Bullet Journal – In the beginning. 101.1

Bullet Journaling is not only fashionable but effective!

I have been asked to teach how to bullet journal in my local community hub because it is something that has become a bit of a hot topic and people have seen me, use mine.

I am teaching bullet journalling. So I had to have a long conversation with a teacher, on how to teach. Along side the course, I’m going to do a break-down on my blog because everyone cannot be expected to remember everything after just one hour. They can visit the blog and recap on the lesson.  There are going to be six lessons, for an hour each week. In this time I am confident that not only can I show how to create a bullet journal for each individual to personalise, but for them to (as one said) “Get stuff done!”.

Ryder Carroll developed Bullet Journaling through trial and error into a system that could be used by everyone; in 2014 he launched a Kickstarter project, which you can see the video below.


Since then the world has taken to it by storm and created various versions and layouts based on the original Bullet Journal. Alternatively, BuJo for short.

You can create a Bullet Journal in any notebook, but due to their popularity, you can now buy a ready to use version of the book with; lined, gridded, plain or dotted paper. Different people have different needs and styles. There is nothing stopping you from using your Filofax or equalling to achieve the same ends.

For example:

Lined is probably the most widely available kind, and you do not have to get an official Bullet Journal as they are available in most arts & crafts or stationary shops. Great for writing your daily memoir or taking lots of notes such as in a meeting. If you are going to use your BuJo mostly for writing reams of text, then a lined version might be the most suitable kind for you.

Gridded If you are a numbers person, then keeping those figures in-line, or being able to sketch measured designs might appeal to you. Having a grid to organise them is a great way to do it. These books are also very good for creating habit trackers.

Plain paper or drawing books are the perfect type for all your artistic work. If your diaries and journals are full of doodles to express your day to day events, plain paper is for you. These books give you the cleanest pages, allowing you to make the most of the white space around your additions.

However, my personal favourite is dotted. This to me is the best of all the above. The dots are light enough not to be intrusive on doodles and drawings, with some drawn in pen lines you can use it to get the perfect grid, and the marker points help you with writing in neat, even lines. The versatility you can get with dotted pages is unrivalled.

Size Matters

When it comes to Bullet Journals, size does matter. You want it big enough to get everything in but small enough that you can take it wherever you go.

If you take a rucksack everywhere then, of course, you can go A4 size, but for the most of us, this is a little large to put in an everyday bag or case. If you want to carry it around with you in your pocket, then there is nothing stopping you using A6 or smaller books. In fact, if you keep it extremely simple then this could work for you, just remember that you might not be able to fit in as much as you see in reference designs from Pinterest or in your browser searches.

The most common size of Bullet Journal seems to be A5. Small enough to travel with, and large enough to put those extra details in, an A5 Bullet Journal gets you the best of both worlds.

The first thing I recommend you do once you invest in your bullet journal is to turn to the back and do a “Pen Test” page. This is partially useful to see if the ink will bleed through to the next page. Most fine liners, ballpoint, and gel pens do not bleed through, but testing is always advised. There is nothing worse than starting a new book. Only to find out that the pen you bought bleeds on the next page. Ruining the overall look of your BuJo.

Tools and additional items


Pen, pencil, ruler.


Highlighters – If you have many categories or people to manage, then colour coordinating is an advantage.

Stickers – who doesn’t like pretty things? Alright, I have a stationery addiction, but they can also be helpful to make things stand out.

Washi tape – or paper tape. You can buy many different coloured & patterned tapes now. After you start decorating your journal with them, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

Post-It notes – these can be very helpful for trying out a new layout or just adding extra notes to a page. You can even secure them with some Washi tape to make sure that they don’t lose their stick and fall out.


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