Bullet Journal ~ What it is + How it works

For the last 6 months, I have used a bullet journal. I was intrigued about this type of journal and decided to give it a try. In the past, I have enjoyed keeping an agenda, a wall calendar, and a personal journal, along with a gazillion number of lists on loose pieces of paper. 

I have shared many photos of my bullet journal pages on my instagram!
That's not even all of them ;)

What is a bullet journal?

The idea behind the bullet journal is to combine everything in one place. Instead of having all these different notebooks, calendars, and pieces of paper everywhere, I now use just one book! It has been truly a great help in keeping me organized and in the process more productive, calm, and happy!

After chatting with a friend that has been using this method for a while and visiting the official bullet journal website, I dove right in and started. That was back in July and I am now on my second bullet journal! 

What I love about bullet journaling is that YOU make it what YOU want

Basically,  it works because it is custom-made by me. I choose what to put on each page. As opposed to buying a completely pre-made agenda, these are nice and helpful, but there always seemed to be something missing for me. 

"The bullet journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less". Ryder Carroll, from the official bullet journal site.

What to use for a bullet journal: 

The type of notebook you use depends on you. You can use as little or big a format as you wish. 

For my first one, I chose a simple lined journal I already had for my first bullet journal, a simple notebook about 8 inches by 5.5 inches in size with a cute Katie Daisy art cover. I used my first bullet journal from July to October. 

For my second bullet journal, I picked up a Moleskine squared notebook. It is 5 x 8 1/4 inches and has squared pages, which is the main reason why I chose it. The paper is really nice too. I love it and even made a cover for it! 

How I set up my bullet journal: 

The first double page in my bullet journal is for the table of contents. Some people like to add that at the end of their journals, I prefer at the front. 

Each time I add a page, I number the bottom of it and then add it to the table of contents at the start of my journal. This works so well. Each time I want to look up something or add to a list, I look up its page. It's so simple and so great! 

I then add a month view page. I like to see the full month at once. At the start of the month, when I first create this page, I add things like upcoming birthdays or book club meeting. I then also use it throughout the month to jot down what I call "memories", things I like to remember for a specific day. It is really nice to look back on. 

I like to add a two page spread for each week. The look and set up of this has evolved. The weekly pages are my most used pages. I write down my to-do lists for the week on the right side and the seven days boxes on the left. I use little square boxes and check those off when I accomplish the items. I have used reminders on each day's box, for yoga for example, and different set ups over the last six months. 

I am a list writer and used to have little pieces of paper with my to-do lists everywhere. I also used scrap paper to write down books I wanted to read, homeschool ideas, sewing ideas, etc...It was not a good system. I was getting my ideas down on paper but often would loose the piece of paper or just plain forget to look back on it. It was messy and not helpful. 

With the bullet journal, I knew that lists would be a big part of it.

List of quilt blocks 

Budget pages, menu planning, grocery lists, these are all ideas of pages I have used. My daughter started her own bullet journal and so far she has a page with a list of all the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic TV episodes, along with little boxes to check off! 

I have used my bullet journal as a simple notebook, writing down my thoughts and quotes from books I read. I used it as my shadow work notebook in October, jotting down my thoughts from drawing tarot cards. 

I have used my bullet journal to brainstorm ideas, for example for my Etsy shop, blog posts, and Periscope broadcasts.

I have pages for the Farmer's Wife 1930's quilt project (see photo above) and a list of the crystals and stones I have, along with their healing properties. 

Crystals + Stones lists

Recently, I added pages for my nature study goals for 2016. I know I will also do a bucket list for the new year. I will be blogging about that soon!

All these different useful lists and calendar pages work for me because of the table of contents. For example, when I want to add the title of a book I want to look for, I go to the table of contents, look for the Books to Read page and its number, then go to  it and add the title. I can then use that list to put books on hold at the library! 

If you google and look at many examples of bullet journal pages, you might notice little icons on people's pages. I only use the little boxes to check off, but there are plenty of icons that would be useful, like these ones for example

You might see many beautiful looking pages with washi tape and other decorations. Again, I like to keep mine simple so I don't use a lot of that. I do add a little strip of colourful washi tape on the edge of my month view pages. Sometimes I add a little colour for fun, but mostly it's pretty plain!

More weekly pages

I love my bullet journal! I usually make a new week's page on Sundays and new month pages just before the month starts. I add pages for lists and other things as inspiration comes.  

I have my journal close to me almost all day long. I look over it during breakfast to see what is coming up for the week and month. I add things to my days or weekly to-do lists as needed. It has been a great organization tool! 

Weekly pages from August 

If you are curious about trying this, go for it! Make your bullet journal work for you, add pages that you want. It truly is a great custom made tool. Don't worry if you can't think of all the pages to create right away, inspiration will very likely come as you start using your bullet journal! 

If you are looking for more ideas and inspiration, I made a Pinterest board for bullet journal:

Follow Alex's board Bullet Journal on Pinterest.


  1. Thanks for this article and photos! I have that same "Happy Day" notebook. :) I've read about Bullet Journals on Emily Freeman's blog but haven't tried them yet. I appreciate your posting your link to this on the Brave Scopes page.

  2. I use me BuJo for a lot of the same things you do! Love it! It keeps me organized and lets me take my thoughts out of my head and onto paper so that I don’t have to remember every single thing. I love that when it’s such a busy day or week. BuJo's rock! :)

  3. Love how you have taken to Bullet Journaling, Alex! So awesome!
    Great post!


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