Bullet Journal Tips You’ll Want To Know Before You Start

Bullet Journal Tips You’ll Want To Know Before You Start

Bullet Journal Tips and Tricks | BuJo Hacks

This is the complete list of bullet journal tips for beginners, intermediate bujo lovers, and advanced bullet journalists.

So if you’re:

  • looking for help to get you started with a bullet journal
  • dreaming of a successful bullet journal
  • thinking that the bullet journal system is confusing

Then this post will help you learn how to make bullet journals work for you.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

Tips for Bullet Journaling (Not Only) for Beginners

Undoubtedly, the most frequently asked question I got during the Back-To-School season was about bullet journal tips for newbies.

Moreover, I bet I start to receive “how to start a bullet journal” type of question again – yep, the holiday season is just around the corner.

Obviously, you want to get your life better in the new year. Bullet journal system is a great way to set your goals, achieve your dreams and stay on track.

In fact, after over a year of bullet journaling, I wrote down all of bullet journal tips I wish I knew before starting a bullet journal.

Ask Yourself What Do You Use Journals For

Undoubtedly, it’s a little bit funny when someone tries to define what is a bullet journal.

As a rule, you’ve already read that bullet journal is a rapid logging system that helps you to track daily tasks and events and organize your entire life.

But there is no one way to bullet journal.

As well as that, you can use a bullet journal as a:

  • smash book
  • art journal
  • diary
  • idea catcher
  • sketchbook

Before you just even start seeking for bullet journal inspiration and getting the best bullet journal pens and notebooks, it’s so crucial to find your why.

Why you should have a bullet journal. What’s the point of bullet journaling in your case.

Definitely, it’s time worth to think about your purpose of starting a bullet journal. Don’t overlook this stage.

First and foremost, it’ll save you a lot of energy and frustration. Sometimes bullet journal doesn’t work for you just because you use it in a way you don’t really need.

Secondly, you won’t spend a lot of money on tools you don’t use.

Let’s stop here for a second and think:

Assume that you want to start a bullet journal to be more productive and level up time management skills. Do you really need fancy washi tapes, expensive watercolors or brush pens to be successful? No.

Learn the Bullet Journal Basics First

Obviously, if you choose to use a bullet journal as a sketchbook, art journal or diary, you can easily skip this part.

However, successful planning with a bullet journal rapid logging requires learning how bujo works.

Get familiar with setting up a bullet journal key, index, future log, monthly spreads, weekly layouts, daily entries.

Test the Bullet Journal System [with Cheap Supplies]

Now, when you know why you want to start a bullet journal and how to set up your first bujo, you may be tempted to invest some good amount of money in fancy bullet journal products. Especially, if you’re a stationery freak. It’s so tempting to buy these amazing notebooks, pens, brush pens, etc.

However, before you buy this freakin’ awesome Dingbats bullet journal notebook for $20, go to Target and get the most ordinary one for $1.

Even better: check your home office first. I bet you find a basic notebook, pencil, rubber, pen and maybe some highlighters. Bonus tip: go to your kid’s room and borrow Crayola markers (they’re simply the best!)

bujo hacks

To be honest, that’s all you need to start a bullet journal.

To demonstrate it, you can see my first bullet journal below. The paper was so bad. Smudges, ghostings, bleeds – yes, it was an issue. But it allowed me to ensure that bujo is my thing without spending a lot of money.

bullet journal june theme
bullet journal cover page
bullet journal weekly layout

Start a Bullet Journal Right Now!

What day is it today? Tuesday? Maybe on Thursday? It really doesn’t matter.

Start a bujo any time of the year, month or even day.

Who said that your bullet journal weekly spread should always start at the beginning of the week?

Please, don’t wait until next week, month or new year. It’s such a waste of time.

Start Slow and Build Up Steadily

Now, when you have your basic supplies, it’s time to create your first spread.

Most of the bullet journal newbies hit the wall and start to feel completely overwhelmed.

Why? Because they run before can walk.

For instance, they start a bullet journal with a lot of collections. For this reason, they have a hard time keeping up with the system. As a result, they think it’s difficult and their bullet journal notebooks are empty.

But the truth is that the basic idea of bullet journaling is easy but most newbies tend to overcomplicate it.

The whole beauty of a bullet journal is that it’s fully customizable and gives freedom. But at the same time, you can feel lost.

It’s quite possible that you can feel that way. You scroll through the Instagram feed and just don’t know which spread to chose.

I suggest starting a bullet journal with basic two-three spreads. Create an intuitive (for you) bullet journal key, an index plus monthly and/or weekly layout.

bujo weekly layout

After you get used to planning with rapid logging, you can build up your bujo by adding bullet journal collections.

Create a Bullet Journal Habit and Make It Stick

Maybe you’re wondering why some of the beginners have failed at bullet journaling. Although they tried to keep a bullet journal, it didn’t work.

Besides creating too many distracting spreads at the same time, there is one more thing that can make it likely to fail. Inconsistency.

Firstly, you’re excited, motivated with a new project. You spend ages searching for perfect notebook (side note: please, don’t do this), planning out the bullet journal layouts.

However, your enthusiasm slows down over time. And this is a great moment to think about how to create a bullet journal habit and make it stick.

How to Make the Bullet Journal Habit Stick?

  • always keep your bullet journal handy throughout the day
  • set aside 5-10 minutes every evening to plan the next day out
  • commit to writing in it every single day (for example include it in your morning routine)
  • track your bullet journal habit in a habit tracker

Bullet Journal Tips for Intermediate BuJo Addicts

Now, when you know all bullet journal basics, it’s time to develop your very own bullet journal style. Without a doubt, it’s a long journey with a lot of trial-and-error attempts. Here are few bullet journal tips and tricks to level up your bujo.

Plan a Bullet Journal Set Up in Advance

Mapping out your bullet journal ahead can really help you to:

  • organize the spreads
  • keep away from mistakes
  • avoid ripping out the pages
  • include everything you want to have in your planner

You can plan your bujo pages with sticky notes or just writing down all your bullet journal page ideas.

In addition, I’d highly recommend using a pencil first. It makes easier to plan out bullet journal headers, titles, layouts, etc without risking mistakes (you can erase them) or losing pages.

Create a Monthly Review Page

Before creating spreads for next month, it’s so crucial for successful bullet journal to analyze what works and what doesn’t.

Ask yourself if:

  • your bullet journal is well organized and easy to use
  • you use it regularly
  • the bujo layout works for you
  • all of the trackers and other bullet journal collections were used and filled out
  • current monthly, weekly or daily spreads were convenient to use for you

Then take notes and don’t be afraid to switch things up.

Choose a Bullet Journal Supplies You Like

After giving a bullet journal a trial period, you’re more aware of how you use it. Now it’s a great time to invest in some fancier bullet journal products.

First and foremost, choose bujo products that work for you. It’ll be easier to keep a bullet journal on a regular basis, using tools you really love.

If you want to save time, feel free to get bullet journal stencils or stamps to customize your notebook fast and easy.

Here’s what I’ve been using for my bullet journal:

Learn How to Fix Bullet Journal Mistakes

No matter how careful you are, there is always a (pretty good) chance to make a mistake. Misspellings, drawing lines in a wrong raw or column, making a wrong square size- yes, we’ve all been there.

Luckily, there are plenty of easy and funny ways to fix the bullet journal mistakes.

Bullet Journal Tricks for Advanced BuJo Fans [with an Artistic Soul]

Generally, there are two categories of bullet journalists: one with artistic souls and one who doesn’t care.

This part is all about getting artsy. So if you don’t feel that ay, feel free to skip it and see another bullet journal tips and tricks.

Learn How to Doodle

One of the cutest ways ever to spruce up your bullet journal and make it more instagrammable is to add some doodles.

You can find many tutorials on Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube. If you want to dive into the drawing area even deeper, Skillshare is a great place to do it.

If you haven’t heard about Skillshare, it’s a large platform with thousands of online courses on drawing, doodling, bullet journaling, photography and so many others.

Now you can try it out for free for 2 months here.

Improve Your Hand Lettering

Another way to bring your bujo spreads to another level, is getting better handwriting and/or hand lettering.

Again, check out Instagram and YouTube for tutorials and inspiration.

Upgrade Bullet Journal Supplies

Now you can absolutely justify buying some fancy bujo tools.

Without a doubt, getting started with a bullet journal doesn’t require it.

However, if you want to level up aka decorating the spreads, you may need some funny supplies like:

  • washi tapes
  • set of brush pens
  • watercolors
  • stamps
  • stickers

Bullet Journal Hacks for Every BuJo Lover

No matter if you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced bullet journal enthusiast, there are few bullet journal tips worth to remember.

Make Bullet Journal Work For You

Remember, “nothing will work unless you do”.

For example:

I started with horizontal monthly spread and discovered that vertical monthly layout worked better for me.

bullet journal weekly spread

My second spread was a mood tracker After not completing it two months in the row, I gave up. You don’t have to use all of the bullet journal pages when in reality you don’t need them.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. There is no right or wrong answer. You can’t start a bullet journal in the wrong way.

Shut Up Your Inner Perfectionist

Being a perfectionist is a nightmare. I know what I’m writing.

Can you guess how long I was able to create a single bullet journal page? A couple of hours.

Nobody has time to do that. Me neither. I’ve decided to have done with it.

Bullet journaling is a great thing but it can’t make you feel stressed. Create bujo spreads to have a better life, not for Insta fam. Let it go.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Have you ever heard that “comparison is theft of joy”?

It’s insane how talented artists I “meet” every day on Instagram or Pinterest. Sometimes a little voice in my head appears and says “your bujo sucks”, “you’re not good enough” or “I wish I drew like her”.

Do you want to know how I deal with it?

Instead of scrolling through the Instagram feed, getting more and more frustrated, I log off IG and start to doodle, improve a bullet journal lettering or learn drawing.

Stop comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself with you. Think about what can you do to improve your bullet journal. Get inspired but don’t compare. Just don’t do it.

Bullet Journal Tips – Final Thoughts

I hope you find these bullet journal tips useful.

For me, a bullet journal is a great tool to be more focused and productive.

And yes, while I really admire beautiful bullet journal spreads with elegant lettering and cute drawing, in the beginning, I’d rather focus on how to make this system work.

So if you have an issue with time management, productivity, and procrastination, then even the most customized and fancy planner or bullet journal won’t help you.

What’s Next? I Bet You Want To Read Other Bullet Journal Inspiration Posts:

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