Bullet Journal: Bring Mindfulness Into Your Daily Life

Bring more mindfulness & gratitude into your daily life with a Bullet Journal! Here's how I did it.

Hello Lovelies! I’ve been teasing this bullet journal post for a while now, huh? Well, the day has finally arrived and I’m so excited to share a look inside my bullet journal with you!

>> Update! I just wrote a follow-up post to this one here… Go check it out when you’re done ;)

First things first, if you haven’t ever heard of a bullet journal, you should check out the video below to get a general idea of how the system works:

Ok, so you get the general idea, right? Yay!

Now, if you know me at all you will know that I am a sucker for pretty things. So, when it came time to start my own bullet journal, I wanted it to be more than just a black and white list of tasks & events. I wanted my bullet journal to be a place where I could doodle, plan, and journal to my heart’s content.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Bring more mindfulness & gratitude into your daily life with a Bullet Journal! Here's how I did it.

HOW I BULLET JOURNAL:

1. THE NOTEBOOK:

When I first decided that I wanted to start my own bullet journal, I went out and bought a pretty pretty notebook from my local office supply store.

While I knew that I wanted to have grid paper for doodling, I also wanted a notebook that was pretty on the outside. Unfortunately, there was no such combination there and I ended up going with a pretty pink notebook with regular old lined paper.

After about a week with my pink notebook, I got really frustrated with my system. I realized that I REALLY wanted grid paper to keep everything looking nice and neat. Also, the paper itself was not the best quality, so if I used anything other than a regular ball-point pen, it would bleed through the paper. That just wasn’t going to work for me.

After doing some extensive research online, I found the solution to my problem on Amazon. Enter the *Leuchtturm1917 notebook. This notebook has it all! Here’s some specs for you:

  • Dot Grid, acid-free, bleed-proof paper
  • Hardcover (comes in pretty colors!)
  • Elastic band closure
  • Two color-coordinated page markers
  • A back pocket for storing receipts, etc.
  • 249 pre-numbered pages
  • A table of contents/index section at the beginning

Bring more mindfulness & gratitude into your daily life with a Bullet Journal! Here's how I did it.

At $18, this definitely wasn’t the cheapest option out there, but let me tell you — I could not be happier with this notebook! I’m now able to use any pen or marker of my choice without worrying about bleed-through. Plus, with the pre-numbered pages I don’t have to go through the daunting task of numbering the whole notebook.

* This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love! (Learn more here)

2. THE SETUP:

For my bullet journal, I chose to use the standard task and event markers. Here’s how I set up the first few pages in my notebook:

Bring more mindfulness & gratitude into your daily life with a Bullet Journal! Here's how I did it.

One thing that I absolutely love about the bullet journal system is how flexible it is. I’m never stuck with any single layout design. I can also dedicate as much (or as little) space as I want to any single day. Here are some examples of my daily layouts:

Bring more mindfulness & gratitude into your daily life with a Bullet Journal! Here's how I did it.

3. DAILY USE:

In addition to being my planner and task tracker, I also keep track of lists in my bullet journal. I love to keep a running list of future goals, books I want to read, and any notes I take all in one tidy place.

Bring more mindfulness & gratitude into your daily life with a Bullet Journal! Here's how I did it.

That is where the magic really happens with the bullet journal. Whatever it is that you want to write down, just turn to the next blank page and get to writing. Then you just index that new page at the beginning and you are good to go!

4. JOURNALING WITH MINDFULNESS & GRATITUDE:

Probably my favorite part about the bullet journal system is that it allows me to journal and doodle to my heart’s content. There are no space restrictions here and I love that!

I love filling my journal up with inspirational quotes, fun doodles, and expressions of gratitude! I love how each new blank page is a way for me to express myself in a new and different way.

Even better, I love looking back through my journal and getting an awesome reminder of the things I have done and what I have to be grateful for.

Bring more mindfulness & gratitude into your daily life with a Bullet Journal! Here's how I did it.


So there you have it! I’m looking forward to filling up the pages of my first bullet journal and I will definitely keep you updated with my progress and any changes that I make. I’m even thinking about doing a Bullet Journal video for you to walk you through my whole journal once I have a few months in the bag.

As a special thank you for making it all the way to the end today, I have an awesome gift for you! I got such amazing feedback from my gratitude page last week, that I decided to doodle up  a free printable for you to fill in and color yourself :) Click the image below to download now! 

Free gratitude printable available @ bohoberry.com

Kara Benz
Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.
 photo Post Signature_zpsff978za9.png
  • I adore this and what a great way to inspire, motivate, organize, and plan all at the same time!

    • Thank you Nichole! That is what I love about the bullet journal… it really is a blank canvas and I love keeping everything in one place :)

  • Great post! As a fellow blogger.. I NEED this in my life. I actually bookmarked you and if I do a bullet journal myself I am linking to this awesome post!

    • I’m so glad you found the post useful, Asheli! Thanks for visiting & commenting :)

  • Marie Wintzer

    Love it, Kara. The aesthetics of it too, your drawings, unique style, handwriting, colours… I becomes a real book, so precious in many ways. Great job!

    • Thank you, Marie! I’m planning a video walkthrough once I get a couple of months under my belt :) I plan on having a whole collection of these to look back on one day :)

  • I love this idea! I may have to try it myself. I love journals (as in buying them then never or hardly using them lol) and have a few just sitting around. Also I love your mandalas! They are gorgeous!

    • Thanks, Kara! I was the same way but with planners. I love to plan but then I would go months without using my new planner and feel like it was a waste. This way it’s all in one spot and I love using it because it’s pretty :)

      • I’m the same way with planners, and I think it’s because how they are set up doesn’t match what I need. I was actually just thinking a few moments ago I should set up my journal and really try it out!

  • Sam Gould

    Great Idea Kara, and love your journal. I really need to start something like this really want to start planning my weekly meals and with working a full time job, plus working for myself it would really help me prioritize tasks. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Sam! I’ve been thinking about including meal planning in my bullet journal too! That’s the beauty of it, is you can use it in whatever way suits your needs :) Thanks for stopping by!

  • I am such a sucker for notebooks and planners, this looks like (another) great one! I love how you’ve used it too.

    • Thanks, Zoe! I’m warning you right now, you might get slightly addicted to the bullet journal method once you give it a go! Thank you so much for stopping by :)

  • Carin

    Love this! I am curious though …what pencils/pens/markers are you using with your Bullet Journal, and would you provide a link to them? Thanks!

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  • This is fascinating! I’m really curious about giving it or something similar a try. I have a set to-do list system in my Day Designer but I do have trouble with keeping other thoughts organized and this seems definitely up my alley. I really enjoyed seeing your mandalas in your journal too, I’m just getting into coloring them for stress management.

    Thank you!

    Kindness is the best accessory,
    Rebecca
    http://rebeccakelsey.com/blog

    • Thanks Rebecca! The great thing about the bullet journal system is that you really don’t need to buy anything special to get started. If you want to try it out for a few days to see if it works for you, you can just use any notebook that you have on hand :)

  • I love this! I totally am going to try it!

  • Tasha

    Thank you for sharing your page with me (from BJJ FB page). It’s very inspirational!

    • My pleasure, Tasha! I post a lot of BuJo pics on Instagram as well :)

  • Such an inspiring post! Especially since I feel a little stuck in my filofax right now. I think I will take some time this weekend, empty every thing out and start with fresh new pages and create a bullet journal in my filofax – because I do love my leather beauty.
    All in all your blog is an amazing inspiration!
    xx, Ronja
    http://www.sothisiswhat.com
    {CREATE THE WORLD YOU SEE}

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  • Pia Akkar

    What did you do with the elastic band from you Leuchtturm to go diagonal and hold the pen?Looks awesome! I’m totally in love with your blog. Gonna read through it the whole morning :)

  • Amy

    This is very cool. As an extremely visual person, this totally jives with my organizational needs. I love your illustrations and how totally crisp and clean you’ve made your journal!

    I noticed that you have a ‘books to read’ list…what are you planning to do if you complete a journal but haven’t completed the items on these lists. I often have more books than I can finish in a 6 month period in a running list. Are you planning on migrating those lists? And if so, is it simply a process of copying those to the new book? Just curious to see what your process might be…you seem to be extremely well organized and thoughtful about this!

    Thank you for the inspiration and sharing your process (on this AND your Whole30)!

    • Hi Amy! When I make it to a new notebook, I’ll be transferring the lists that are important to me. For example, my “books to read” and “100 Goals” will get transferred but something else like “things I love” might not.

      I haven’t switched to a new book yet, but I’m toying with the idea of doing my lists and collections stating in the back of the book and keeping all of my monthlies & dailies in the front if that makes sense.

      Thank you so much for stopping by :)

  • Erin

    So, I’ve looked over your post several times and I love your layout. I do have one question. In your key you have an icon for forward tasks and a different icon for migrated tasks. What is the difference between forward tasks and migrated tasks?

    • Hi Erin! Migrated tasks are those that I did not complete when planned and re-scheduled them for another day (usually the following day). Forwarded tasks are those that I did not complete but moved into my future log, meaning I’ve decided to put them off until future months. Hope that makes sense!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Oh my god I love this! The pages are soooo pretty.. I’ll have to try making one myself, my OCD side will thank me!

    Find me on: RedheadedOwl.com

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  • Jamie Leija

    I just came across this post via Pinterest. I love love love what you’re doing! I clicked through your Amazon affiliate link and purchased a gray dot Leuchtturm1917 to match my gold lined one and hope you’ll still get credit! Thanks so much for sharing and I’m happy to have found your blog!

    • Oh yay, Jamie! I’ve been eyeing the grey one for some time now too! :)

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  • Sora Seishin

    Hello!
    Thank you so much for this! I’ve just discovered the bullet journals, so I’m still trying to figure it all out, and your post helped me a lot.
    Loved your blog, by the way. I’m going to spend some time here…
    Hugs from Brazil :)

    • You’re very welcome Sora! There’s a lot that can be done with a Bullet Journal so I know how overwhelming it can be… I hope you continue to find the inspiration that you need :)

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  • Megan M

    Wow! I love this idea, and your journal is so eye-catching! Can I ask how many days in advance you find you are able to plan though? I’m considering starting bullet journaling in 2016, but am concerned as a college student how well I’ll be able to keep track of future assignments because I’ve seen posts previously about it being somewhat challenging to try and plan out too many days in advance (because you don’t know how much space you’ll need per day).

    • Hi Megan! I usually just plan as I go (the night before for the next day). Any future appointments I just keep in my iCal calendar and then transfer them to the monthly page when the time comes. Hope that helps!

    • Ingrid

      Hi, Megan, I’m also new to Bullet Journals, but can I make a suggestion? I was a college student once, so I do have some expertise there. :) Since the bullet journal is so flexible, you can make pages for literally anything you want. Why not set up a page or two at the onset for each class? You could transcribe key dates from the syllabi (see what I did there?) if you have assignments up front or just leave those pages open to fill in as they are assigned. That would give you a place to “store” assignments until the day comes. You could also store professor’s or classmates contact info on those class pages. Or even keep track of your grades. Just an idea! I am making pages for my kids’ school schedules (field trips etc.) that are similar to your predicament. Cheers!

  • Alicia

    Hello Kara, I am in love with bullet journaling thanks to you. I have searched high and low for 2 particular things and have resorted to asking you for specifics.
    First, where can I locate the information for the Doodle of the day, how to draw the grid and where you get the list of what to doodle. Do you search for a reference picture or create from nothing??
    Secondly, the gratitude journaling. Is there a guide/prompt for each day to get one thinking?
    Thank you for the journal comparison. Good info. I am using the month of December to get my feet wet so I’m just using a spiral for a test run. Do you rise early in order to get your daily set up? I’m struggling a bit with that part but love the lists. My friends think I’m crazy.

    • Hi Alicia! For the Doodle of the day, I used prompts from @passion.themed.life on Instagram. If you go to her profile you will find a list of prompts there or search the hashtag #PTLDoodles.

      For the gratitude log there are no prompts. I simply write down 3 things that I am grateful for at the end of each day :)

      Here’s an overview of my planning routine. I get asked about this a lot, so I thought it would be easy to share if I had it all written down in my BuJo :)

  • Amanda Lunday

    So here is my question. Do you do “daily” pages every day – do you set up the pages ahead of time or just see where your to dos left off the day before, draw a divider and start there? Just curious.

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  • Jeniffer Sutherland

    First off I would like to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog! I look forward to new entries and also like going back and reading some of the old entries as I begin my bullet journaling adventure :)
    I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried keeping a bujo electronically ie. Microsoft oneNote on an iPad. Interested in any thoughts you might have.

    Thanks!

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  • Ann Rumble

    Hi Kara. I am sooo inspired to start bullet journaling. I came across it quite by chance when one of your posts appeared as a pin on my Pinterest feed last week. I’d never heard of it but was right up my street. I was very interested by it, looked at the original YouTube video then thought no more of it………for a few minutes.
    Then the idea of starting a journal started taking over my head. I am creative and love zentangling doodling, scrapbooking,making notes look appealing in work, colouring, painting mandalas on things like pebbles, wine glasses and stuff and I also love being organised so this bullet journalling thing seems to roll all that up into one.
    I love your whole approach. I love the way you write, your pictures are inspirational, it looks like something I could do if I had the idea and I think it’s just what I need in my life.
    I live in England, am married, have two children a boy 14 and a girl 11 and I work in an office. My creativity spills out everywhere, with everyone I meet so let’s see where this bullet journalling idea takes me……..thank you so much. Keep writing, much love.

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  • Hugo Cravo

    Hi, Kara! What do you do when you don’t have your notbook by your side and have to make an important note?

    • Hi Hugo! I have a note in my “notes” app on my phone entitled “Bullet Journal”. When I’m out and about, I just type a quick note in there and then transcribe it to my bullet journal when I get home. Hope that helps :)

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  • Holly Lin

    I have a question. Why the Dot Grid over regular notebook paper? What is it that makes it better, in your opinion? Thanks!

    • I find that the dot grid allows me to lay things out better in my bullet journal. It serves as a guide for my bullet points, indentations, etc. I’ve found that regular lined paper makes it more difficult for me to “line things up” if that makes sense?

      • Holly Lin

        Thank you! I bought one (a black Rhodia dot grid with pocket in back. It’s not numbered like yours, but that doesn’t bother me. I just number them as I use them), and I am loving the dot grid, too now.

  • Wendy Swank

    Hi all! I’m needing some help! I’ve decided to try bullet journaling but can’t make myself start! It was determined years ago, when I did a personality profile, that I am an overpreparer, perfectionist, and I have a hard time making decisions about things that I don’t completely understand! This sounds like a bad combination for bullet journaling!!!!! I have researched, studied, and thought,,,,and thought…..and thought…..about how to set it up! I’m thinking about starting with single sheet grid paper in a 3 ring binder and numbering the pages as I go so if I mess up a page, or change my mind, I can just pitch the page and not mess up my index. I know this probably isn’t the right way to go but I need something to get me started! I’m just afraid I’ll get discouraged and quit. Can any of you give a shove with some advice? Thanks!

    • Kaitlin

      Hello Wendy!! I just heard about this yesterday morning on Pinterest and I’ve been researching it ever since. I LOVE the idea of having a bullet journal. I keep track of everything and sometimes the alarms I set on the calendars in my phone don’t go off and I miss a meeting. At the same time, I’m also frightened I will mess it up, but I’ve been seeing so many posts saying when you start and you make a page saying Books I want to Read but you don’t ever end up using that page, you would just not put it in your next bullet journal. It shouldn’t mess up your index because you can just leave it in there and not use it at all. I hope this helped!!!

    • Ashley Lunday

      Hi! I just started doing this system in February. Let me tell you, it was difficult for me too. I did a lot of research, looked at others for inspiration, ordered EVERYTHING under the son, i.e. MULTIPLE sets of pens, brush markers, sharpies, fountain, calligraphy, etc. along with stickers, washi tape, omg you name it I bought it. I actually use a journal that is almost 8.5×11. I ordered the one everyone uses (can’t remember how to spell it) and it actually did not work for me. :( Maybe one day. Anyhow, I JUST started to get the hang of it. It is so overwhelming when you look at others and see how decorated they are and how cute and pretty they are. Yours will not look like that at first!!!! NOW mine does. You have to really sit down and think about what is important to you. Aside from tracking your daily tasks, are lists important, challenges, goals, habit tracking, etc.etc. There is SOOOOO much you can do you can get overwhelmed and that is what happened to me. So, I know I need my monthly spread, weekly and daily spreads to keep track. I have stickers for each member of my family. I also set up monthly goals that lead to yearly goals (it is a bit like mind mapping but not exactly). You will find what works for you. I love that doodle challenges so I do those. Also, I love the idea of pen pals. I have looked for a way to do that for years! So, I joined the writers alliance for 5 bucks. That is it!!! I just got my card and other items. I am now going to look up all of the fun stuff I can do and start snail mailing!!!! I track a lot of different things, so, I have multiple trackers. I came up with my own “20 minutes to clean” system for house work, study tracker for my teaching certificate, goal tracker for my monthly that lead to overall yearly goals broken down by the weeks in the month and then the quarters of the year. It’s insane but so much fun. If you dont like a page scratch through it! February was a bust for me so I used some of the failed pages to plan out my next month and off I went!!!!!! I hope to start getting pics up on instagram as well as some other fun things in the future ;) We shall see. One of my big obstacles is I am a journal person with extreme ADHD. I swear I have 100 journals laying around….empty. This is a blessing for me! I not only have my bullet journal but I also have one of those 2016 full size calendars (mainly for on the go stuff) appts. kids stuff etc. that I then transfer over and I have a tiny little one that I carry in my purse at all times. It all works for me. You just have to find your way. I hope this helps!!!!!

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  • Elizabeth

    Hi Kara,
    What kind of blank pen do you use? Brand?

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  • Pamela Wang Yee Lin

    Hi Kara,

    Will you do a review comparing Leuchtturm1917 vs Rhoda Webnotebooks (Both grid pages)?

    Rhodia is said to have a better page quality that Leuchtturm but not many people seem to use it for bullet-journaling.

    • I’ll definitely have more notebook comparisons in the future. This is one that’s at the top of my list for sure :)

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  • Helen

    Hej Kara, I need some help. I Bullet journal now for a while, but my index is to full. What do you do if your index is full?

    • You could create a new index on your next blank page :) Another trick in future journals is to split your index in half down the middle to double up on space :)

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  • Wendy Montgomery

    Love, love, love this. Thank you so much. I have never got bullet journalling but the way you explain it, I am starting tomorrow :)
    Thanks for the printable I shall enjoy filling that out :)
    xx

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  • Shirlina Harris

    Hi! I realise this is a year on since you started this project, and posted this, but I think you’ve covered it in a timeless way that it will always be relevant. I’m a person who likes to keep my yearly diaries, even if there are massive holes throughout, and they’re not all that inspiring, just because I like to look back and see what I was doing on a certain day etc. It’s not really a journal, but I love them nonetheless. After reading this post, I really am inspired to try bullet journaling in the new year. Thanks for the explanation and inspiration!

  • Cathe Tenorio

    Hi joining today and like you I’ve got bit by the bullet journal bug. I’ve journaled for many, many years I love the idea of combining both a planner and journal… However I’m not that creative do you have some tips to get me some inspiration. Thank you

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  • Sue

    Love this post! I just started “testing” my bullet journal and how i wanted to set it up and your blog post just set the inspiration in motion. Thank you. I am also going to be doing a separate bullet journal for one of my school classes. I go to school online and the class project recommends keeping a journal and because the class is Critical Reasoning it made perfect sense to use a bullet journal after reading chapter 1-3 of the textbook. So thank you again!!

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  • I’m in the process of getting used to my journal but it’s not going so well I’ve already started and stopped at least 5 journals and it seems I just can’t get into a routine – i’m more worried about making things pretty than to actually plan things and stick with it – hopefully soon I will be able to get it under control. <3 Love your work though and how far you have came since this post <3