Tips For Your Bullet Journal

Now that I’ve been using the bullet journal system for a full quarter of a year, I’m actually starting to get a feel for what I like and I don’t like for myself. It’s easy to see a layout in a Facebook group or on Instagram and admire it, and it’s another thing to actually draw it and use it. I can guarantee that in another year I will have made changes and evolved in my layouts but I’m feeling pretty happy with where my planner is at! This post is all about sharing the lessons I’ve learned with my bullet journal so far.

5 Tips for UsingYour Bullet Journal.jpg

Bullet Journal Layout

1. Deciding How Much Grid Space Is Needed per Day/Week

I started out with vertical layouts, and I quickly realised that I do not need a full page length per day. Realistically, my day could be very busy but there are some things I don’t ever need to write down, ie. eat lunch, brush and floss my teeth, check my emails. I need to write down tasks that aren’t done daily, and a horizontal layout allows me to plan for unique events/tasks and leave space for other items.  I would recommend that you play around with several different layouts and see what seems to be the most useful for you! Look around and see what sticks out to you, but also remember that just because someone else is using it doesn’t mean that you have to.

2. Decide What Will and Will Not Be Included

I do not include work related tasks in my bullet journal. I have a separate Happy Planner for work where everything stays. I struggle with leaving my work at work- including it in my bullet journal would mean that I am forever carrying it around with me. Therefore, my bullet journal is my lunches, evenings, and weekends! If you had flexible hours or work from home, I could see integrating the two, but as it stands I prefer keeping it separate! I also have a separate Alpha Gam planner where I keep more detailed schedules that allow for notes, ideas, and any info that I might need for an office. My work planner stays at work and my Alpha Gam planner typically stays at home, keeping my everyday bullet journal sleek and light to carry with me.

Bullet Journal Layout

3. Leaving Empty Space

I like to be able to track when I charge my FitBit, when I fill up with gas, when I do laundry. However, I don’t need space for it every single day, and some days I may need to not multiple pieces of information. Leaving a little empty space up in the righthand corner allows me to keep track of anything I might need to without making larger sections for each day. Some people use the “leftover” space for illustrations, lettering, and doodles, I usually don’t get around to that. I love looking at other people’s illustrations but I am perfectly happy to have a little bit of empty space on my pages.

4. Using Colours and Decorations

Like I said above, I’m not much for illustrations, banners, or doodles. However, I have been working on my handwritten scripts and I’m slowly becoming more confident in trying new scripts. I use colour coding (with different Staedtler Fine Liner pens) to differentiate what each task is related to- light blue for fitness/health, orange for blog, pink for ballet, red for Alpha Gam, etc. I don’t use washi tape in this particular planner but that is something you may want to consider for coding, design, or decorative purposes! The worst thing that happens is that you try it out on a layout and don’t use it again, right?

5. Accepting Mistakes

Sometimes I spell something incorrectly or write the wrong date, sometimes I misdraw a border, the wrong colour pen gets used, or some other mistake. Realistically, everyone of these mistakes are going to happen to all of us, and your bullet journal will still function and keep you organised just fine even if you have to cross out a date or rewrite a word. It’s great to strive for a beautiful lay out but sometimes we make a mistake and that is perfectly okay!

Planners, what are your favourite bullet journal tips? Any lessons that you’ve learned?

Until tomorrow,
The Historian!

11 thoughts on “Tips For Your Bullet Journal

  1. hannahcole93 February 1, 2017 / 1:56 am

    I try to use my bullet journal but often struggle to find time to set up pages. At the moment I tend to use it more for keeping track of the books I’ve read and making lists and putting other random bits in rather than using it as a diary sort of thing


    • anhistorianabouttown February 1, 2017 / 6:32 am

      I love that bullet journals allow for this- even if you use another planner or your Google calendar for planning you can still use your bullet journal with it!


  2. artisticsharon February 1, 2017 / 8:02 am

    I only use my bujo for personal, no work. I have all the usual spreads: future log, monthly, weekly, habit tracker. I use my weekly for daily logging, I don’t have all that much going on each day so it provides enough space. I like your tip about figuring out how much grid space you need – I changed my weekly spread a few times to get that just right. Thanks for sharing!


    • anhistorianabouttown February 1, 2017 / 8:07 am

      Thank you! Is your habit tracker completely separate from your other spreads? I’m wondering if I should track within each day or have a separate spread!


      • artisticsharon February 1, 2017 / 8:32 am

        I have my tracker on a separate monthly page all it’s own. I like having the whole month at a glance and it helps me stay motivated to keep filling in the boxes 😉 Many times during January I almost didn’t do some of my habits but didn’t want the empty box so I got off my duff and did them!!


  3. fattymccupcakes February 1, 2017 / 10:17 am

    This is super helpful. I thought bullet journaling sounded like a really great idea and that it was just a journal that had dots (as in BULLETS) to make lists. So, I ordered a really pretty mint and gold one on Amazon. When I got it, I was happy with how gorgeous the cover was, but when I opened it, it was an instant NOPE. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. I think I will leave the bullet journaling for you creative ones!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charlotte Graham February 3, 2017 / 1:51 pm

      I thought the same thing at first too!! I was super confused at first. A girl in my office is starting one, and it is literally taking her forever to map out all the spaces and do all the drawing, but it looks FAB. I’m more of a traditional planner kind of girl personally. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • fattymccupcakes February 3, 2017 / 4:01 pm

        I guess if you’re artistically inclined, it’s probably worth the time and fun. I just don’t have time for that. I’m a harried-sticky-note-everywhere kinda girl.

        Liked by 1 person

        • anhistorianabouttown February 3, 2017 / 10:14 pm

          If you want to see very to point bullet journals, Google “minimalist bullet journals”! Some are no more work than a regular planner- a page a day with just a title. I do have a Kate Spade planner for long term, my bullet journal for day to day, a happy planner for work, and a recollections planner for Alpha Gam advising… I tell myself I don’t have a problem…

          Liked by 1 person

          • fattymccupcakes February 3, 2017 / 11:42 pm

            Dang girl!!!!! I need to be more organized!


  4. Nuria February 3, 2017 / 12:07 am

    Loved your post! I’m currently getting into using any planner again because my life has just become too hectic otherwise 🙂 But I would love to try out a bullet journal. Did you use an empty note book to make your journal, or did you make it from scratch?


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