PROS: Bullet journals are completely customizable to your personal, creative and organizational needs
CONS: Some people might feel overwhelmed by the design possibilities
TAKEAWAY: If you prefer pen and paper over tech, a bullet journal is a great way to quickly organize your life
Bullet Journals – planner/diary hybrids – are the most popular creative way to organize your life, keep track of your past and plan out your future. Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll created the bullet journal methodology to improve his own productivity and to promote intentional living through mindfulness – think of it like the meditation of the writing world. The practice has grown immensely since Carroll first introduced it to the world, and now, bullet journaling is a creative, customizable way to express yourself through art and writing.
Countless blogs, vlogs and social media profiles are devoted to providing bullet journal inspiration, tips and tricks, but how intricate you make your own bullet journal is totally up to you. At its most basic form, a bullet journal is a blank notebook that you fill with daily/monthly logs to plan what you need to do and various collections to track anything else that’s important in your life (goals, gratitude, habits, birthdays, etc.) If you want to make your bullet journal more of a passion project, you can also add art, graphs and lots of bright colors in addition to the traditional quick notes and lists.
Ready to embark on your organization journey? Here are the basics you’ll need to get started.
1. The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future
This is bullet journal creator Ryder Carroll’s own instructional book. Carroll teaches exactly how to “track your past, order your present and plan your future” by explaining the reasoning behind bullet journaling, possible benefits from the practice, data supporting his methodology and instructions for actually putting your pen to the paper. Helpful diagrams make the book visual and show bullet journaling in action.
2. Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Medium A5 Dotted Notebook
The Leuchtturm1917 is hands-down the most popular notebook to use for bullet journaling. This notebook has 249 numbered pages, which are incredibly helpful if you want to make an index or table of contents, and it lays flat for easy writing. Not only is the hardcover protective of the precious content inside, but the pages are dotted rather than lined or blank so you have freedom to get as creative as you want with art and shapes, while still having helpful guidelines for spacing and making lines.
3. Sakura Pigma 30062 Micron Ink Pen Set
If you’re going to have the clearest bullet journal, you need the smoothest pens possible. Sakura PIGMA pens are well-known favorites within the bullet journaling community. What’s unique about PIGMA ink is that the pigment molecules are 100 times bigger than traditional ink molecules, so they don’t bleed through paper and they resist fading or smearing – lefties rejoice! This set of precise black pens provides six point sizes to best fit your needs from quick note jotting to intricate design work.
4. Pentel Color Pen
You could keep your bullet journal monochromatic, but where’s the fun in that? Plus, color-coding is a super useful organizational tool and employing different shades and hues in your journal will help to reflect your mood or serve to make pages stand out when you’re flipping through to look for something in particular. This set of 36 felt pens makes the color combinations feel endless, allowing your creativity to thrive. Each pen has a fine tip for writing, drawing or coloring and reviewers say that they’ve been impressed with how long the ink lasts.
5. Mr. Pen – 15 Pcs Compass Set
Whether you’re a precise neat freak or an ambitious artist, you’ll definitely need this 15-piece compass set including a protractor, different shaped rulers, and two compasses. Bullet journals can get pretty extreme with different graphs, tracking wheels and designs. These tools make measuring, spacing and drawing so much easier and successful.
We’ve all struggled with drawing a perfectly round circle or, for some of us who are really artistically challenged, a straight line. Since bullet journaling is all about keeping things organized, it’s the best practice to ensure that your pages look neat and even by relying on these helper tools.