Bullet Journaling Tips and Tricks 2019

By Kendra Sue - July 15, 2019

One of my biggest hobbies this year has definitely become bullet journaling. I started last summer but didn't really stay interested because all I was doing was working. I didn't have a lot of other stuff going on so I felt bullet journaling wasn't really for me. Planning and stuff like that were for people who were busy all the time and actually had things they had to remember to do. Now that I'm taking college classes on top of having a more sporadic work schedule, I've found that having a bullet journal/planner has helped me way more than I ever thought possible. I've been wanting to make this post for a couple weeks but I needed to compile a list of things I've been using for a few weeks before I could post this.

This year I tried something different and tried to do a digital bullet journal on my new iPad Pro. I got it for the intention of drawing on it anyway, trying to create works of art digitally. It went the other way and I tried bullet journaling on it for the first time for the month of May. It was nice, and I loved the designs I was creating, but something was missing.

I'm a really avid reader, my book goal was 50 books this year and I've already hit my goal... and it's July. And while I usually read on Kindle, having a paper copy of your favorite book is something special. This is the same concept with bullet journaling. Having a paper copy, a real physical copy right in front of you that you can flip through is special. I can look back on previous weeks with no hassle, I can still fix mistakes by blanking out whole pages if I have to, there's still some diversity with paper journaling even if sometimes it takes a bit longer.

In this post I'm going to be compiling together a list of tricks and tips I've learned from doing this for the last few months and sharing some ideas for spreads with you.

  1. First tip is you don't need anything special to do this. If all you can afford is a regular lined notebook and a pen, Pinterest is at your fingertips. You can design minimal pages and spreads with just a pen if that's all you can really get your hands on. You don't need to go out and do what I did and buy a bunch of stationary supplies for this. (I only did because I'm trash.) 
  2. Make it your own. Pinterest spreads are great, and I take so much inspiration from them, but ultimately, it is your own journal. Your creativity and your individuality in the notebook is what makes it special and unique. What I've done to make it mine is including actual journal entries for some of my days, or "brain dumps." They're really common spreads and you can put whatever you want, I just happen to dump thoughts about my day into them. But make it personal, make it professional, make it for school. Make it yours. 
  3. YOUTUBE TUTORIALS, I cannot stress this enough, youtube tutorials. My favorite at the moment is amandarachlee, she's been doing bullet journaling videos for about two years and I think I've watched just about every single one. Not just for inspiration but for learning how to do things. If you have the same journal as the person making the video it makes it so much easier, but even just seeing things drawn out and given little tips within the videos really helps too and has saved some of my spreads. 
  4. Know the kinds of pens/markers/supplies to buy. Like I said, you can do all of this with just a pen and some paper, there's nothing wrong with keeping it minimal, and if you're not as creative there's nothing wrong with that either. But if you are looking into buy some tools to bullet journal I have a few recommendations that have been recommended to me by multiple sources. 
    1. Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen
    2. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen- Hard tip and soft tip pens, they usually come in a set of two. 
    3. Pigma Micron set- PN, 0.3, 0.8 are my favorites
    4. Pilot G-2 0.38 Pen - I literally use this for everything in my bullet journal. If I'm writing an entry for something this is what I use for it. Including daily trackers and spreads. 
    5. Zebra Mildliners- one of my most favorite purchases that I've made. I don't just use this for bullet journaling, I use these for school and work too. 
    6. Tombow Permanent Adhesive Tape/Glue Roller
    7. Staedtler Mechanical Pencil (925 05) 
    8. Crayola Supertips Markers
    9. Tombow Dual Tip Markers
    10. Copic Fineliners
  5. Do your research on journals. Going back to what I said about being minimalist but I don't need to repeat myself. But do your research on notebooks to use if you want to use a different set up. Some I know are the following dotted journals. There are so many more but these are just the ones I've heard of over the last year. 
    1. Minimalist Art 
    2. Dingbats A5+ (current journal) 
    3. Archer and Olive
    4. Lemome
    5. Leuchtturm1917
    6. Scribbles That Matter
  6. If you decide to go with bullet journaling there are a couple things I can recommend to make the process easier. I use an iPad Pro so I couldn't say what apps to use if you have a windows computer, or other tablet. The most tedious part of digital bullet journaling is the fact that once a file is saved as an image it really can't be changed unless you start over or have the original file in Procreate. This is part of the reason why I stopped. 
    1. Procreate- I've used this to help create my spreads digitally. You can use different brushes, erase, have different layers to keep things separated, 
    2. GoodNotes- This is where I would import my designs from procreate in order to use the files as a planner/bullet journal.
So far I think these are all the tips I have. I haven't been doing this very long so I can't really say how to do this as well as others might be able to tell. I've just known to do my research over the last few months and found places to gain my inspiration. I've also had to think creatively and come up with ways to make the journal my own instead of carbon copies from the internet. Even then there's nothing wrong with that! If that's how you learn and that's how you like your journal, there's nothing wrong with that. I've seen so many people recreate other's journals and I think it's really cool and inspiring to have someone look up to you so much. 

Thank you for reading, if you took any of these tips let me know, tag me on twitter because I want to see your designs and spreads. 

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