It’s been a little while since my last Bullet Journal post, so I thought it was high time that I indulged all of you BuJo Junkies out there! It’s no surprise that I am a huge fan of Ryder Carroll’s original system. That being said, one of the main reasons I love the Bullet Journal so much is it’s flexibility.
With a Bullet Journal, each new page is a blank canvas. You are never limited to a pre-printed layout. Each day, month, and year can be completely different and of your own making. This massive versatility is what has propelled the Bullet Journal to planner fame.
Today, I’m sharing my Top 12 Bullet Journal Hacks, complete with a list of my favorite Bullet Journal inspirations and resources. Are you ready? Let’s go!
TOP 12 BULLET JOURNAL HACKS & INSPIRATION:
1 >> INDEX ALTERNATIVES
The original Bullet Journal Index is simple and straightforward. When you create a new spread, list, collection, etc. you just go back and write the appropriate page numbers in the index. Although it’s simple, it is not always the most practical. Here are some great ideas to help you get more organized.
– Day 04: index or index alternative. I don’t have the luxury of numbered pages in the Piccadilly and I also don’t have the patience to write them! So my alternative to an index is colour-tagging my daily pages according to the month they fall in. For instance, all May daily pages are coloured in the same line on the edge of the page (grey tag) for that month. See top picture for how my bullet journal looks like closed with the colour tags. For my collections and random notes, I’ll write a word in the top corner of the page #bulletjournal #bulletjournalchallenge #decadethirty #handwriting #journal #journaling #notes #notebook #notebookaddict #organization #planner #planning #plannerd #planneraddicte #stationery #todo #writing
Day 26: Hacks. This is a small hack, but helps me to organize my index. I split it in half. I use the left side for all entries that are not dated. I place ‘journal’ and ‘morn (short for morning) pages’ where the page block is because I usually have many of those entries and need more room to write down the page numbers. The right side is for all dailies, weeklies and monthlies. I started doing this with my last BuJo because I found out that I sometimes need to flip back to a certain day, and with tons of entries, I forget what I’m looking for and waste time going in a loop. Before this I didn’t even index dated pages at all, but found out recently that it is necessary. It’s also kind of neat seeing how many pages I’ve made into collections and when the next dated page or spread occurs. Are there any hacks you’ve come up with that you love? Do share! :D #bulletjournalchallenge #bulletjournal #notebooklove #leuchtturm1917
A photo posted by Kim (@tinyrayofsunshine) on
Let’s see how this goes! My index system – colour coding. The way I see it, I won’t really have to sit down and tag my book every day. Just once a week – because I don’t use many pages in 7 days. An actual index never worked for me. Maybe this will? I’ve got sticky tabs that match these coloured stickers, so I can create sections in my filofax with the same colour coding system! I feel like this could be the key to being that little bit more organised. #wanderandsoul #planneraddict #bulletjournal #filofax #peacefulminddesign #leuchtturm #planningsystem #studyblr #organisedstudent #etsyshop #plannernerd #bujo
A photo posted by Georgie B (@wanderandsoul) on
While I’m still using the original index system, I also added some color coding so that I can easily flip to certain “categories” at a glance. Here’s how:
2 >> WAITING ON
I first saw this amazing hack by Kim (TinyRayofSunshine) and I instantly fell in love with it! You can check out her description in her guest post for bulletjournal.com.
19| Handy Lists✏️| #planwithmechallenge | A handy list of my online purchases this month! I may have a problem with Etsy! A photo posted by vy ngυyen (@vynguyen.plans) on
3 >> MONTHLY SPREAD ALTERNATIVES
For the first couple of months I followed the original monthly spread. It looks something like this:
I soon started to run out of room when I had several appointments and events on the same day. My solution was to split it into morning/afternoon/evening sections with a thinner column for my monthly goals and tasks:
Here are some other monthly spread hacks that I love:
Day 30! I don’t know why I did it, but when I got my official Bullet Journal, instead of drawing a quick last two weeks of October calendar, I drew November. I think it’s perhaps because I have so many plans for November that I needed to start wrapping my head around it. It seems like I’ve been prepping for this upcoming month for a while now because November is such a busy month at my job. I expect to be super busy!! #planwithmechallenge #bulletjournal #bulletjournaling #creativity #journaling #planners #artsandcrafts
#planwithmechallenge day 3️⃣0️⃣ #novemberprep Keeping it simple… Because simple is what I need in my life right now… My soul is in need of simple emotions. My head is in need of simple thoughts. My body is in need of simple workouts. I decided to block anything complicated away from myself for a while… To see what happens… To keep my smile #bulletjournal #stickers #journal #planning #planningsystem #planner #organize #yoga #yoganewbie #crossfit #crossfitter #pen #ink #archivequality #weekprep #bulletjournalchallenge #creativity #make #draw #write #life #pigma #pigmamicron #staedtler #leuchtturm1917
A photo posted by Jennyfer Plourde (@jennyferplourde) on
Day 2: my November setup. After moving from weeklies to strictly monthly and daily entries, I found I was relying heavily on my monthly view. And that sucker was crowded. I opted this month for a two-page spread dividing things by category for quick hunting. The expenses tracker is a true experiment as I’ve never tracked closely before. And I’ll need to play over the next two months to find a way to track course work on this calendar since I’m going back to school in January! #planwithmechallenge #plannernerd #bujo #bulletjournal
A photo posted by Andrea B (@gingy89) on
4 >> LOG WHAT MATTERS
I love to use my Bullet Journal to log what matters the most to me. I have logs for food, fitness, gratitude, memories, family trips, etc. Here are some great examples of Bulletjournalists creating logs for what matters the most to them.
Finally, here’s my Day 15 #planwithmechallenge post. I don’t know why it took me so long on this one, and by the time I got around to it, I’m five days over! But I’ll catch up here and there. I am grateful for so many things, but I don’t think about them constantly. This was a great exercise in thinking of everything I am happy is in my life and couldn’t live without. So here’s what I’m grateful for: My husband, @grouglas, my puppy dog Baillie, my wonderful parents, my brother, friends even if they’re far away, #YOGA, my creativity, having a good job, making money that allows me to do the things I want (like Bullet Journaling … I like to have lots of supplies!), time to do activities, the interest to do said activities, everyone at @steadfast_and_true, food, books, Bullet Journaling, COFFEE, a nice house, sunshine, fall weather, an education, the Bullet Journal community, Instagram, coconut water, nice clothes, music, art, human ingenuity, ability to move around an exercise, my health. So there you have it! Next post coming up … as soon as I get off work. #bulletjournal #bulletjournaling #creativity #journaling #planners #artsandcrafts #scrapbooking ❤️❤️❤️ A photo posted by Allison (@allieleora) on
Finally got around to setting up my food log collection for the month This is why I love the #bulletjournal. It’s there when I’m ready for it and doesn’t pressure me with empty pages, sections, or days #bulletjournalchallenge #planwithmechallenge #workspacewednesday #Leuchtturm1917 A photo posted by Kim (@tinyrayofsunshine) on
5 >> TRACK YOUR HABITS
Habit trackers are by far the most popular Bullet Journal hack out there. It is so fun to create a tracker and review your progress across the weeks and months. Here are some of my favorite trackers:
#planwithmechallenge Day 7: Habit Tracking I’ve changed up my habit tracker a bit this month. It was pretty tedious to draw out the full grid last month, so I decided to just accent the dots in my #BulletJournal to make a rough outline. I also quit calling it a “habit” tracker since some of the items I like to track are not necessarily habits ☺️ Oh, and I brain-farted on the number of days in October but in just rolling with the punches A photo posted by Kara | Boho Berry (@boho.berry) on
Day 20 • Using Color #bulletjournal #planwithmechallenge Prior to this month, I was using color by writing with one specific color each day and repeating colors when a new page spread started. This month, because I was implementing the monthly tracker, I decided to use black ink for everything, with 31 different colors for each day of the month. You can see how the color sometimes crosses over into other days on my tracker (and on my daily logs, too). I’m obviously a marathon Facebooker, since I go days without checking then spend hours at a time on the site. A photo posted by @faded_edges_ on
6 >> HANDY LISTS & COLLECTIONS
The possibilities in your Bullet Journal are absolutely endless! Here are some of my favorite handy lists:
A photo posted by Kacheri (@passionthemedlife) on
Day 19 • Handy Lists #planwithmechallenge #bulletjournal I keep these lists in all sorts of different places, including my Bullet Journal and digital apps. I am still working on #handwriting #handlettering – it would help if I didn’t lose track of what I was writing, though. “Weekly cleaning” contracted to “weeking,” anyone? A photo posted by @faded_edges_ on
Can you guess what’s going on here? A photo posted by Kim (@tinyrayofsunshine) on
7 >> GOAL SETTING
Here I go again talking about goals ;) I absolutely LOVE goal setting in my Bullet Journal. Here are some great examples of how to get things done! :)
So I’m torn about goals. Now, I don’t tend to have goals farther than a few years. I learned rather quickly that life is written in pencil, not in pen – so what I have is intention. These are my intentions, a mix of measurable and general feeling. I got lost in writing down these numbers for my Health goals and had to step back and remind myself WHY I’m doing these goals – I want to love my body. In the trends of measuring whatever data we can, I have to remember “to what end? How does this serve me? Others?” #goals #planwithmechallenge #planwithme #plannerlove #plannernerd #plannercommunity #planner #planning #midoritravelersnotebook #mtn #foxydori #fauxdori #plannergirl #bulletjournal #bujo #studyblr #studygram #productivity #priorities #projectmanagement #planneraddict #yellowpaperhouse #lists #todo #goalsetting
Day 4:#planwithmechallenge Goal setting. I don’t normally set goals, but I made this list in the plane ride home. They are important things I aspire to accomplishing not just this month, but there are ones I want to eventually become habitual. I put a yellow dot sticker on the edge so it’s flagged for me to look at daily. Remember they are ‘goals’ not ‘musts’ so I won’t beat myself up if I don’t accomplish every one, thus why I use the term ‘aspire to’. No pressure on myself that way
A photo posted by ~Elena~ (@weekendwife) on
#planwithmechallenge Day 24: How do I set long-term goals? I use a 2-page calendar spread in the back of my journal. I write long-term BIG goals here with check boxes so I can see what I’m actually getting accomplished (apparently I need to fill them in!). This spread was inspired by @prettyprintsandpaper ….thank you! #thejournalfactory #lifedocumented #doingitmyway #beoriginal #diy #makeityourself #journal #moleskine #moleskines #moleskinejournal #projects #moleskineplanner #bulletjournal #planner #planneraddict #plannerlove #plannernerd #plannergirl #planneraddict #stamps #washitape #bulletjournallove A photo posted by @thejournalfactory on
8 >> HAVE FUN WITH HEADERS
Using different lettering styles in your headers and titles is not only cute, but a great way to practice your hand lettering techniques. This is one of the only ways that I “decorate” my Bullet Journal and it’s good enough for me.
Doing some headers in my #bulletjournal I’m so excited for October #bujo #plannercommunity #planneraddict A photo posted by Kacheri (@passionthemedlife) on
Check out some of the header ideas I listed over on the blog for your Bullet Journal #bulletjournal #ontheblog A photo posted by Kim (@tinyrayofsunshine) on
9 >> DEVELOP A PLANNING ROUTINE
Having a planning routine is one of the things that has helped me stick with my Bullet Journal. Here is my planning routine followed by routines from a couple of my favorite BuJo peeps! When: Planning is a big part of my nightly routine. About 30 minutes before bed, all of the electronics go off and I spend some quiet time with my Bullet Journal.
- Sometimes I will journal a short blurb about my day or write down a few things that I am grateful for.
- I turn to my habit tracker and fill in everything that I accomplished that day.
- I write out the following day’s header on the next available line.
- I carefully look over any open tasks and decide if they are still worth my time. If they are, I migrate them to the following day. If not, I cross them out or move them to forward planning.
- I glance at my monthly spread and fill in the next day’s appointments/events.
- In the morning, I review the tasks that I need to get done and come up with a plan for my day.
- Throughout the day I record any notes, conversations, to-do’s, or new lists as they come up.
I also schedule in a mega-planning day near the end of each month. This planning day includes reflection on the previous month and goal setting for the month ahead.
05. My planning routine. My #bulletjournal is part planning, part reflecting #planwithmechallenge A photo posted by Kim (@tinyrayofsunshine) on
10 >> ADVICE FROM THE PROS
OK, so maybe we’re not “pros” but it always helps to take some pointers from someone with experience, right? Here’s some wise words for ya:
Day 6 of the #planwithmechallenge – fave planning tip! I tried the whole washi thing with stickers and pretty pics. Spent more time doing that than completing my tasks – that’s bad. I honestly used to get a little sad when my planner never turned out like most people’s. But then I woke up and decided sad is bad. Real bad. Just gonna do whatever makes me feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. And guess what happened that first week? I managed to complete three assignments several days before their due dates. THAT HAD NEVER HAPPENED. I could get some bad comments for this. I’m on some serious lack of sleep and a few flu tablets. #wanderandsoul #planneraddict #bulletjournal #ifilteredmyphotobutnotmywords #oops #embracemessy #sadisbad #plannerchallenge #washitape #erincondrenlifeplanner #eclp #dowhatmakesyouhappy A photo posted by Georgie B (@wanderandsoul) on
11 >> MAKE IT YOUR OWN
There are so many ways that you can make your Bullet Journal your own. I asked the wonderful members of the Bullet Journal Junkies group on Facebook what some of their favorite hacks were, I was completely overwhelmed by the variety of their responses.
12 >> JOIN THE BULLET JOURNAL COMMUNITY
If there is one thing that has propelled my Bullet Journal to the next level, it has to be joining the oh-so-amazing Bullet Journal community. Besides the Bullet Journal Junkies group, there is also the #planwithmechallenge hosted by Kim (TinyRayofSunshine) and Jessica (PrettyPrintsandPaper) each month over on Instagram.
Here are some of my favorite Bullet Journal planner accounts on Instagram:
Of course, there is always LOADS of inspiration over on Pinterest as well! As a matter of fact, I put together a special board just for all of you Bullet Journal fans out there. It’s a little bare-bones at the moment, but I’m adding contributors as we speak and I’m very excited to see it grow!
If you’d like to become a contributor to the Bullet Journal Junkies Group Board, simply follow the steps below and come join in the fun!
- Follow Boho Berry on Pinterest. (you have to be following me for me to be able to invite you)
- Send an email to email@example.com with the subject line: BUJO GROUP BOARD REQUEST.
- Make sure you email me from the email address associated with your Pinterest account.
- Sit back, relax, and wait for the invite :)
Holy cow! This ended up being a very long post, indeed! Hopefully you made it to the end and got some great new ideas to incorporate into your Bullet Journal!
Do you have any Bullet Journal “Hacks” that I didn’t cover here? I’d love to know about them! Drop me a line and share the love :)
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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.