It’s pretty safe to say that bullet journaling is one of the easiest and most creative ways to get your life in order. This organizational system created by product designer Ryder Carroll is meant to help anyone get their ducks in a row.
You can get your ducks in a row the way you want to. This means you can customize your BuJo in any way you like!
If you’re new to bullet journaling or are a BuJo enthusiast in need of fresh ideas, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we list down 29 helpful tips, tricks, hacks and tutorials to help you jumpstart or improve your bullet journaling game.
If you’re ready, let’s dive right in!
For The BuJo Beginner
Check out this primer on bullet journaling
New to bullet journaling and don’t quite know what goes where? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in that department.
If you’re a bullet journal beginner, we suggest that you check out this in-depth post we’ve previously cooked up before reading the rest of the article below. This post will help you get up to speed with the entire bullet journaling process.
Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to digest! You’ll get the hang of the basics in no time.
Take It Nice and Slow
Okay, now that you have a basic idea of how the bullet journaling process works, it’s time to let all that info sink in.
Take your time to familiarize the different elements of the BuJo like the index, logs, spreads, and collections. It might seem like a lot to take in at first, but don’t worry, there’s no rush to learn it all in one go. It's totally fine to take baby steps when bullet journaling.
Don't feel pressured to start doing fancy spreads if you're not ready yet! You can go with a minimalist BuJo spread for your first few months and then work your way towards a more detailed and artsy layout later in the year.
Remember, a bullet journal is primarily made to keep you organized. Get to know the system first and once you’ve got that down pat, bust out those fancy pens and washi tapes and start decorating.
PRO TIP: Create a pop-up legends tab!
To quickly get the hang of your legend or signifiers without constantly flipping back to page one, you can do this sweet little hack found in the tutorial above.
Here’s what you do:
- Take your favorite cardstock or specialty paper and cut it into a square big enough to accommodate your legend.
- Fold the square in half.
- On the left-hand side, write your legend or signifiers.
- Then, simply attach the right-hand portion of your card onto the inner side of your BuJo’s front cover (you can use washi or glue) and viola! You now have a nice little tab or pop-up reference card.
This is one nifty way to easily check your legend without flipping back to the first page each time.
Don’t feel pressured to create spreads too far in advance
Here’s something a lot of BuJo beginners don’t realize: doing your spreads too far in advance can actually take the fun out of bullet journaling.
For one thing, doing your spreads way too far ahead prevents you from regularly coming back to your journal. One usually loses inspiration when they do this.
Another is that you wouldn’t have a lot of room for miscellaneous pages. You’ll never know when an idea would pop up, so it’s always best to gradually create your spreads to make room for surprise ideas or inspos.
For reference, it’s best to do your monthly spreads just before the new month starts instead of doing everything all in one sitting.
Choose materials that work for you
Here’s the deal: you don't need a lot of fancy pens and notebooks to start a bullet journal. You can use any supplies you like as long as they work for you.
For your notebook, you can use one with ruled, dotted or blank pages. Ruled notebooks are great for those who love to write long journal entries. Dotted journals are preferable if you love doing spreads with boxes and lines. Lastly, blank journals are awesome if you’re a free spirit who loves to draw or sketch while journaling.
It also helps if your bullet journal has built-in, expandable inner back pockets. This is awesome if you like keeping small pieces of paper like receipts, Polaroid photos, post-it notes, stationery and the like. This keeps you more organized and prevents these little sheets of paper from slipping or falling off.
If you wanna wing this and go DIY instead, you can always check out this tutorial:
As for your pens or writing materials, you can use any of your favorite gel pens, brush pens, colored pencils, and markers! It’s totally up to you, as long as they’re functional and easy to use.
For the intermediate BuJo enthusiast
So you’ve mastered the basics and are now ready to take your BuJo game to the next level. Exciting times are ahead, my friend!
Here are some tips for the intermediate BuJo enthusiast:
Trace or map things out with a pencil first
Hate making mistakes and wasting precious pages? There’s a no-brainer way to prevent that. Simply map your logs or spreads in pencil first! This is especially useful if you're drawing lines, trying out a new style or are doing brush lettering. Trace them in with ink, erase and you’re done. Simple but effective.
Pro tip: Use these nifty tools to save time
Face it, not all of us have all the time in the world to decorate our bullet journals. That’s why there are time-saving tools like stencils, stickers and washi tape to help us out.
You can use premade stencils and stamps to create boxes and circles for your spreads.
If you find writing calendars and dates time-consuming, you can use stick-on calendars and numbers instead.
Washi tape also comes in handy if you want to create instant separators, headers or borders.
You can find a variety of these supplies and materials in most art supply stores. All you have to do is pick one that matches your theme and style and you’re all set!
Get creative with your bookmarks
It pays to bookmark permanent pages or spreads that you would likely use again in the future. Bookmarking saves you a lot of time and energy, so use it whenever you can.
Stick-on page markers are cute and super easy to use. These are ready-made and come in different designs, so all you have to do is stick them to the edge of the page you want to bookmark and you’re done.
Another awesome way to bookmark is by using washi tape. Attach the washi along the length of the page you want to bookmark, just like the picture below so you can easily see it when you turn your BuJo to the side:
There are other cool ways to bookmark your pages. Here are some of them:
- Use snipped-off envelope pages. Take an envelope, snip off one of the bottom corners, decorate and use it as a “cap” bookmark for your pages.
- Create page cutouts. This works great if you need to mark a handful of pages (like if you want to mark an entire month’s spread). Cut out a small shape (like a tiny square, rectangle, wedge) at the bottom of the pages that you want to bookmark. Check out the details on the tutorial above.
- Use color-coded highlighters. You can use a highlighter on the corners of your journal or along the edge of the page itself.
- Make DIY bookmarks using paper clips. This is a super easy hack that anyone can do. All you need are a bunch of paper clips (we love the rose-gold and silver ones!) and ribbons. Simply cut a length of ribbon--- you just need a short one--- and tie it onto your paper clip. Instant bookmark!
Print out photos and paste them onto your bullet journal
Since a bullet journal is pretty much like a scrapbook, why don’t you print out pretty photos and paste them onto your BuJo pages?
Pick a theme, print photos that match your spread’s color palette and then paste them onto your BuJo’s pages to add instant oomph and personality.
You can also put polaroid photos, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia. If you’re a fan of adult coloring, you can even cut and paste coloring book pages or watercolor art.
Set up trackers
Trackers are great if you’re intent on achieving something or if you simply want to keep track of your habits or activities. You can create habit trackers, mood trackers, book or movie trackers, expense trackers--- you can make one for just about anything you want to keep track of! The best part is that you can make one out of any design.
Take inspo from these creative weekly spread ideas
On a weekly spread slump? Check out the video above to get some much-needed inspiration.
For The Certified BuJo Fan
There’s still a lot of room for improvement and inspiration, even if you’ve been bullet journaling for quite some time now.
Here are a few ideas and tips to help you out:
It's okay to make mistakes
Behind every seemingly “perfect” spread are tons of mistakes. But there’s no need to stress. There are many creative ways to correct your boo-boos and even turn them into works of art.
Here are some of them:
- Use correction tape. This is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to correct mistakes. All you need is a swipe from some good old correction tape and you’re good to go!
- Tape two pages together. Say you’re making a two-page spread and mess up. Tearing them off would mean wasting not just two, but four precious pages. What are you going to do? Paste the two pages together, of course! Use double-sided tape or a glue stick so the pages stick together smoothly without any creases or wrinkles.
- Blot it out with black marker. This tip isn’t only easy to do, it can also turn your mistakes into a beautiful monochrome aesthetic. Here’s how you do it: blot your mistake out with a black marker then write over it using a white marker or pen. You can also use silver or gold gel pens to create a fancy effect.
- Use a white pen as a white-out or correction pen. White gel pens have a ton of uses! Aside from allowing you to write on dark surfaces, you can also use a white pen to “erase” small mistakes like typos and other intricate details. Once dry, you can write over it like nothing ever happened.
- Make a collage or doodle over it. Turn your errors into art by making a collage or doodling over them.
- Get creative with washi or stickers. If you’re not keen on drawing or doodling, patch your errors up with your favorite washi tape or stickers. You can also cut out and use plain white sticker paper to cover your mistakes.
- Use erasable pens. As the name suggests, erasable pens are, well, erasable! The only catch is that you have to allow them to dry completely before you can rub them off the page.
- Cut it out. Well, if none of these work, it’s time to take out your scissors and snip the errors away. If they take up about half of the page, don’t worry. You can use the remaining part as an extra page for notes and other reminders.
Make a mood board full of your favorite spread inspirations
Inspiration is everywhere, so make sure to create a folder or mood board full of your favorite spreads.
You can find a ton of these inspiration spreads on social media sites like Pinterest or Instagram. You can also take a screenshot of your faves and save them in a folder on your phone or computer for future reference.
This way, if you're feeling uninspired with your BuJo and need a boost of creativity, you can open your folder or check out your mood board to get your creative juices flowing again.
Don't be afraid to switch things up!
One of the best things about bullet journaling is that it's highly customizable. You can design it the way you want to and use whichever style works best for you. That being said, don't be afraid to try different ways to do your logs and spreads.
Some people like having spacious weekly logs whilst others prefer a more compact daily thing.
Don’t be afraid to play around and explore.
Check out these cool header ideas
There are so many ways to create bullet journal headers! Learn how to mix and match fonts, shadows, banners, other header decorations with the tutorial above.
A bullet journal is only as good as your commitment to it. For your BuJo to be effective, you have to come up with a regular journaling habit.
For example, you can start creating your monthly spread towards the end of the previous month or at the start of each new month. For your daily entries, you can start filling them in at the start of each day or the night before going to bed.
Dedicate a specific time of your day or week to fully reap your bullet journal’s benefits.
A reminder for every BuJo enthusiast
Here’s our final--- and possibly most important--- tip for every bullet journal enthusiast out there: stop comparing your bullet journal to others’.
We know, it's so easy to get jealous of other people's seemingly perfect spreads. But like every bullet journal out there, those “perfect” spreads took a lot of time (and mistakes) to make. So don’t get demotivated from doing your own bullet journal.
Just trust the process, consistently practice, and dedicate your time to making your bullet journal. As long as the system works for you, you're okay!
Well, that’s it for our ultimate guide to bullet journaling. We hope you had a lot of fun reading the tips and watching the tutorial videos!
Which tip are you most eager to try? Let us know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, share this to all your BuJo buddies and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. As always, don’t forget to do what you love and free your creativity!
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