Stay Organized with Bullet Journaling

I met up with my best friend for the first time in….gosh, months. For those of you who have to go without seeing family and friends, I don’t have to tell you how much I missed her. Well, as we were catching up (swapping stories and exchanging Christmas gifts) she gave me something I’ve always wanted, but never dared to buy for myself: a bullet journal. Or, perhaps I should say the fixings of one. See, as anyone versed in bullet journaling knows, there is no right or wrong way to craft a bullet journal, which means that there is no “one-size-fits-all” notebook, either.

Wait…hold up. What’s bullet journaling? I can hear you ask. Bullet journaling is an art form and organizational tool wrapped up in one. The short and sweet answer is that bullet journaling is meant to be an all-in-one planner/journal/habit tracker. Or, even more simply, it’s like a planner that you make completely from scratch.

Still clear as mud? Don’t worry about it. The books below will give you a walk-through of the terms, how to go about setting up a bullet journal, ideas for spreads, what the heck a spread is, anyway, etc., so I won’t rehash it much here. In the meantime, I hope you find some fun ideas to help you get creative and organized!

Let’s start with the obvious one. While I did say that there was no “one way” to make a bullet journal, the idea had to come from somewhere. And that’s where The Bullet Journal Method comes in. Ryder Carroll is the creative mind behind this special concept. Carroll shares and explains his very detailed methodology, from the symbols you use to the best ways to set up your journal. This is probably the most utilitarian title on the list, but if you’re like me, and want to learn all that you can about your new project or hobby, then I suggest starting with this one. Learn about common rookie mistakes and how to avoid them, how to write out your to-do lists, and how to plan for the future. Once you’ve come to understand the basics, then you can move along to some of the more “artsy” titles on this list!

Study With Me is aimed at the student bullet journalist. Staying organized (especially when in school) can be difficult at the best of times, so instead of despairing, why not make the whole process fun and productive and give yourself a planner structured to fit your needs? This little book will help you to get some great ideas to spreads, how to best tailor you journal to fit the life and requirements of a student, and keep things fun. Just like the previous title on this list, you’ll find all sorts of suggested layouts, do’s and don’t’s, and more. While this book will probably not be as helpful to non-students, there are still a lot of great tips and tricks to be found here, especially for the beginner.

So, it can’t just be me. Don’t you hate when you go to look up bullet journal ideas and tutorials, and all you see are “picture perfect” Instagram posts of humble-brag artistic masterpieces? Sorry, all…I didn’t have much time to work on my bullet journal this month, so I’m afraid it’s a little plain… says the influencer paging through a notebook full of pictures that each must have taken at least a week to do. Well, don’t worry–because with this book, you can be one step closer to being that humble bragger! I’m kidding of course, but the reasoning still stands–in addition to providing you with tips for goal-setting, organization, and time management, Journal Me Organized will also share with you some fun ideas for layouts and decorations for your bullet journal to help you stay organized and having fun! From getting started to making things look beautiful, this is a great book for someone who knows they want a bullet journal that is pretty to look at, not just efficient.

So, I saved the best for last. Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide is definitely my favorite on this list. It’s a book that perfectly balances form and function, providing readers with a very nice overview of the concept of bullet (or “dot”) journaling. Plus, it’s full of inspirational quotes, to help keep you motivated while you’re journaling! In addition to the basic spreads, there are even chapters devoted to more specific needs. Like, what if you wanted to use your bullet journal as a diary? What if you wanted to keep track of your spending? What about meal planning, travel, or health and wellness? Done, done, and done!

Erin

I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.