Artful Advice

6 ways to use a bullet journal

Plan, track, list, draw, be creative and more!

6 ways to use a bullet journal

Never let it be said that a bullet journal is just a journal with dots. There's a myriad of ways to use one. As you can choose between dotted, lined and plain paper when personalising a Papier journal, it’s important to pick the perfect pages for whatever you have in mind.

A bullet journal is the right choice for keeping your handwriting neat or creating a customised planner – as it's easier to draw straight lines and create separations in the pages as you please. And it gives you more freedom than a lined notebook because the dots are not as obtrusive, so you can be more creative.

Below are just a few ideas to get you started but the bullet journal world is really your well-planned oyster!

1. Create an index

It all starts here. Many people love using a bullet journal because it's a great way to create a bespoke system of tasks, plans and events. So if you number your pages (don't worry, you don't have to do them all at once!) then you can use your first double page spread as an index to quickly and easily see what months, to-do lists, plans, notes, etc. you have on different pages. An index is your guide to your journal. Fill it with as much or as little as you like. Keeping titles short and snappy will help to keep it clear, but it’s a space to express yourself too – tailor it to bring you joy each time you refer back and add to it.

2. Plan your way with a bullet journal

A dotted notebook is a great way to keep track of plans by drawing calendars that work for you. Whether that's daily, weekly, monthly, or all three, it's up to you. It’s best for your calendars to take up one page or a single spread, as that way you can see your schedule in one clear space. Weekly and monthly calendars are good to get upcoming events down so you can gradually prepare. Whereas daily calendars are great for little reminders and going into more detail about approaching plans from your weekly and monthly calendars. Thanks to the dots, it's easy to draw neat lines and separate the page where you want, so you can create the size and format of planner you need. And the best thing is that you can embellish it in your own unique style with illustrated headings, borders and more!

inside of a Papier bullet journal

3. Manage your to-do lists

Whether you use your own unique system of showing what tasks need doing and have been done, or go for the classic ticking a box, (and who doesn't love the satisfaction that comes from that) the dotted notebook is your best friend for keeping track of those important tasks. These could simply be things you need to get done at work, or maybe home-related tasks like washing clothes, doing exercise and cooking. Your to-do lists can also support your pursuit of longer term goals, like trying to eat healthier or learning a certain skill. Check-in with yourself each day to see how you’re doing and keep on track with personal targets.

4. Keep your books, box sets and podcast lists

Ever struggled to remember the name of a new show you heard about, or a novel recommended by a friend? You can now relax and write them down on pages that never forget. With a bullet journal, you can create your own section for such lists, jot it in the index so it's easy to find, and then tick off the ones you've watched/read/listened to and add your thoughts, or even your own review system. Then at the end of the year you can have a look to see which films you awarded the most stars/popcorn boxes/review system of your choice to.

5. Track your expenses

If you want to know how much you're spending and on what each month, you can create a budget tracker under expense headings that you decide on. It could be as detailed as noting down each and every thing you bought and how much for, and totalling at the end, or you could draw bars for each expense group and colour in or highlight as you go, to see a more visual representation of where your hard-earned cash is going. You can check out some more of our tips for using a finance planner here.

6. Fuel your creativity

The best thing about a bullet journal is that you can let your imagination fly. Flow with freedom in-between the dots, leaving behind cartoons, calligraphy and quick illustrations. You can also crack tricky equations and note down figures, with a style that's equally suited to jotting down numbers. Pairing words and doodles is a wonderful way to make to-dos and tracking your goals more engaging. The possibilities for planning with a bullet journal are endless!

Explore our collection of personalised bullet journals here and get inspired to release your creative flair. Just choose dotted paper when personalising, but remember you can always find planning pleasure on lined and plain too.

Spot your next bullet journal

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