The ultimate guide to bullet journaling

If you’ve been seeing this type of calendar/notebook/journal all over the internet lately and have wondered what this ‘bullet journaling’ is about, this is the post for you.

The thing is, the bullet journal isn’t a specific calendar or notebook. It is a concept of planning. If you want to know something about the original thoughts goes to the bullet journal website.

The best thing about the bullet journal concept – and the thing that made me drop regular planners – is that you have exactly what you need. And nothing else. You decide what you want in your bullet journal and you decide how it looks and how much time you want to spend on it. There are no unnecessary pages and you can have it the way you want.

I won’t tell you what to do to get a “right” bullet journal because there is no such thing. I will show you some of the things I do and have done earlier to give you some inspiration.

I started bullet journaling in July 2015. So I’ve been bullet journaling for a year now. Let me just tell you that it has been my most organised year ever. I know so much about my habits and productivity know that I wouldn’t have noticed without my bullet journal.

I bought a black, ruled notebook with an elastic for 50kr. ($7,47), 8 coils of washi tape, a bunch of stickers (I still haven’t used all of them) and some sticky notes. I remember spending about 45$ on my bullet journal and accessories to it last summer.

When I started bullet journaling I made lists like a reading list and wish list but I never really used them. So if you create a lot of pages you end up never using just drop them. Experience will tell you what works for you and what doesn’t. My tip is to try a lot of different pages in the beginning.

Later, decorations became ‘my thing’. I printed out cute pictures and quotes from WeHeartIt and put them in my journal. I also bought more stickers to theme my pages. I used washi tape on almost every page in my bullet journal which ended up making it so thick I almost couldn’t close it.

So when I changed journal in March this year I knew what I wanted my new bullet journal to be like. Not too much washi tape, a lot of similar looking pages, fewer stickers, simplified, more practical.

When I was in London in February I went to the Moleskine store and bought a dotted journal in this greenish-blue, that now is one of my favourite colours, and I actually got my name printed on the front page with silver. The journal itself with the print cost 30$. And to be honest it is one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

So now my bullet journal isn’t as decorated as my old journal. Maybe it will get more decorated later when I have the energy to sit every night and decorate it. Or maybe it will be even more simplified. That’s the great thing about bullet journals – you can change it depending on your energy, time and needs.

I don’t have a ‘key’ page in my new bullet journal. Simply because I only use tasks and appointment/events. But here is a picture of the keys I use now. Sometimes I fill in the squares when a task is completed and sometimes I just make a check mark.

Many people like to have an index page where they write the page number to the pages so they know where the different pages are. I had an index page in my old bullet journal but I never used it.

Monthly overview
The monthly overview is where you can write birthdays, appointments, work days and so on. I use my monthly overview as my only calendar.
Here is a picture of how my monthly overview used to look in my old bullet journal:

And here is a picture of how my monthly overview looks now:

Daily to-dos
Daily to-dos include all appointments/events that day and all tasks and homework you have to get done that day. I usually write my daily to-do the night before and when I get home from school and know exactly what homework I have to do.
Here is a picture of how my daily to-do’s used to look in my old bullet journal:

And here is what they look like now:

Weekly to-dos
Over the last month, I haven’t used daily to-do’s because I haven’t been going to school every day (we get a “study break” before the exams where we don’t go to school) so I’ve just had a list of things I had to get done that week. I will continue using weekly to-do’s until the school year starts again.
Here is a picture of a weekly to-do page:

Sticky notes
For a long period, I used sticky notes to consider how much time I should expect to spend on homework in the different subject and them how much time I actually spent on it. This way I learned how much time I should set aside each day to do homework.
I also use sticky notes as flags for my monthly overviews.

Fitness log
I like to have a fitness log in my bullet journal. This way I know what to work on which day. Sugar is also included in my fitness log.

Every day I write down what I’m grateful for. This is a great way to remind yourself of what you have instead of what you want.

I write 3 positive things about my day in my positivity spread. This helps me to stay positive and find the ‘lights’ in a dark time.

Homework and assignments
Helps me keep track of what homework I have for which days.

If you like quotes you might want to include them in your bullet journal. I personally love quotes so sometimes I have entire pages filled with quotes.

It is a good idea to have your goals written down somewhere you often look so why not in your bullet journal? It can be yearly, monthly, weekly, daily. It’s up to you.

Keep track of what you buy, when, and how much it cost and how much you needed it. This way you can easier cut down your expenses when you know how much money you spend on unnecessary things.

The best way to get rid of or get into a habit is to track whenever you do it and either punish or reward yourself when you see the results. Keep track of what you’re doing in order to do more of what makes you happy.

If you like you can have all kinds of lists in your bullet journal.

Yearly overview
Works as a calendar and friendly reminder that your birthday this year is on a Wednesday.

It looks cute and might help you stay organised.

Washi tape
The easiest way to spice up your spreads if you – like me- aren’t good at drawing. It is kind of expensive (in Denmark it is crazy expensive!) but you can collect it over time.
This is my collection:

I use Artline fine liners in black to write and Stabilo 88 0.4 when I use colours.

When all this is said I just want to tell you that everything is optional. If you want your bullet journal to include daily tasks and nothing else, it’s fine. Find a system that works for you. You can see that my style has changed a lot. The same thing will probably happen to you.

I hope this post helped you and gave you some inspiration.

Do you have a bullet journal or do you plan on getting one?

Stay happy, stay beautiful

– Ellie xoxo


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