Welcome to the first post of my new 2023 series on starting and keeping a bullet journal. This year will be my 10th year of Bullet journaling, which started when I watched this video. In this first article for the series we’re going over what you’ll need to set up your own journal. I recommend getting started now for 2023!
Choosing your Bullet Journal
There are many choices for bullet journaling ranging from a cheap spiral notebook that you probably already have in your house (don’t knock it, I’ve used one before) to the fancy expensive notebooks. Here’s what I’ve used, what I’ve seen around, and my long time favorite.
Composition Notebook/Spiral notebook: This is a solid choice if you are really unsure about the bullet journal system working for you, or if you think you might not stay with it. It’s a great way to start out, but it doesn’t store very well to refer back to. I like to be able to date and see the binding so it’s easy to grab and reference. (And yes, over the years I have referred back to my bullet journals MULTIPLE times!)
Moleskine notebook: This was my very first bullet journal. I chose this one with graph squares and it worked well for me. It’s not as cheap as the spiral/composition notebook route, and it’s just a little more narrow than my favorite notebook. But it worked well, and I’m really glad I took the leap and splurged on this one way back in 2014 because it is a keepsake. It has held up well.
Bullet Keeper notebook: I bought and tried this one for 2020, right before the world blew up. I used it until May, and then changed to a different notebook. This Bullet Keeper notebook is partially set up with a monthly calendar page followed by five laid out weekly pages. It was working well, until everything shut down and there was nothing to really keep track of. If you want a simple, partially laid out journal, this might be a good choice for you.
Official Bullet Journal notebook: I’ve never used this one, but wanted to list it here because it is the official notebook from the inventor of bullet journaling. It has a lot of cool features and I’ve heard the paper is great, but it’s just a little too steep of a price for my taste. (And, I don’t regularly use all the features it has anyway.)
Leuchtturm 1917 notebook: This one is my tried and true favorite. I’ve used it for 8 out of the last 10 years and am almost positive it’ll be my choice going forward. There are tons of color options, which makes it fun, and I love the paper. It’s like a steady friend to me. They are sturdy, easy to toss in my purse, and also fit into my leather notebook cover.
There are lots of other options out there like this one by Archer and Olive, or this one (which is cheaper and the one I chose for the second half of 2020 since I already shelled out money for the first half’s notebook). If you just scroll around online you’ll see a bunch of different styles and sizes. But by far, my favorite is the Leuchtturm notebook.
What to expect
If you are anything like me, here’s how your first year of bullet journaling will go.
- You’ll be excited to set up your first journal
- You might be tempted to research and buy fancy new pens (I’m not, but I’ve heard that’s a thing).
- You’ll look up all the beautiful works of art bullet journals on Pinterest. (You might start getting a bit overwhelmed mixed in with all that inspiration.)
- You’ll watch all the videos on YouTube (and maybe get a bit overly ambitious figuring out what your perfect mix of pages will be, what style you’ll use, etc). But be warned, one of the quickest ways to quit bullet journaling is to have way more pages and spreads than you need or will use. Make your goal this year to keep it simple.
- Next perfectionism might creep in and tempt to freeze you up because you want everything in your bullet journal to be perfect right from day one. (It won’t be, we’re learning and mistakes and messes are a necessary part in the process. Expect this first year to slowly improve, not start out or go perfectly.)
- Around the second or third month, you might start looking at other planners or go back to random bits of paper and sticky notes everywhere. Don’t give up! We’ll talk about modifying things if your life gets busy or overwhelming.
BUT here’s what to remember:
- Stick it out for at least the first few months (I’ll be here with you and this whole series is FREE and will hopefully be interactive, encouraging, and clear).
- DO NOT STRESS ABOUT PERFECTION (it’s a lie, you’ll never reach it, and it’ll suck away all your joy.)
- Keep it simple. (We’ll start with the basics only. As the months progress we’ll consider adding in other things and I’ll share ideas that have worked for me and some that just plain haven’t.)
Your Assignment, should you choose to accept it
- If you are going to try bullet journaling in 2023, commit to at least three months with it. (It will take a while to work out all the kinks and fine tune it to work for you.)
- Having the best of everything won’t make you a better bullet journaler. Buy what you can afford and use what you have.
- Start gathering all the notes and reminders that might be scattered everywhere and keep them handy so we can work them into your journal soon.
- Repeat to yourself “My bullet journal is not a work of art. It will be useful, helpful, and maybe even messy. It is not and never will be perfect. It is not meant to be pinterest worthy. “
Let me know if you’re on board, and ask any questions you have in the comments below! Here we go!
P.S. Scroll to the bottom of this page to subscribe to stay up to date for the latest posts!