18 Bullet Journal Tips And Tricks To Make 2019 More Productive Than Ever
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New Year's Eve is right around the corner, which means it's about time to start thinking about resolutions.
New Line Cinema / Via
I know, I know. Sorry for the reminder.
Why not make this the year you finally commit to bullet journaling? If you aren't familiar with the term, here's a quick breakdown of what I'm talking about:
Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed
Essentially, it's a combination of journaling and note-taking...but also
so much more. If you want more info before diving right in, check out this post.
I've been keeping a journal for over five years now, but lately the process has felt stale. So, I've decided to research
bullet journaling. Turns out, it's a simple way to reap the benefits of journaling without having to write paragraphs about your daily life — which is AWESOME.
To help you (and me) get started, I've gathered some tips and tricks on how to make the most out of the bullet-journaling experience:
journal you find aesthetically pleasing — you'll be more likely to want to pick it up and fill it out each day.
If you select a journal you love (before you've even written a thing in it), you'll definitely look forward to working on it each day. I personally love this colorful one that comes in a variety of colors and internal styles, and with an inner pocket.
bullet journal official website says, "The two main things to keep in mind are size and quality. If it's too big you'll never take it with you. If it's too small it will be impractical. Be sure to get something that's rugged enough to keep up with you." So, keep that in mind as well when you make your selection.
Get the one pictured here on Amazon for
$9.95 (available in seven colors and in 12 styles).
Buy rolls of
washi tape and stickers, because customizing your journal is half the fun!
I've always thought about buying washi tape but never actually had a purpose for it. There are
so many cute styles out there that you can use to make your bullet journal your own. This set from comes with 50 different ~glittery~ rolls for $12.99, or this adorable succulent set for $8.95.
You can also pick up some stickers to emphasize your plans (or lack thereof) like these that also include motivational quotes (1,000 stickers for
$13.95) or this set starring an adorable kitty and pig (12 sheets for $5.99).
colorful writing utensils, so you can color-code your lists to your heart's desire.
I've been using different colored pens for my to-do lists since I started working in media, so it seems like a no-brainer that I'd continue this system in my bullet journal. I love basic gel pens, like these from Amazon that come with 14 assorted colors for
If you want to take your handwriting in this journal to the next level, I'd also suggest picking up an affordable calligraphy starter kit. This one comes with 33 pieces and an exercise booklet, so you can really perfect your skillz. Get it from Amazon for
You can also get
really crafty and use watercolor paints to create beautiful headers and background to write on top of. Order a 36-color watercolor pan set for $9.20 to get started.
easy-to-use templates, which will help you create the bullet journal pages of your dreams even if you don't have any artistic ability whatsoever!
I looooove the way artfully crafted bullet journal pages look, but I have to admit that I simply don't possess the skills to put them together on my own. Luckily for me and my fellow art-class failures, we can buy pre-made stencils to make our pages look as gorgeous as someone who is actually artsy!
Get this 20-piece set from
BuJoCorner on Etsy for $8.
Create a series of symbols to distinguish the types of tasks in your list.
Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed
For example, you can write a bullet symbol next to things you need to do, an "x" next to things you've completed, the "less than" symbol over a bullet to note it has been scheduled, or the "greater than" symbol to show a task is being pushed to another day or week. But feel free to mix things up! I like using asterisks and squiggle lines in my notes (why not, ya know?).
Use your bullet journal to help yourself be better at adulting overall by tracking things like doctor's appointments and household chores.
@megnabujo / Via
I can't be the only person tired of juggling around dates when I need to make appointments to go to the doctor, dentist, optometrist, etc. You can create a layout in your bullet journal to map out the time frame in which you should be making these appointments and then turn to your calendar to note the date you've actually made the appointment for! So satisfying.
Theme some of your bullet journal pages around a specific topic like working out, self-care, meal prep, etc.
@cheapscaitcreates / Via
One of my personal goals is to really amp up my workout schedule in 2019. I currently go most mornings at 6:30 a.m., but I've been trying to branch out into going after work to specific classes. I know I'd feel more satisfied after pushing myself to go to a workout if I could mark it off in a beautifully illustrated chart. I can totally see this being motivating to compile meal-prep ideas for the week (and executing them), mapping out a meditation schedule, or simply tracking daily moods.
Make each monthly calendar super festive, so you can look forward to whatever is going on that month from Day 1.
@barbarahaegerart / Via
First of all, I
wish I had the skills to create something as stunning as this December calendar page (so thankful for washi tape and themed stickers right about now). Anyways! The calendar page in a bullet journal is typically used to map out each day's tasks. You'll feel more inspired than ever to get shit done if your pages look festive. Go wild for your birthday month with sparkles and a birthday cake drawing, deck the halls for Christmas, get floral-crazy for April...you get the drift.
Turn your pages into a minimalist's dream by using a simple design that even a first-time bullet-journal maker could master.
@loafnotez / Via
If the fancy pages intimidate you, take a more minimal route. Use plain black ink and do your thinggggg. You can outline each page with clear, clean-cut lines and a design that's more your speed. Remember: This is your journal! You can make it however you want, so if you live by the motto "less is best," let your pages reflect that.
Check out the various bullet-journaling hashtags on Instagram for a whole slew of inspirational pages and ideas.
Netflix / Via
While researching about this journaling exercise, I learned bullet journaling (or as the cool kids call it, "BuJo") is major. A simple search of
#BuJo produces over 2 million results. You can also check out #bujomonthly, #bulletjournalideas, #bujoinspiration, and of course #bulletjournal (which also has over 2 million results) for ideas on how to format your own pages.
Map out your spending and savings in a clean chart, so you'll actually understand where all of your hard-earned dollars are going (thanks, bullet journal!).
@farfalle_designs / Via
My husband and I are saving up for a house (scary — so adult), which includes a lot of strategic spending. The first thing I did was handwrite a chart to figure out how much we need to save each month in addition to each of our bills and whatnot. So, you can only imagine how excited I was to discover there are tons of easy ways to track spending via bullet journaling! Whether you have a savings goal in mind or you simply want to be more organized, this is a chart that will def help you out.
bullet journal to perfectly plan your next vacation (or to just daydream about it).
If you've got a case of wanderlust, why not plan out the ideal vacay using your journal? Create a beautiful bucket list, noting (in list form, of course) where you want to go and what you want to do while you're there. If you already have a trip on the books, use your journal to plan a packing list or an itinerary. You can also use the vacation section of your journal to track saving for your dream vacation or noteworthy facts about the location.
You might want to spruce up the pages by using these cute travel-themed stickers from Amazon for
Go list crazy by making (and keeping) as many as you want in your bullet journal. No one can stop you from living your truth!
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
There are SO many list options you can track in your bullet journal. You can make a list of everything you buy each week (or month, or year), stuff you WANT to buy, what you eat each day, every movie you watch and your rating for it, every gift you receive...and the LISTS of LISTS goes on and on.
this post for more list-spiration.
Set a single goal to track for the entire year on a two-page spread.
Sharpie / Via
As I noted, I'm really focusing on saving money in 2019 (wish me luck), and one of the places I know I can cut down on my spending is on fancy coffee drinks. Using my bullet journal, I can create a chart that maps out the entire year and devote it to tracking my Starbucks spending. Choose a habit you want to track or an area in your life you can improve daily and create a chart of your own.
Sign up for a
monthly sticker subscription box, so you can beautify your bullet journal with minimal hassle.
The Sticker Guru subscription box will deliver planner stickers (and bonus gifts!) to your door each month — just in time to start setting up the next entries in your bullet journal!
Promising review: "Getting these stickers is seriously the highlight of my month. It also helped me cut down on the amount of money I was spending on stickers, because I can make these stretch for pretty much the whole four weeks!! The bonus freebies are so freakin' cute and I love checking out the different shops they feature." — Lily
Get it from Cratejoy for
$7.95 a month.
printable journal to take the hard part out of decorating and customizing, so you can just focus on your own growth.
I'll be honest, after scrolling through endless pages of stunning bullet journal layouts I'm feeling a little intimidated about creating my own. This pre-made kit will handle the hardest part for me (and perhaps for you!). With one click, you'll be on your way to becoming a bullet journaling queen.
Get it from
LittleCoffeeFoxShop on Etsy for $27.
Work on your journal during your morning/evening commute (if you take public transportation).
paperandinkco.heidi / Via instagram.com
My biggest concern after diving into the world of bullet journaling was if I'd ever have enough time to actually fill one out. I'd recommend setting up all your charts in advance — set aside some me-time and have a fun night filled with coloring and drawing. Then, you can toss your journal into your backpack and actually fill out the updates on your travels. Easy, breezy.
And keep a
roll of correction tape on hand, because *deep breaths* mistakes do happen.
I like my shit ORGANIZED, and I assume if you're putting together a bullet journal you feel the same. When I was in high school and college if my notes from class weren't neat enough I would rewrite them. You simply can't (and shouldn't) do that with your bullet journal. Instead, use this godsend of a product to correct any errors you may make without ruining the beauty of your book.
Promising review: "I love these correction tapes! You don't have to worry about dry time like with liquid products. The tape comes out nice and smooth and perfectly covers all the 'oops.' Good design and I love the colors!" — Sara Briggs
Get a three-pack from Amazon for
Now that you're ready, let's get started!
And if you're just looking for the best general planner, here are the
best planners to help you start getting organized.
Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of
BuzzFeed’s gift guides!
Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed
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