BULLET JOURNALING: Track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future!
I first heard about Bullet Journaling (also called Dot journaling) when I was looking at art journals this year. The elaborately decorated pages were filling my Instagram and Pinterest feeds– I was intrigued and quickly discovered that these journals are much more than art journals. They are a great organizational system that looks complicated but in fact are pretty simple once you know the terminology and the method.
This method is perfect for people who make to-do lists on paper, who want to set goals and track progress, and people who like a record of the years events. It helps prioritize activities, keep track of projects and create doable steps to reach your goals. It is a planner, calendar, to-do lists and diary for every part of your life… all in one book. While it has become popular with artists who create extravagantly decorated pages, it will also work for people with no creative desire. The more I read and studied the more the process made sense and seemed like it was what I was looking for.
At our 2019 Fayette Woman content brainstorming session, I asked to study and create a Bullet Journal during 2019 and then explain the process in a story in January 2020. Before we knew it, we had decided to report the process of creating the journal in real time and invite our readers to learn the process with us. Then we will have multiple opinions to report next January.
So here we are. Welcome to Bullet Journaling with Fayette Woman. Over the next few months, the process will be explained. We will provide encouragement and inspiration for one another. A little accountability never hurts. We invite you to follow along as we explore Bullet Journaling and hopefully organize our lives! Let us know if you are going along with us!
What supplies are needed?
The only supplies that you must have are a notebook/journal and a pen. Everything else is optional.
Most experienced journalist suggest you select a nicer journal along with a nice writing pen and some fun colored markers and highlighters. If you are going to create a journal it might as well be a joy to create. And, if it is joyful you will find it easier to develop the habit of using it. However, I caution you not to buy too many things until after you get started.
Any notebook will work. But, if you want a journal specific to Bullet Journaling, there are many good options. The main things to consider is the size, durability and the quality of the paper.
The most commonly recommended is the Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Dotted Journal available on Amazon for $19.95. These books have hard back covers in a variety of colors and a good quality of heavy duty (80gsm) paper that prevents pen bleeding and holds up to some art supplies (if you choose to use them). This journal offers grid options including the dot version which provides some line guidance but also flexibility. The pages are already numbered and includes an index to save you time. This German produced book is only available online. It is an A5 paper size (6X8.5) that will fit easily in a pocketbook or backpack.
My long time favorite, Moleskine Notebooks offer a dotted page version. I love the look and quality of these books, however the paper is this book is a little lighter than most at 70gsm. If all you plan to do is write with a standard pen this is a great, high quality option with a cost around $12. You will find a choice of hard or soft back covers in a variety of sizes and colors. They are easily found at Target and office supply stores as well as online.
Among Amazon’s other options is the Essentials Dot Matrix Notebook. This notebook offers a heavier, archival paper at 100 gsm. It has a very nice bound cover but is only offered in black. It is $11.60.
Another option I found was an Artist Loft Dot Journal at Michaels which has some of the same features as the more expensive versions. The big plus is the price of only $5 which makes it very easy to justify purchasing for an experimental project or to try out layouts before they go in your more expensive book. The cover is available in a variety of colors but it is a ruffer fabric cover and appears to be glued rather than hand sewn making it not fold open quite as flat while you are working.
None of these are the quality of watercolor paper. Just be cautious of marker inks bleeding through and water warping the pages. If you want to create more of an art journal you might consider a mixed media journal like Cason’s Mixed Media Pad. These come in a variety of sizes including a 7X10 for $10.99. You might find this paper a little rougher and more difficult for writing though. Also the cover is pretty blah.
You may be the type that doesn’t care about having a specific pen and just use whatever writing instrument you can get your hand on at the time or you might love a good pen to practice your penmanship. Either way works but here are a few things to consider.
To create your page layouts you may want a fine tip, smudge free marker. I really like Faber-Castell Pitt Pens and they are recommended by many of the expert journalers. These pens come in a variety of fine point sizes, colors and use a smudge proof, waterproof, acid free India ink. They are great if at any point you decide to add artistic touches to your journal using watercolor, stamps or any type of water based supply… or if like me you often spill your coffee. They are available at art supply stores, some office supply stores and online.
For your writing and filling in your pages, you will want to have a basic pen with ink that will dry quickly without smearing. Gel pens are a good option. A good pen does not have to be expensive and one that is often recommended is the Pilot G2 Gel Pen. But, with that said, you can use any pen you like including the free give away pens from the bank!
Everybody has different pens that fit their hand and writing style so experiment and find pens you enjoy using.
OTHER OPTIONAL SUPPLIES
Pen and paper are the only necessary supplies, but you might want to have fun and add a few other supplies. You will find a ruler or straight edge useful when setting up your pages. A pencil and kneaded eraser will make creating a little less intimidating and neater. Colored pens and pencils are an easy way to add a pop of color. Highlighters, post it notes, glue sticks and washi tape are all items that can help you start organizing your thoughts. If you are inclined, you can add some artistic flair usings stamps, watercolors, colored pencils and stickers. But be careful of your paper. Again, if you are not interested in adding some art or doodles to your journal that is just fine.
“Your journal, your pens, your rules. Period.” Shelby Abrahamsen
There is no right or wrong. This method is fully customizable to fit your needs to organize your life. That is beauty of a Bullet Journal.
Websites and books that will be referenced:
The official book by developer of the system Ryder Carrol:
And the companion website Bullet Journal
Bullet Journals: Hacks for Getting Important Tasks Done by Kerry Sanford
You can find inspiration on our Fayette Woman Pinterest Board.
More from Bullet Journaling with Fayette Woman: