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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.