah, you ain’t doing that now!”

Bump you life, I’m practicing my calligraphy. Sit your ass down and shut up.

Anyways, let’s dive into these tutorials.

How To: Calligraphy & Hand Lettering for Beginners! Tutorial + Tips!

@AmandaRachLee is solid.

No really. If you had to follow just one person she is a solid person to put all of your attention behind and this tutorial on calligraphy is no different.

Don’t get frustrated that you can’t do exactly what she does on the first day. She wasn’t at that skill level on her first day either.

Take the time to practice.

It’s good for you.

The Beginner’s Guide to Brush Lettering: Basic Strokes

You can’t do the advanced stuff until you’ve mastered the basics. This is a great tutorial that goes over brush lettering which is really popular in the Bullet Journal world.

It’s a bit harder to do for left-handers but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a shot.

Beginner Brush Lettering Mistakes | Calligraphy Tips

You might be wondering why I’m including multiple brush lettering tutorials in this post and the reason why is it’s important to get different perspectives on things.

Sure you can rely on just one teacher but I find that things really begin to click when I’m able to put everything together from different angles.

So this won’t be the final brush lettering tutorial on this list.

Enjoy them all.


I’m all about quality lists. They help to point out some obvious things while also putting a spotlight on the not so obvious.

Once you hand lettering game has upped a level or two then you can scope out this video and take it even further.

It’s awesome to see tips from other experts because it gives you insight into how they think about things. One of the best ways to learn is by standing over the shoulders of the great ones but you usually can’t do that because it’s creepy.

Instead, you just have to hope they make a YouTube video sharing their tips and tricks for things.

Intro to Hand Lettering with Crayola Markers

It’s very easy to think that whenever you start a new hobby that you need the best of the best when it comes to tools and equipment and that isn’t true at all.

In fact, I would say whenever you are starting off with anything you should go budget-friendly so you get a feel for things. That’s why I love this tutorial so much.

Crayola markers can be had on the cheap and if you can do pretty hand lettering with them, then you should be able to do pretty hand lettering with anything!

How to add BOUNCE to your hand lettering layouts

I’m not going to lie, I was going to add this video before I even watched it just because she put “bounce” in the title.

Can you imagine if everything in life had a little more “bounce” to it? That would be awesome!

Adding some bounce to your lettering is no exception either.

Forget putting some pep in your step, put some bounce in that ounce.

Yes, I just made that up.

40+ Hand Lettering Ideas

Hand-lettering isn’t just about calligraphy. It’s about coming up with whatever fonts that you want and this video does a great job of presenting over 40 different styles that you can mimic.

And if you don’t think that bullet journaling is about copying then you are sorely mistaken.

You’ve heard that crazy phrase “great artists steal” and there is a good reason for that. You steal and then you add your flair to it. You don’t see in your room trying to figure out a brand new font.

You’ll go insane.

Don’t do that.

10 Hand Lettering Enhancements Anyone Can Do

Once you know a bit about hand lettering you might want to add a bit more flair to things. That’s cool but don’t sweat these things until you’ve got the basics nailed down.

Everybody wants to go from A to M but you gotta go through B first.

Now make some fancy letters detailing your journey!

Simple Hand Lettering: Step by Step

Sometimes you just need a step-by-step build to walk you through things and this tutorial does a great job of that.

Hand Lettering 101: Perfecting Tricky Letters

I love this video because it doesn’t focus on all of the letters. Just the ones that can cause people problems. It’s one I often find myself referencing as I try to get this lettering thing down.

Hand Lettering Tutorial for Beginners

Finally, we round off this post with a full-fledged tutorial for beginners. Why not start with this one?

Let’s just say I like to mix things up and play with fire a bit. Sometimes you need to live your life on the edge.

The Internet Is Great for Learning

These aren’t the end all be all video tutorials for learning hand lettering. They are just some good ones that I’ve come across. There are dozens more out there so feel free to search YouTube for others.

We are living in a great time where many creative people are willing to share their knowledge with us so that we can better our own skills.

Now that you are mastering hand lettering, why not apply it to your bullet journal with these bullet journal tips.