We dedicate several hours a day to staring at screens and scrolling through social media, but we rarely do the same for traditional reading and writing. Bullet journaling encourages you to take the time to jot down your thoughts, plans and dreams, which can be very beneficial. And, the best thing about bullet journaling is that anyone can do it, as long as you have the supplies.
If you’re looking for a new way to clear your thoughts, stay on top of your to-do lists or remember birthdays, a bullet journal could be exactly what you need. Aside from the practical benefits of checking off your daily chores and jotting down future appointments, you may find bullet journaling also has many health benefits, such as lowering levels of stress and anxiety.
You can be as creative or regimented as you like. Once you have the set chapters of your journal in place, how you plan out each page is up to you. There are no exact rules to follow, rather a set of guidelines that help to put pen to paper and keep your entries organized.
Getting started can be as simple as buying a notebook and pen. Or, if you’re aiming to create a more decorative journal, there are many stationary extras for adding color, customization and organization, too. Here are some of the key items you may want to begin your journey:
- Journal – Notebooks specifically made for bullet journaling have dotted pages to allow for guided drawing and writing in all directions. The pages are usually acid-free and ink-proof to prevent damage and avoid previous scribbles interfering with future ones. You’ll also find most bullet journals are sized for portability.
- Pens – A range of thicknesses, colors and ink types in your pen collection enables a more aesthetically pleasing display. A wider range of pens also allows for further definition between titles, paragraphs and highlighted blocks.
- Bookmark – Finding where you were last writing in your bullet journal is easy with a bookmark. Most journals come with a ribbon bookmark integrated into the spine, but there are also detached alternatives that often double up as secondary tools, like rulers or stencils.
- Stickers – If you’re hoping to create one of the more intricate and artistic bullet journals but weren’t born with the gift of arts and crafts, don’t worry. Stickers are here to help. Save time on drawing (or trying to draw), and let the stickers do the work for you.
- Tapes – Utilizing tape in your journal is a great way to add texture and break up blocks of text. A wide range of colors and prints are available. You’ll also find travel-friendly rolls you can use on the move.
Ryder Carroll founded the bullet journaling system to help himself and others, “track the past, order the present and design the future.” Many people have experienced success in journaling these three key areas of life as a form of written meditation, stress relief and motivation for organization.
The purpose and process of bullet journaling make it a practice which everyone should do. To save you time on getting started, we’ve pulled together the best supplies necessary. Included are bare the bare essentials of a journal and pen along with some stickers and tapes for those truly invested in their new and improved use of time.
1. Leuchtturm1917 Dotted Notebook
The Leuchtturm1917 is a top quality, reasonably priced bullet journal. Its hard cover protects against wear and tear, and the built-in ribbon bookmarks make it easy to find where you were last writing. Inside, there are 249 dotted pages along with a blank contents page, all of which are acid-free, ink-proof and numbered. Additionally, at the back of the book, there is an expandable pocket for any loose notes as well as an elastic closure to keep everything in place.
2. Inc. Peter Pauper Press Metal Bookmark
The Inc. Peter Pauper Press Metal Bookmark doubles up as a stencil able to turn boring bullet points into fun little diagrams. Along with the metric and imperial measurements you expect to find on a ruler, there are also large stencil spaces you can use to highlight words and draw boxes. This 15-centimeter ruler is made from lightweight, highly durable metal and is a great addition to any bullet journal.
3. Paperage Bullet Notebook
The Paperage Bullet Notebook is ideal for bullet journaling on a budget. At under $10, you can invest in one of these hardcover journals filled with 166 dotted pages without breaking the bank. Despite the low price tag, this book has many of the features you expect from a more premium product, such as an elastic closure band, an expandable inner pocket and a ribbon bookmark. It’s available in yellow, blue or green, so you can select the best color to set the tone of your journal.
4. Amazon Basics Classic Grid Notebook
For a modestly priced bullet journal with a professional appearance, look no further than the Amazon Basics Classic Grid Notebook. Inside are 240 pages of acid-free paper along with an expandable back pocket and an integrated bookmark. The black cover is made from durable cardboard to ensure it holds its shape throughout use. It also features an elastic closure band to keep it shut tight when your pen is down.
5. iBayam Journal Pens
BEST PEN SET
The iBayam Journal Pens set includes 18 smart fineliners with a 0.38-millimeter metal-clad point. Their fine tip and water-based ink makes them ideal for general writing and detailed doodling. When in use, the lid can be stored on the end of the pen for safekeeping, and when not in use, the pens can be stored in their handy plastic carry case. Among the rainbow of colors included are a few darker shades, such as black and grey. This is an ideal set of journal pens for both new starters and those more experienced.
6. Redi-Tag Divider Sticky Notes
BEST STICKY NOTES
Redi-Tag has taken traditional sticky notes a step further with their lined dividers. Six fluorescent colors are included in each pack, and they all follow the same design, which is ideal for dividing pages and highlighting important notes. Sticky notes are a strong addition to any set of bullet journaling supplies, so you may find it a good idea to order more than one pack at a time. Plus, Redi-Tag offers increasing discounts based on the amount ordered meaning the more your order, the more you can save.
7. Zebra Pen Mildliner Pack
Having a set of highlighters among your bullet journal supplies is a great idea. They allow for you to mark important areas, highlight certain words and create colorful underlines, too. The Zebra Pen Mildliner Pack includes 10 assorted mild shades, all of which are double-ended. At one end, you have a fine tip for small, detailed highlighting, and at the other, there’s a bold tip for more outstanding marking.
8. Agutape Decorative Tapes
48 rolls are included in the Agutape Decorative Tapes set, and they cover a huge range of different colors and designs, including zigzags, hearts and polka dots. 16 of the rolls are foiled washi tape, and so they have a shiny finish. However, the other 32 are normal washi tape, which has a matte finish. Each masking roll is five meters long and three millimeters wide, making them ideal for highlighting areas, creating borders or simply adding some color and texture to your bullet journal.
9. Dainayw Lettering Pens
BEST FOR CALLIGRAPHY
Opting for a monochrome bullet journal doesn’t need to limit your creativity. Dainayw’s Lettering Pens set includes eight black ink pens, ranging in tip thickness from extra fine to a large soft brush. This allows for all types of calligraphy and doodling. The ink is high-quality and water-based, making it odorless and smudge resistant. Whether you prefer writing with a hard or soft pen, you’re covered with the variety of pens in this set.
10. ZICOTO Journal Stickers
BEST STICKER SET
ZICOTO Journal Stickers are the ultimate collection of little shapes and seasonal accents for any bullet journal. Every page of your journal can be a modern masterpiece, whether it’s a to-do list, brainstorm or mini calendar, as there’s a sticker to suit all subjects. From speech bubbles to fun bullet points, this pack of over 1,500 stickers is a great source of colorful inspiration, ready for when the writer’s block strikes.
11. Ryder Carroll The Bullet Journal Method
BEST LEARNING RESOURCE
Learn the art of bullet journaling from the creator himself by reading his step-by-step guide, The Bullet Journal Method. The aim of this book is to guide you into bullet journaling successfully, while avoiding the often seen rookie errors. By learning to bullet journal correctly, your time and energy can be managed more effectively. And, although you may find similar books available, what could be better than learning from the system’s founder?
12. Scribbles That Matter Dotted Journal
Being truly invested in your bullet journal often helps with the consistency of your commitment to using it. Scribbles That Matter produces premium Dotted Journals available in black, purple or green. These journals feature illustrations for inspiration on their faux-leather covers. All colors of the dotted journal come complete with an elasticated closure strap, a pen loop and two color-coded bookmarks. Plus, they all include a ‘pen test’ page to keep your tester scribbles all in one place. The high-quality pages are well protected against ink ghosting or bleeding, so you can journal on every spread.