I first started my bullet journal back in January, after reading many blog posts/videos on the topic. I started my bullet journal because I hated leaving pages blank in a ‘traditional’ planner, it made me feel unproductive even if I was just relaxing that day. So I decided to start my bullet journal as if I wasn’t doing anything I just wouldn’t have to write it, plus I’m a list maker so a book of full of lists would make sense.
When I first started my bullet journal I made a blog post all about my initial set up so I would recommend reading that first- click here!
Over half a year later I still love and use every day. It’s kept me so organised as a student and makes it so easy to manage my time however I want to. I know that people are considering starting one around this time of year because it is a new academic year, so I thought to update you on what I liked, what I wouldn’t include next time and what I would add for next year. It hasn’t changed much since I started but a few things have been edited, so this is a good time to share my top tips for starting one.
I still use the majority of the main pages, which is surprising considering I had never used a bullet journal when I originally set it up. My set up worked really well and I have carried it on throughout the journal, as it seems to be very simple and perfect for beginners. The only thing that I would remove is the ‘year at a glance’ section as if I have an idea I write it in a seperate blog post ideas notebook, which means it has barely got anything written in it. Instead I think I am going to use that page as a ‘birthdays’ page next year, as I think that would be really useful.
Here are some of my current pages….
One page that I would recommend that I don’t see many people do is the ‘wall of fame’ page each month. This is where I write down funny moments and things that I want to remember from the day. My memory is dreadful so I love having a page with so many hilarious things on, as it makes me smile when I look back on it. The littlest things are always the funniest so it’s nice to have a record of all of these things.
Next year I am not sure whether I am going to get a new journal or not, I like the deal of having a fresh start per year but equally I don’t like the idea of wasting half a book that is perfectly fine to use. I have also moved my blog organising to online or another notebook and instead focusing this bullet journal on day to day tasks. Another thing that I need to do is to stop being afraid of making my journal messy and jotting things down as soon as possible. I often try to make things as pretty as I can and this means that I don’t write everything down. This year I want to make it more of a working resource and have things organised but still quickly jotted down. Something that I want to create next year is a ‘week at a glance’ section where I can see when I’m busy in the week with appointments etc, and leave the main boxes for things to do only. I find that everything gets messy if it’s in the main box and I end up forgetting appointments, so I am going to create a different section to log times etc.
Here are some of my top tips for starting a bullet journal….
Keep up to date with it or else you will end up not using it. Every week start setting out your pages and make sure you don’t let it slip, or else you wont get used to the process. It is hard to get used to setting up your pages yourself because you are used to just writing in a pre-planned diary, but once you get used to doing it each week it will become routine.
I would definitely recommend buying a book with dotted paper, it seems weird at first but I actually love using it now. I love that it is straight so you can write nicely but it equally looks like a blank page as well. I find lines restricting in my opinion, and I know some people have squared paper in their bullet journal and it doesn’t look as good in my opinion. Squared is often more expensive but I would definitely invest.
Don’t be too creative! There is always temptation from Pinterest to make everything so gorgeous and colourful but you will end up spending more time making it look photogenic than actually working on what you have to do. Part of a bullet journal is making it look nice but at the same time is a practical resource used to manage your time.
This is something that I have only started doing recently but I would definitely recommend it. Using stickers is a way of minimising the time spent setting out your planner but still making it look pretty. Planozo (an independent business) kindly sent me some stickers. They create plenty of stickers suitable for planners and organisers, whilst still making them look pretty. I have only been using them for a few weeks but I love them, and they are so worth the purchase! My favourites are the blog stickers because they are so useful, and I also love the hearts because they are so pretty and perfect to mark deadlines in my planner. Check out planozo here.
I hope this helps if you are starting a bullet journal, because I used to love reading these before I started to give him so information. I love my bullet journal and I would recommend it to anyone who need to be more organsied but also creative. I love how personalised it is and you can create anything that you want in it so it makes it perfect for students, or workers, or anyone really. Let me know if you want any more advice and i will be sure to answer any questions in the comments or on my social media.
(Planozo sent me the stickers complimentary to feature, however all opinions and photos are my own)