The Organized Life: The Ultimate Guide to Bullet Journaling

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Have you ever tried to keep a planner or daily journal without success? 

Yeah, me too. I always have great intentions but eventually I become inconsistent and stop using it. 

Truth-be-told, I’m still that person that desires to have a hard copy of my life to reference. I know, there’s a calendar on my phone however, I still cannot get away from wanting some sort of physical planner. Who feels me?

When I met Rich, he opened my eyes to journaling. He’s a pen and paper kinda guy. Every morning starts with good intentions and reflection. Although he’s less than a “morning person”… like HATES mornings… he is very disciplined about his morning ritual.

I quickly adapted to the mornings being about sitting, sipping coffee, and writing in my journal too. Often, we make time to do it together… which I love the most.

While my morning journaling has helped center my energy for the day, I really wanted something more hybrid between a personal journal and a daily planner.

In my search for a way to blend the two, I found the bullet journal! I confess, I went down the YouTube and Pinterest rabbit hole. I spent hours (ok, days) online absorbing all the various layouts, supplies needed, and enjoying the wonderful creativity this method of journaling brings. Who knew it was even a thing?

I am so excited to be able to share with you today the word of bullet journaling. If you’re new to it or just want some wonderful references to help you grown in your experience, you’ve come to the right place!

I have gathered the best resources out there to make the Ultimate Guide to Bullet Journaling for all of you. So let’s get started….

WHAT IS BILLET JOURNALING

The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.

Ryder Carroll

Ryder Carroll, the genius behind the bullet journal method, or “bujo” as it’s referred to often. Ryder developed an easy analogue system to keep track of the past and to organize the future. Head over to the original (and updated) How To Bullet Journal from the man himself. 

Since I was completely new to bullet journaling, I felt like I needed a little more simplistic explanation. Enter Christina. She has a fabulous YouTube account called How To ADHD. Not only is she hysterical, she speaks to my total ADHA brain in her How to Create a Bullet Journal video. Now bullet journaling was beginning to make sense.

Since it’s development, the bullet journal has become a creative outlet, a way to chronologic life events and to simply connect to one’s self. It is really whatever you want to make it… but most of all it should be an enjoyable process!

Now, don’t feel like this has to be a time consuming process. Rich is not the artist. I am a far cry for one either. However, bullet journaling is all about being organized, productive, efficient and creative. The sky is really the limit and you just need to figure out how to make it your own!

SO, WHAT NOTEBOOK TO CHOOSE?

Now, I have to say this is the most important decision of the whole bullet journal process. I started my journaling journey with the desire to explore some different mediums such as watercolor. I needed thick paper that wouldn’t bleed. I also wanted the traditional dotted grid to help me design my layouts.

Cristina over at MyLifeinaBullet provides one of the Ultimate Journal Comparison, reviewing many of the most popular journal on the market. It’s all in what you’re looking for, but after Cristina’s awesome breakdown, I knew that the Archer & Olive (B5) Journal was perfect for me.

Archer & Olive journals contain 160 pages of ultra thick 160gsm bright white paper. That means there is no ghosting (seeing the ink on the opposite side of the page) and no bleeding (ink transferring through one page to another.) Their journals are bound by hand and lay flat when open to any page. 

The standard size is their 5.75″ x 8.25″ A5 journal, but I wanted a slightly larger journal so I opted for the 6.95″ x 9.84″ B5 version. This leaves me more room to habit track, add photos and to utilize the extra room for artwork and/or doodles.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO JOURNAL?

Anyone else out there a stationary finatic? Hands… come on… does walking into staples make you giddy? Yeah, I thought so. Let me tell you… you can get super caught up buying supplies for your bullet journal. 

What do you actually need? A pen… and a journal. That’s it.

Now, if you’re asking what are my favorite journaling supplies… I have some favorites I’d love to share.

MY FAVORITE JOURNALING SUPPLIES

WHAT IF MY HANDWRITING SUCKS?

Another big part of my bullet journal process has been learning how to hand letter. I’ll admit, my handwriting is nothing to brag about. I’ve always wanted to learn how to write in big bouncy, beautiful, letters… so this was an added creative bonus for me.

Being a lefty, learning to letter has had its challenges. Unfortunately, there are more resources out there for right handed people. With that said, one of the largest bloggers in the hand lettering world is a lefty! Say it ain’t so… It has been really helpful learning from her. Whether you’re left handed or right, hand lettering is really enjoyable! 

I’ve linked below some of the best beginners guides to hand lettering to get you started.

HAND LETTERING RESOURCES

LET'S TALK SPREADS & LAYOUTS

This is the fun part… setting up your very own bujo! This can be as complex or as simple as you’d like. I recommend at least having a key at the beginning to reference. I have a quote page, the year at-a-glace page, a savings tracker, a book tracker, and place to write down all my goals for the year.

Your journal setup can include things such as:

  • A Key
  • Year At-A-Glance
  • Yearly Goals
  • New Years Resolution
  • Goals for the Year
  • Inspirational Quote(s) Page
  • Habits You Want To Track Yearly (Books, Weight, Savings, etc… ) 

YEARLY SETUPS

Next, let’s talk about monthly spreads. This is a great place to check and see how your month looks in a quick glance. Your monthly spread should reflect:

  • Appointments
  • Birthdays
  • Special Events
  • Vacations
  • Social Commitments

This is also a great place to include any things you want to track for the month, goals, to-do lists, notes, list of priorities, etc…

MONTHLY SPREADS

 Finally, we get to one of my favorite places in my journal. The weekly layout gives you a great detailed view of what makes up each day. This is where you can include things such as:

  •  A Timeline to Schedule Appointments
  • A To-Do list for the Day
  • A Place to Document Daily Successes
  •  Targets for the Day
  • …and whatever the heck you want it to be!

WEEKLY LAYOUTS

EVERYTHING ELSE...

What else goes into a bullet journal? Great question. ANYTHING YOU WANT!

No, seriously. Some months you may want to include photos from a special vacation or event. Do it! One month you might want to add some pressed flowers and leaves you collected on a hike…. do it! It truthfully is whatever you want to make it. Do nothing other than keep a planner style journal one month because you ran out of time to address it… great!

I honestly treat my journal as a catch all. Since I started mine in May, I have LOTS of pages to play with. When I get new water colors, I make a reference page. When I buy new pens, I make a sample writing page. I have sketches on one page in the middle of my weekly spreads. There’s not right or wrong. How awesome right?!

LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION?

Ok, now you have an idea of what keeping a Bullet Journal means and all the great things you can do with it. 

Wondering where to start? I have linked some great people to get to know and follow for some bujo inspiration.

I also linked some helpful YouTube video’s I referenced a lot when I was starting out. Sometimes you need to get the creative juices flowing and these are just the videos to watch!

I hope you found this Ultimate Beginners Guide to Bullet Journaling helpful and inspiring.

I encourage you to try it out and take the plunge into bullet journaling. You won’t regret it! Make sure to pin this post so you can reference it throughout your bullet journaling process! 

XOXO,

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