By now you've probably read the Bullet Journal website and watched the video. You may have also done some gazing in Pinterest and Instagram for ideas and inspiration or hung out in either the Google Plus Bullet Journal community or in the Facebook Bullet Journal Junkies group. If you haven't checked out the website yet, the link to it is here.
If you have checked out the website, you're probably pumped and now wondering, "Which kind of notebook should I use?"
That's the question I will help you answer in today's segment.
Which notebook to use?
Short answer: any that you have on hand or that you like best.
Long answer: there are so many that there is no one specific Bullet Journal to use, you can really try any and make it work. Of course, some are more geared towards being Bullet Journal ready (e.g. Leuchtturm 1917) than others. There are also many different kinds of notebooks such bound, leather-bound and spiral-bound not to mention other kinds of "notebooks" such as a discbound, Midori Traveller's Notebooks or Filofax which you will undoubtedly encounter when you search around for how others set-up their Bullet Journals. There is also the issue with size. Other concerns include the ability to sync them up digitally. To help you decide which of these to try I would suggest first asking yourself a series of questions. Underneath the questions and possible answers are suggestions based on the answers. To make it easier to navigate, here is an outline of the post's contents:
Questions to figure out what notebook to use for the Bullet Journal
1. What kind of notebook do you like?
2. What kind of paper do you like?
3. Is portability important to you?
4. Is the ability to plan events in the future important to you?
5. Is cost a factor?
6. Do you think that you will have a lot of collections?
7. Do you need to sync items digitally? (i.e. sharing with a family member, team or just like digital tools) Or want only a digital Bullet Journal?
8. Do you want to try Bullet Journaling in a pre-dated system? (e.g. a planner, calendar, etc.)
9. Do you have so many things to track either just personal or work-related that you're not sure if the Bullet Journal will be enough?
10. Do you use multiple journals already?
11. I just want to get started, what is the simplest thing to use?
12. What is your favorite notebook to Bullet Journal with, Kim?
1. What kind of notebook do you like?
(L-R: Graph composition, Moleskine volant (large), Leuchtturm (medium), Fauxdori, Semi-Kolon, Jr. Arc, Binder (small, at the back), Moleskine week on two pages (pocket), Mead academic weekly/monthly planner, Fauxdori.)
-Something I can move pages around in
-Something I can rip pages out of
(L-R: Graph L composition, Foray L lined, Leuchtturm M dot grid, Moleskine L lined volant, Ecosystem M lined, Moleskine XS lined, Markings lined pocket, Eccolo M lined)
Composition book : A popular option to start out with.
Moleskine :This is probably the most commonly known notebook besides the composition book.
Leuchtturm 1917 : This is an excellent choice as it already has the index and pages numbered making it perfectly ready to start Bullet Journaling in. The paper is also fantastic.
Picadilly : I have read that these are just as good as Moleskine but at a lower price. You can usually find these on sale at Barnes and Noble
Rhodia : The paper is excellent on these.
Ecosystem : Environmentally friendly, made in the U.S.A. and every page is perforated.
Baron Fig : Began as a Kickstarter project to create the perfect notebook with perfect dimensions.
Eccolo : I have a two-pack of these in the pocket size that I got from Staples. I like them, they're good for when I'm out and about and need to jot things down.
Field Notes : These are especially popular with men as they can easily carry these in their pockets.
Quo Vadis Habana : Thank you to Joe S for letting me know about these.
Zequenz 360° roll-up : Thank you again to Joe S for alerting me to these.
(L-R: Medium Leuchtturm 1917-sized Fauxdori & 2 Pocket Moleskine/Field Notes-sized Fauxdoris. I made all of these)
A quick search on Amazon results in these
Roter-Faden : Similar to a Midori Traveller's notebooks but has metal instead of elastic to hold inserts.
Etsy : Not a brand, but an offshoot of the Midori Traveller's Notebook, but many sellers also create custom sizes. I will be setting up a shop to do this as well. You could also make your own.
Something I can move pages around in
(L-R: Binder, Neoprene Staples Arc, Martha Stewart, Leather Staples Arc, Staples Jr. Arc, Staples Jr. Arc)-Discbound
-Filofax: I do not own a Filofax, so I will have to point you over to this video for more information. If you don't have a Filofax but are interested in getting one, I have read that the Domino is a good starter Filofax.-Binder
-Leuchtturm 1917 Springback binderThis is genius! I want one.Something I can rip pages out of
(L-R: Russell and Hazel Binder, Greenroom lined 3-subject, Moleskine XL lined volant, Staples Jr.Arc, Fabriano M dot grid, Ecosystem M lined, Leuchtturm 1917 M dot grid)-Bound
The last few dozen pages or so from most notebooks
FabrianoThese are glue-bound which means the pages fall out easily, so be careful using this one.
-All of the suggestions from the previous section
(Moleskine XL lined volant, Moleskine L graph cahier, Moleskine L blank cahier, Leuchtturm 1917 M dot grid, Semi-Kolon mucho spiral, Post-it sticky note, notepad)-blank
-combination of lined, grid and blank
-sticky notes Blank
(Semi-Kolon mucho spiral 3 papers in one with two dividers)
-Semi-Kolon (discontinued?) I have one of these in yellow. It is awesome. I don't use it for Bullet Journaling, I use it as a design idea mock-ups journal, but I could easily see it being used for the Bullet Journal with three sections e.g. planner, tasks, doodling, etc. -I know that there are other brands, but I couldn't find or remember their names. Please let me know if you happen across any of these rare gems! Notepad
(Target dollar spot notepads and Staples notepad)
- I like notepads too, I still use them even with having the Bullet Journal. I tried not to but I have dozens of them that I love and I use for lists and other random scribbles that I just tape into my Bullet Journal with double-sided tape. They're fun to look at when flipping through my Bullet Journal. It's pretty awesome having a system so versatile that you can continue to use what you love and still have it all together.Sticky Notes
-Same as what I mentioned with notepads. I use sticky notes all of the time. I'll jot something down on them and place them on my computer to remind me of something then I place them in my Bullet Journal as a keepsake. It's just what I do. -Use any sticky notes you have as you usually do then place them in your Bullet Journal, it's fun to flip through and see all of these random tidbits. 3. Is portability important to you?
(L-R: Moleskine pocket/Field Notes-sized Fauxdori, Markings pocket, Fauxdori, Eccolo pocket, Moleskine XS hardcover, Eccolo pocket, 2 Moleskine XS volant)
Yes-For your pocket
Eccolo pocket notebooks
If you carry a purse of a satchel you can also get away with carrying a larger notebook around 5.5 x 8.5.No-I would go with "large" Moleskine or medium Leuchtturm 1917 kind of size because it is just big enough for most people's needs, but not so small that it's a pain to write in. If you are in America, these are around half a letter-sized piece of paper. If you are not, these are around A5 size. Size charts for both here for sake of comparison.
4. Is the ability to plan events in the future important to you?
(L-R: Mead Academic weekly/monthly planner, Leuchtturm 1917 M dot grid)
Yes- Try the Future Log Ryder mentions. There are other alternatives as well such as the calendex, which is the whole year's worth of months mapped out on a two-page spread. Here is another example that Diana Rue shared on the Google Plus Bullet Journal Community (hers is probably my favorite layout of this kind). Basically, a lot of people implement some sort of spread into their Bullet Journal to help them plan for future events. In the photo above I tried out a spread last year to help me plan out events for the remainder months of the year. -Use a separate planner, insert, or booklet to keep track of future events and then migrate them as they happen to the current day your daily pages or just use the planner as your Bullet Journal. Here are suggestions for planners to try with the Bullet journal either using them as a separate book or having that be your main solution with Bullet Journal techniques within it. -Use a digital solution such as Google Calendar.No
-Then you won't need to modify or use anything else! Just use the Bullet Journal as intended.5. Is cost a factor?
(B-F: File folder with legal paper, graph Composition, Live Inspired notepad, Post-it sticky list note, blank notepad)
No-Then get the best you can afford that will preserve your memories. Here's a list of suggestions.Yes-I would suggest starting out with anything you have laying around e.g. legal paper, notepads, sticky notes, paper in a file folder. -Get a composition or spiral-bound book. -Print out your own pages and bind a book together. I love using Paperkit to create booklets out of their dot grid paper. -Picadilly are another good option.
6. Do you think that you will have a lot of collections?
(B-F: iPad, Staples Jr. Arc, Leuchtturm-sized Fauxdori that I made)
No-Use the Bullet Journal as shown in the website. Index your collections as needed, and if you don't need to migrate collections or will be okay with referring back to them from time to time then great, but if you do think that it will be a hassle continuously migrating collections, keep reading. Yes-Get another journal and index and number it. This will be your Bullet Journal for collections only. This will ensure that you will have plenty of space just for your collections. This is helpful if you need to refer to them often such as project details, or recipes. Another idea for this is a Discbound notebook system such as Staples' Arc, Levenger's Circa or Martha Stewart's discbound. This way you can have collections tabbed then you can add pages to those collections as needed.-Create a separate Bullet Journal for each of your collections. If you find or think that you will have many pages full of the same collection e.g. recipes, then consider getting notebooks devoted exclusively to these collections. It might seem against the principles of the Bullet Journal with "everything in one place", but it will also save you headaches further down the road. Speaking from experience here! -Create a special index-only Bullet Journal I can't remember who this idea is from, but it's brilliant. Create a notebook specifically to keep track of where collections are. Index it by volume of Bullet Journal and include the collections in each of those. Or, create an index with collection names, then flip to the page of the collection you want, say "recipes," then place the volume and page number of the Bullet Journal that part of the collection is in. -Use a digital system to complement your Bullet Journal.
A lot of Bullet Journalists use Evernote. Evernote can be handy for archival purposes as well, i.e. as soon as you are done with a page you can take a photo of it and save it in Evernote and you can search your handwriting.
Workflowy could also be an easy way to access information of where your collections are located, as explained above.
Another option is Indxd.Ink.
-Migrate your collections every time you get a new journal or as needed.When I finished my first Bullet Journal I migrated only one collection surprisingly and I just refer to the ones in that Bullet Journal as needed. I don't need them very often so I don't migrate them. That works for me. If you need to migrate them and don't want to have two books to carry around, then by all means go for it!If you have any other ideas I'd love to hear them in the comments! 7. Do you need to sync items digitally? Or want only a digital Bullet Journal?Yes-Notebooks that can be digitized
-Apps that work well with the Bullet Journal
I'm sure the Bullet Journal plays friendly with other systems. Keep in mind to use the right tool for the task at hand!
I would prefer a digital Bullet Journal only-Apps for iOS
Here is a beautiful set-up from Danya S demonstrating how she uses the Bullet Journal in this app.
Notes app with icons as demonstrated here.
You could create a note that would be your monthly appointments with indented tasks underneath that day that you would like to accomplish. For the days on this note, create a note link for the day with it's own note. Then when you reach that day you can move the tasks forward and Bullet Journal your heart out. Each day you would start on the monthly note, then click on the day to take you to the day note. Hope that makes sense. I will clarify later with another post and pictures!
This one has the perk of syncing with Evernote so you can see your notes everywhere-Apps for Android
Trello (Post about this coming soon!)
Let me know if you know of any other apps that I may have missed that you would use for Bullet Journaling. I've tried out dozens and I feel that these are pretty good, flexible and user-friendly enough to try using if you want to Bullet Journal with a digital system only.
NoThen don't worry about it.8. Do you want to try Bullet Journaling in a pre-dated system? (e.g. a planner, calendar, etc.)
Try a favorite planner such as:
Free printables (here's an example search on Pinterest).
Paid printables (You can find these in blogs and on Etsy).
Make your own inserts for either a discbound or to bind your own booklet
-No-Just use the Bullet Journal as intended then. 9. Do you have so many things to track either just personal or work-related that you're not sure if the Bullet Journal will be enough?
(B-F: iPad, Staples Jr.Arc, Leuchtturm-sized Fauxdori that I made)
No-Just use the Bullet Journal as intended then. Yes-Then have two separate notebooks, one for work and one for personal. If you need more, then go for it. Here is a helpful link on how Megan C uses her Hobonichi Techo to balance out her work life, Bullet Journal style. She and many others use two Bullet Journals, one for personal and one for work. -Get a weekly planner as well to help manage your tasks. For me, I need to be able to see what's coming up in the following few days to few weeks. I also like to make goals for the week. My current set-up is a weekly planner in addition to the Bullet Journal. This way I can see both side by side. It also allows me to see the week as a whole and each day I place the day's tasks from the weekly planner into the Bullet Journal to focus. Doing this everyday keeps me engaged because I have a history of planning and then never checking it throughout the week, but now with this system I have a much better balance between planning and doing. Others just create a weekly spread that they refer to as needed. -If you have so many tasks that you keep migrating and are becoming overwhelmed, try a separate master to-do list journal. I have an entirely separate journal as a master to-do list which I go through each week and place tasks into my weekly planner that I want to get done for the week. -Employ a digital system to help you with your tasks. Suggestions here. -It's trial and error in modifying the original system to make it work for you, and that's okay! We're all here to help each other out. Click here to go back to the questions10. Do you use multiple journals already?
(L-R: Moleskine XL volant, Foray, Ecosystem M, Moleskine L, Eccolo pocket, Leuchtturm 1917 M)
No- Cool! Then you are freshly primed for the Bullet Journal experience. The main idea is using just one journal to keep everything in, so if that's your motto, it'll work out just fine as it was originally intended, if not, keep reading... Yes
- Nice. Well, you can continue to use them with your Bullet Journal or modify what you're doing in those journals and adjust them to the Bullet Journal. For example, I have separate journals for Morning Pages and I used to have tasks in all sorts of different journals that for the most part live in my Bullet Journal now. Point is, if you have journaling journals, you should probably keep those as they are and use the Bullet Journal for tasks and events that you want to focus on and are actionable. Though you can also write down short notes from happenings that went on during the day, that's how I usually use mine. Click here to go back to the questions11. I just want to get started, what is the simplest thing to use?
(B-F: File folder with legal paper, graph Composition, Live Inspired notepad, Post-it sticky list note, blank notepad)-Any notebook that you have, new or used, that has some extra blank pages for you to try out the Bullet Journal system in -Even legal paper is good -Notepads also work, you could just try stapling them together as an impromptu, "I just want to get this freakin' started!" sort of deal. -Stapling paper such as legal sheets into a file folder makes for a good temporary solution. -Blank notesheet that you staple together. The beauty of the system is how easy and flexible is it to dive into.12. What is your favorite notebook to Bullet Journal with, Kim?
(Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid in a Fauxdori that I made with binder clips acting as a pen loop that hold the clip)
-Glad you asked! My favorite is the Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid in the medium/A5 size. It is the perfect width and height and I love the crack of the spine when I open it. I dislike writing down the page numbers when I could just get started and this notebook allows me to just dive right in. It also has a handy dandy index. I love it, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Try whatever you have now, then upgrade to a Leuchtturm 1917.
I hope this helped you figure out a notebook! I highly recommend investing in a Leuchtturm1917! They are already equipped to start Bullet Journaling! What's your favorite notebook to Bullet Journal in?
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