Filofax Bullet Journal: Planning & Set-up

Ever wonder how to set up a Bullet Journal in your favorite Filofax? Today I'm sharing my planning process :)

Last month, the amazing folks over at The Goulet Pen Company reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in trying out one of their new products — a Filofax Domino. When I saw the gorgeous turquoise color, I immediately fell in love, and I knew that I wanted a Filofax Bullet Journal. But at the same time I had questions and concerns.

Could I use a ring-binder based system and still maintain all of the aspects that I love about Bullet Journaling? Would the rings get in my way while writing? Would I miss my beloved Leuchtturm1917 notebooks?

Ultimately, I was wooed by the supple, shiny beauty of the Domino and decided to give it a try.

Today I’m walking you through my thought process, and showing you how I’m planning to set up my very own Filofax Bullet Journal.

Ever wonder how to set up a Bullet Journal in your favorite Filofax? Today I'm sharing my planning process :)

Pre-Planning

The first step in setting up my Filofax Bullet Journal was to do a little brainstorming. I knew that the set-up process would be much different than a standard bound notebook. And I knew that I wanted to divide my Filofax into sections.

Once I had determined what things I wanted to include in my Filofax, it was time to figure out how to divide up all of that information. This is the final list that I came up with:

Brainstorming my Filofax Bullet Journal set-up

My Filofax Bullet Journal

With all of my pre-planning complete, it was time to get to work!

My first step was to create my own custom dividers for my Filofax. I wasn’t really a fan of the plain beige dividers that came with the planner, so I ventured out to Michael’s to find some pretty cardstock and scrapbook paper to create my own.

Creating custom dividers for my Filofax Bullet Journal!

Although I haven’t finished the dividers (I still can’t decide between the pretty paper and the hand-drawn black and white ones!), I decided to take the plunge and get to the important part — the planning.

I created some divider templates to use until I figure out what I really want, and dove straight into deciding what goes into each section.

SECTIONS

1. PLANNING

Do you love Filofax planners? How about Bullet Journaling? Today I'm walking you through my very own Filofax Bullet Journal Set-up!

The planning section is going to be the heart and soul of my Filofax Bullet Journal. In it, I’ll keep my Calendex, along with my monthly logs (traditional BuJo style), monthly challenge lists, weekly spreads, and of course my precious daily pages.

Due to the monthly vertical dividers (those little tabs up top), this is the only section of my Bullet Journal that will not have an index. There will be no need to number these pages since it will all be in chronological order anyway.

2. PROJECTS

Do you love Filofax planners? How about Bullet Journaling? Today I'm walking you through my very own Filofax Bullet Journal Set-up!

The second section is going to be for all of my project planning. The first page will be an index of all of my projects. I’m not sure whether I’ll number each page or give each project a number to keep them organized… we’ll see!

Within this section, I’ll have free reign to create all of my planning pages and progress trackers for each one of my ongoing projects.

3. COLLECTIONS

Do you love Filofax planners? How about Bullet Journaling? Today I'm walking you through my very own Filofax Bullet Journal Set-up!

Collections are all of the lists and logs that don’t really have a place in my day-to-day planning section and don’t necessarily qualify as projects. Again, I’ll have an index at the beginning of the section along with numbered pages to easily flip to what I’m looking for.

4. GOAL-SETTING

Do you love Filofax planners? How about Bullet Journaling? Today I'm walking you through my very own Filofax Bullet Journal Set-up!

The fourth section is where I’ll do all of my goal-setting, tracking, and progress reviews. Spreads like my Level 10 Life, monthly tracker, and future fitness trackers will all live within my Goal-Setting section.

5. BUSINESS

Do you love Filofax planners? How about Bullet Journaling? Today I'm walking you through my very own Filofax Bullet Journal Set-up!

Within the Business section of my Filofax Bullet Journal, I plan on having three vertical dividers. One each for my blog, Etsy shop, and YouTube.

The business section will house everything related to my (surprise!) business. Including things like stats trackers, inventory lists, post ideas, business planning, and my time log for each month.

6. TRAVEL

Do you love Filofax planners? How about Bullet Journaling? Today I'm walking you through my very own Filofax Bullet Journal Set-up!

The final section is going to be a place to house all of my travel information. I have been traveling a ton lately and it doesn’t look like I’ll be stopping anytime soon. The travel section will allow me to keep all of my travel-related planning in one place — like budgeting, itineraries, packing lists, and any supporting documentation that I may need.


After the six main sections in my Filofax Bullet Journal, I’ll have a section with lined paper for notes and additional dot-grid pages ready to be placed wherever I need them.

THE PAPER

In case you’re curious about the paper I’m using in my Filofax Bullet Journal, here’s some info for you. The dot-grid pages are actually a couple of A5 Goulet Notebooks. I followed Madigan’s guide for hole-punching and trimming the notebooks down into single A5 sheets.

In addition to the Goulet Notebooks, I purchased some loose-leaf A5 paper on Amazon (that’s an affiliate link – disclosures here) and designed my own dot-grid pages.

Do you love Filofax planners? How about Bullet Journaling? Today I'm walking you through my very own Filofax Bullet Journal Set-up!

Although I love the page design, I’m not entirely happy with the quality of the paper itself. It held up well during regular writing in a pen test, but when shading and coloring in it did bleed through a bit.

Do you love Filofax planners? How about Bullet Journaling? Today I'm walking you through my very own Filofax Bullet Journal Set-up!

For now, I’ll be sticking with the Tomoe River paper of the Goulet Notebooks until I can source a better paper to print my own.


I’m hoping to move into my brand new Filofax Bullet Journal at the beginning of the year once I finish my current Official Bullet Journal. Going through this set up process has definitely got me SO pumped up for the new year and I can’t wait to dive in!

Want to see her in all her glory? Check out the video I made over on YouTube or down below :)

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.
  • PiranhaPrinzessin

    Again, it looks great, like everything you do :) I’m really happy to see that you’re also doing a kind of hybrid – I fell in love with the idea of bullet journaling but always knew I wouldn’t have the time and patience to do it, so I also have a ring-bound solution featuring partly pre-printed pages.

    I’m going to watch your video tonight to get some more inspiration for my own system ;) Thanks for showing us!

    Greetings
    Nathalie

    • Thanks Nathalie! Hopefully you got some good ideas that you can use in your own system :)

  • Judy Hudgins

    Darn you! I was all set to get a Hobonichi for my ‘main’ planner for 2017 and use a 2017 from personal-planner to keep track of some big goals for 2017. And now I want to do a ring bound planner and have sections. Maybe go back to my ARC planner. Sigh….will have to think this through again.

  • Karli Kuharik

    I can’t wait to watch this later! I love the Fuschia filofax and really am considering making the leap, but my sturdy simple Leuchtturm has done me well and the cost difference is devastating. On the same note, I also am looking into moving to a Traveler’s Notebook system, so I need all the comparisons I can get!

  • Dani

    I have serious envy for the Filofax now! Think I may have to ask the other half nicely if I can get this for Christmas… haha

    • Isn’t it beautiful? I’m already dreaming about which cover I’d like next and I haven’t even started this one yet haha!

  • Kathleen RosePrairieQuilts

    I do have a question on how you are going archive your pages? That is the one thing I love about the book journal.

    • I’m considering binding my old pages into their own little notebooks at the end of the year. Possibly by section? Or topic? I’m not quite sure yet but I’m working on it :)

  • deecmf

    I love this option! It will be much more flexible for grouping and regrouping pages. And for me, removing pages if I made mistakes.=) But the downside is storage because it’s bulkier and I think a notebook is still more enjoyable to flip through.

    • Agreed! I’m toying around with the idea of physically binding all of my inserts into books at the end of the year… not sure how but I’m on a mission :)

  • Diana Maribel Medina

    You have almost the exact set up I have. I’ve been using a Filofax Personal size as a BUJO for about a year now. I print my own dot grid and cut to size. I did adjust the Personal size page from Filofax Personal size to Franklin Covey Compact size. Basically gives you an extra 1/2 inch width. It’s really a beautiful marriage of the flexibility of Bujo layouts AND the flexibility of moving pages around. Win Win!

  • G Doc Lewis

    Is the A5 dot grid you created available in your Etsy shop? Love it and would love to have

  • MJ V

    I have a 100% tomoe river journal and I love it to no end… I have been using it before Brian from Goulett ever mentioned it. I have been watching your videos for some time now, I really like bullet journaling, I love my fountain pen collection and how they look on the paper… I understand the 3 ring binder filofax kick and the fact that u can remove and add sections fresh.. but I really like paginating through my journal… I use it as my productive go-to, but also as my venting friend… when I have downs I can back trace on happy memories, sometimes even funny stories I register… filofax would take that away from me…. I thoroughly hope you could do both… I know it’s excessive work for you but… well… I don’t want to change – I love my tomoe river journal and its 246 sheets (492 pages)… at a great price.

    In summary – would u consider doing both journals for the sake of those of us who truly love our journals? I hope so.

    Are you reading and answering questions to you from us…? I see down below on comments and… I wonder…

    • I have a Tomoe River paper notebook as well… the Crossfield by Nanami Paper. I haven’t had the chance to dive into it yet, but I plan on using it as my next long-form journal.

      As far as doing both, do you mean that I should Bullet Journal in both the notebook form and Filofax form? You’re right, that would be WAY too much. I love sharing my process with you all but it is still my planner and I think I would go a little crazy if I had to double up on my planning routine. I hope that makes sense.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment :)

      • MJ V

        I know :( I just love my journal… and I liked watching u paginate through yours… I have used some of your ideas and even if i don’t approve of the change… ahem joke! … I am very loyal to what i believe in.
        So, I do send friends over to u for inspiration :) glad you have reached and stimulated so many ladies… I love your new hair BTW – awesome.. darker brings out ur features. :) okay – thank you for taking the time to reply.

        • MJ V

          You are right. :) I thought about it and I totally agree. Pioneering suits you and I’m sure you will do great fun things. Besides everyone else seems to love the idea… Plus you even gained new fan I see. Thank you for standing tall. ;) I appreciate you n all you’ve accomplished. Very cute mind set. Thank you for entertaining my thoughts. :) God bless

      • MJ V

        after much deliberation – I have decided that u sold out to a common bidder… u have an essence that stands on it’s own… all others have those simple minded planners where everything is already done for them…. seems there’s an obligation you feel must keep to Brian at Goulett because he gave u a gift…. (don’t get me wrong, I love this guy and Rachel – but they wouldn’t change what and how they are n do just because you sent them a top of the line rolling ball pen…) when their true nature is fountain pens…. YOU, your true nature is bullet journaling.. your own thing… not some filofax ideal some one else came up with… happy and in ur corner, don’t be seduced by that – be yourself, don’t change who you are and what u stand for just because there’s a bit of pressure… you can always respectfully decline and remain who you are – Brian is just the kind of guy who would understand n would not take it against you that u chose to remain… Kara from Boho Berry the bullet journalist…. n not who they or anyone else want you to become. …. Best of wishes for ya… and the tribe… I’m checking out from your grid… MjV –

        • I absolutely appreciate where you’re coming from. However, I don’t believe that falling in love with a ring binder and wanting to try it out as my next Bullet Journal is “selling out” to anyone. You’ll notice that I’m not using those “simple minded inserts where everything is done for me”. Instead, I’m making it my own and combining it with my love of Bullet Journaling. I have never felt any pressure from the Goulets (or anyone else) to promote any specific products. In fact, they are the ones asking ME what I would like to try, not the other way around.

          I’m sorry that you feel that I’m a sell-out but I’m honestly just enjoying the journey. I don’t see anything wrong with trying out a new product to improve my system. It may not work out the way I planned, but luckily I can adapt again and try a different approach if this one fails me. I’m excited to try though and I have a pretty good feeling that I’m going to love it :)

  • Megan

    Loved the video Kara! Can’t wait to see how the Filofax turns out – it’s gorgeous! That Pilot Decimo pen is beautiful (it’s on my wish list) and would love to see a review of your fountain pens! I am kind of obsessed with my Pilot Metropolitan and have been eyeing a few but not sure which to get for a second pen (and to start using some fun colors!)… Any chance a fountain pen review video could happen? Love to you girl!

  • Wrenaissance Art

    Wow, this post and Madigan’s at Goblet have really got me wanting to re-activate my old Classic model Filofax again! If only it weren’t for those darn anti-lefthander binder rings! lol
    Archiving options:
    Filofax make a storage binder for A5. It’s expensive and uses post binding–gets mixed reviews.
    I have a Leitz A5 2-ring binder. The holes don’t *quite* match, but you can fix the paper with a punch. “Ugly” cover, but the plain, smooth cardboard can be decorated.
    A Well-Planned Life blog has a post about using Franklin Covey storage binders (“classic” size) for Filofax insert storage. Seems like you can finesse it.
    Naked Binders make really great eco-friendly binders, but not smaller than US letter. :-(

    • Thanks for all the tips! I was looking through some different binder options for archiving but I haven’t really found any that I like so far. I’ll definitely be brainstorming solutions before it’s time to archive my first set of pages :)

      • punkrockprincess

        3 months later – i got a 2nd filofax for like $10 used on either amazon or ebay that i use for archiving and storing extra supplies. thinking about getting a 3rd now that i have so much to archive!

  • QUESTION: HOW WILL THE CALENDEX WORK AS THERE IS NO NUMBERING OF PAGES?

    Hi gorgeous,
    LOVE your beautiful style, and thankyou, as I have been learning bullet journaling from you for the past two months.
    I am so happy to see that you are going into a ring-bound system, as I LOVE my Kikki-K Personal Planner, and I also LOVED the fact that the bullet journal “is your brain” (love that quote from you!), but was unsure how to make both work together.

    • Hi Stacey! Thanks so much for the kind words and for your question! I’ve been brainstorming how to make the Calendex work without page numbers. I’ll keep you posted for sure when I move into my Filofax :)

  • Rebecca Betit

    A quick question – just want to confirm that the Filofax lays flat without assistance when you open it? The lay flat is my favorite thing about my Leuchturm, and I’m interested in trying notebooks as well, but don’t want to lose the lay flat!

    Also, you mentioned in your post the concern about running into the rings with your hand while writing, but then didn’t address whether or not that actually happens. Does it?? That’s one of my notebook concerns as well.

    Finally, I saw someone else already asked if the dot grid paper you made would be available in your shop – I second that request, because I would totally buy that! :) As a printable or hard copy…

    • Jenny Mikac

      Hey Rebecca! I use a Filofax as my bullet journal as well, and I’m a left-hander. I’ve had no issues with the rings because they’re fairly small!

      • Rebecca Betit

        Cool, thanks for chiming in! I’m right handed, actually, but I’ve never handled a Filofax in person, and was wondering about the ring size. Does yours lay flat as well?

        • Rachel Diamonika

          Hi Rebecca. I’ve just started a Filofax bullet journal and discovered the Clipbook lays completely flat. Hoping this helped.

  • Jennifer M

    Kara, I am SO excited that you started a filofax! I have been bullet journaling for months in a full sized binder, ever since I saw Caitlin’s Corner do Bullet Journaling for Students. I didn’t adopt a lot of her layouts but since she used a full sized journal I looked at it and thought why not?!? I am using a regular sized binder with looseleaf! Talk about cheap! I didn’t want to buy a journal because I don’t like mess and if I want to take out a page from my binder I totally can. I also like the binder because I can keep my important collections without having to refer back to different books! I’ve been working out how I will organize it and your video has helped me work through how I will manage the organization, thank you!! :) So excited!!

  • Valerie McChesney

    As much as I like the single book like journal, I was discovering that it didn’t work for me. I was exploring some other ideas, mixing the BuJo concepts with a happy planner and a couple of sizes of Arc planners… It was great to see this post. It’s so much more organized for different areas of my life. Thank you for branching out and continuing to be evolving and creative.

  • Marjolein

    Where did you get the vertical dividers? I love them!

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  • punkrockprincess

    hey kara,
    i’ve had this and your other filofax post bookmarked for ages and i love it and use it for inspo all the time, and i just realized i’ve been a total ass and never posted this – YellowPaperHouse Etsy makes the best filofax insert paper i’ve ever used – the paper has minimal bleeding, you can order blank, lined, grid, and dot grid formats (maybe others too), and they come in all sorts of gorgeous colors as well as white.
    also, are you selling the top-page dividers yet? i’m so in love with them lol.

  • Chiara G. Brotto

    Hi! you didn’t post anything abou the filofax sistem…do you still use it?

  • Lisa @chickybus

    Thanks for this post! I’ve wanted to try bullet journal for some time now, but have been hesitating. I bought a Leuchtturm 1917 last night, but haven’t opened it. The main reason is that I’m a former Franklin Planner lover. I always enjoyed having rings and being able to move and add pages.

    Anyway, I think your post has changed my mind about a fixed notebook. I really need the extra flexibility of the rings or perhaps the spiral bound notebooks from FF that allow pages to be added/moved.

    Thanks so much for this!