5 Tips for your First Bullet Journal

Wow, can you believe January is already almost over? 2019 has been flying by! How have you all been doing on your resolutions this year? I know that this might be a time when we are all losing some steam on our goals and if you just started a bullet journal this year, you might be struggling with how to keep it going. I hope that these 5 tips I have for you today will help you stay on track!

1. Always keep your bullet journal with you.

If you don’t have your journal with you, you simple won’t use it! If you’re not used to using on a planner, it might be quite an adjustment to remember to refer to it or use it. But if you always have it with you - even if you’re not expecting you’ll need it - you are bound to use it more. That way, the next time you have a few minutes while waiting for an appointment, or have some quick thoughts while on the train, you’ll actually have a place to write it down! And maybe soon, you’ll be like me and start freaking out when you DON’T bring your journal out with you.

2. Don’t get too caught up in the supplies.

I say this with a caveat, because if stationery and pretty pens are what truly bring you joy and you are picking up bullet journal mainly as a creative outlet, go for it! But if you are way on the other side of the spectrum, don’t believe you are creative (which, by the way, I truly believe you are!), and are totally new to the whole crafting scene, then all the supplies available might just be overwhelming. All you really truly need is a journal and a pen. That’s it. And you can do SO MUCH with just that - so many lettering styles and simple illustrations, and even just drawing boxes with some drop shadows.

3. Practice pages before/separately.

Ok, again, a caveat - I know that some of you might be thinking, “This chick is crazy. Not only am I supposed to keep a bullet journal going, but I need a SECOND journal just to practice??” No, you don’t. BUT - if you are a bit of a perfectionist and find a blank page to be intimidating (it often is for me), it can be so reassuring to just sketch out a layout you’re thinking of first before you go in and draw it into your journal. Or line it in with pencil first. Not everything has to be perfect on the first try in scary black ink as I’m sure it seems everyone on Instagram and YouTube shows it!

4. Make all your weekly spreads for the month at once.

If you’ve watched any of my Plan With Me videos, you know that I always do this. I find it so much more efficient to do all your weekly spreads at once rather than one at a time. Sometimes we simply don’t have the time or inspiration at the end of the week to draw all those boxes and grid lines. Plus, it makes planning much easier because you can plan a few weeks ahead of time instead of just a few days.

I also like to stick to just one layout design for all the weeks in a month - it makes the setup go a lot faster, which is great because sometimes I find these pages to be very tedious to draw in. It will also make your journal look a lot more cohesive when you’re flipping through it later on.

5. If something’s not working, ditch it or change it.

In the end, bullet journaling is about finding a system that works for YOU. Just because everyone else’s journals has certain spreads doesn’t mean yours has to if it’s not relevant or helpful to you.

For example, one type of spread I’ve tried to force on myself for months is habit trackers. I love the way they look and the idea behind habit trackers. But when it comes to the day to day of using them, I just find it to be so tedious. I don’t really want to be going through a checklist of 15 things every day, and if I skip a day or two, just forget it because there is no way I’m going to be able to remember what I did three days ago.

For a few months, I just completely stopped trying to use habit trackers and I just felt so much freer when I was journaling. I didn’t have to worry about keeping track of things just for the sake of keeping track of them. After a few months, I decided to revisit the idea but with a twist - I turned the tracker into an illustration that wasn’t so nitty-gritty. It refreshed the idea and was more tailored towards my own style.

So think about any spreads you may be using that you’re not completely enjoying - is there something you can change about them to make them more fun or effective, or is it worth it to just ditch it for a bit?

There are my 5 tips for bullet journaling! I hope this helps you to stay on track with your journal because once you get into it, it can really improve your life. Comment below if you have any other helpful tips!