Here’s the truth about bullet journaling: it’s a bottomless pit of ideas, themes, inspiration, and layouts that will suck you right in if you let it. Whether you just discovered what bujo is or have had one since it was first introduced back in 2013, looking it up online has most likely led to any of these things: endless scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram, or else camping out on Youtube watching video after relevant video about all the things you can do with a bujo. (Read more about the bujo and other journal types here).
Don’t worry, we get it! The bullet journal is absolutely fascinating. That and it’s fairly simple once you learn the system that makes it what it is; after you get the hang of things, you can do with it what you will, and that’s exactly what people have done over the last eight years. Journalers around the world have personalized the bullet journal to make an already effective system work even better, and we know that just like everyone else, you want to customize it with your own needs in mind too.
But with so many variations of the bujo available online, where do you start? What do you search for so that you don’t get bombarded with too much information, even if the majority of them are great ideas? We know it can become overwhelming, which is why we’ve decided to put this list together to help you figure out how to get started. First and foremost though, we discovered that it’s best to answer this question:
What kind of bullet journaler are you?
1. I’m a Tracker.
Do you like seeing your progress when it comes to just about anything you do? Whether it’s making the bed each morning, cutting back on alcoholic drinks, or monitoring water intake, if everything is trackable where you’re concerned, then you’re a Tracker. Cultivating good habits and getting rid of bad ones, all while knowing where you stand, is of utmost importance to you. In fact, the bujo experience becomes more fulfilling (and fun!) when you’re able to see tangible proof that you’re advancing towards your goals.
The best way for Trackers to monitor their progress and keep tabs on goals is by using the bullet journal as a habit tracker. One great format to use is the dot grid because it has the structure and space to set up either a week, month, or entire year’s worth of habits. Imagine a chart with an X axis and Y axis. Write the dates along the top X axis and the habits down the left side of the Y axis. Check out our Dot Grid refills to get started tracking right away.
Field Journal Refill
Pocket Journal Refill
When it comes to themes, you can create a standard grid to keep things simple. However, if you want a little bit more color, consider pixels (as in A Year in Pixels). Your habit tracker can be more than just ticking boxes or shading them!
Is your life filled with lists? Doesn’t matter what kind they are: groceries, to-do’s, and reminders just to name a few. Listing is, after all, what Listers do. Where you’re concerned, ‘organized’ means keeping things separate by writing them down in categories—which unfortunately results in a hundred different Post It notes, or else hurried scribbles on scrap paper or the back of crumpled receipts. But not with a bullet journal! The bujo can both help reduce clutter and keep you from misplacing any more lists through its rapid logging and migration system.
A rapid log will save you time by keeping item descriptions short and simple to understand. If you’re on the go or have a lot on your plate, it only takes a quick glance to get what you need—you can even color code each list to make it even easier. And if anything is undone or needs to be moved the following day, week, or month? You can simply cross it out from your current list and migrate it to the next one. Unlike the Tracker who likes seeing the progress they’re making, for the Lister, it’s all about crossing out one item at a time. Nothing gives them greater joy than watching their list grow shorter with every accomplishment, big or small.
Need a convenient place to safeguard your lists while you’re on the go? Then you’re in luck: our Pocket Journal is super portable and easy to carry around.
Field Journal Refill
3. I’m a Planner.
Some people live out their days jumping from one moment to the next. They thrive in the anticipation of waiting for what’s to come: events, milestones, and occasions are of utmost importance to them. From everyone else’s birthdays to a conference related to work, you bet a Planner has it noted and scheduled in their bujo.
If this is your bujo identity, then you’re going to love setting up weekly and monthly spreads, not to mention the future log function, incorporated in the bujo. What all these have in common is that they provide you an at-a-glance overview of anything that’s about to take place, whether that’s a few days or months away from the present. This ensures you don’t miss a thing—and how can you? It’s in your bullet journal!
Check out our Planner refill for the Field Journal: it already has six monthly spreads and twenty six weekly spreads ready for you so you can start tracking and organizing all the important events and moments in your life.
While the structure is in place, we left the dates blank. So if you miss a day, week, or even month, you can just pick up where you left off without worrying about wasting pages.
Field Journal Refill
4. I’m a Minimalist.
If you’re done with learning as much as you can about bullet journaling and are in it for all the amazing things that make it what it is—no muss, no fuss—then you’re a Minimalist. Ready with a pen, notebook, and ruler, you don’t feel the need to add to or change the bujo system much. That being said, the only additions you probably plan to incorporate are some lines to keep sections separate. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Sometimes, simple is the way to go.
The beauty of a bullet journal, in its basic form, is that it allows you to focus on what’s important. We all have different needs, and if the current system meets all of yours without you having to modify anything, then you’re good to go! But before you do, don’t forget to check out the Field Journal—it’s the perfect refillable waxed canvas case to keep your bullet journals in. It can comfortably hold six of our different refills at a time too!
So which bullet journaler are you? Let us know in the comments below! No matter what type of bullet journaler you are, we’re sure you’ll find a setup that’s right for you. And if the one you want isn’t out there, easy: just like what others have done, you can always create your own. Good luck in finding the perfect match, and like we always say, keep creating!