Paper & Notebooks

How to Get Started with Bullet Journaling

Today: a guest blog post by Majo Meneses about getting started with bullet journaling.

Bullet journals are increasingly prevalent. If you’ve heard of people who use bullet journals to map out their lives, you’re probably curious about how to begin. It’s very simple. A bullet journal can be used for a variety of personal purposes, such as tracking your tasks, priorities, upcoming events or even the books you’re reading. Journaling can also serve as a way to deal with mental health illnesses and other health-related issues. To get started, here is all the information you’ll need to guide you through the whole process of creating your own bullet journal.

What Is a Bullet Journal?

Bullet journaling is a list-making, recording, and planning system with infinite possibilities for customizations. Though there are several options for bullet journals, many bullet journalists choose dot grid journals. These tiny dots provide structure while promoting freeform drawing and versatility. Bullet journaling has increased in popularity since its introduction in 2013, and social media websites like Pinterest and Instagram are places where people can showcase their impressive artwork.

Benefits of Keeping a Bullet Journal

The popularity of bullet journaling comes from its effectiveness. The method is easy to use and open to all – you don’t even need a graph paper notebook to get started. Bullet journaling may be done in a notebook, on loose sheets of paper, or with a collection of rainbow-coloured jelly pens. Get rid of all the planners you’ve never used and learn how bullet journaling can improve your life.

Easily customizable

Bullet journaling’s easily flexible style is one of its most appealing features. You can write down everything in your bullet journal instead of purchasing a different journal for your everyday logs, or a school calendar, or downloading a budget app, and scribbling grocery lists on pieces of paper. To match your own aesthetic, use stickers, washi tape, and bright pens.

Allows organization

Disorganization is no longer a problem for those who keep a bullet journal. To keep your life on track, create hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly pages, colour-code activities, make to-do lists, and jot down the book review you don’t want to miss –– all in one place.

Encourages productivity

There’s nothing like taking anything off your to-do list to make you feel accomplished. When you see the things you need to do in front of you, it motivates you to do them so you can move on to the next big thing. When you look back on what you accomplished during the week, you get a sense of satisfaction that is priceless.

Ideal for keeping lists

Who doesn’t like having a complete, organized to-do list? Simply open your bullet journal to a blank page and begin jotting down movies to watch, your favourite quotes, plants to plant in next year’s garden, and places to visit. Relevant information such as passwords, birthdays, and contact numbers should not be forgotten in case your phone fails.

Helps tracking long-term goals

Consider all of your long-term objectives and write them down in your bullet journal. Bullet journals make habit monitoring simple: create a calendar that lasts anything from a month to a year, and cross off each day that you complete a new habit. You can evaluate your performance at the end of your time span.

Enhances creativity

Bullet journaling promotes creativity in a way that other types of journaling do not. Create a customized template to celebrate each new month, play with calligraphy, or draw a mood storyboard.  You’ll be shocked by how much fun you can have while creating your bullet journal, even if you don’t think of yourself as the creative type.

Key Supplies

Are you ready to begin your bullet journal journey? Setting yourself up for success is incredibly easy. All you need are a few basic items and you’ll be able to build the life of your dreams.


Quality paper, a faint dot grid, a durable front cover, and a back pocket for documents, receipts, and stickers are all features of the perfect bullet journal. Some papers often have bookmarks, which can be used to keep track of where you left off.


Choose your writing instruments. Bullet journal enthusiasts prefer fineliners, fountain pens, gel pens, brush pens, and highlighters. If you’re just getting started, start with a black pen, a few coloured pens, and a highlighter to see how they work.


A ruler is useful for making straight lines and calendars. Since you can see where you’re drawing with see-through rulers, they’re a great option. For quick access, look for a ruler that fits into the pocket of your bullet book.


Stencils are essential for maintaining a neat and symmetrical appearance in your bullet journal. There are numerous options available, ranging from circular habit trackers to uniform squares for creating regular and monthly calendars.

Washi Tape

One of bullet journalists’ favourite items is washi tape. These delightful rolls of tape come in an endless variety of colours, sizes, and patterns, making it easy to switch up the look of your journal. To keep your tape rolls sorted, consider investing in a wash tape dispenser.


Stickers aren’t just for children, after all. Bullet journaling is taken to a new level with the addition of stickers. Decorate your pages with fun stickers to help you remember important dates and events while remaining efficient.

Sticky notes

Plans shift, and writing something down in ink can feel a bit too permanent at times. Here is where a sticky note comes in handy. Write down any potential dates or tentative plans on a sticky note and add it in your journal.


It gets tedious to write and draw the same layout over and over again, so invest in some stamps to make creating regular and monthly spreads quicker and easier. They come in a variety of shapes, making it easy to personalize your bullet journal.

Pencil Case

You’ll be shocked by how quickly your array of pens and markers grows once you start buying them for your bullet journal. Consider buying a pencil case to keep all of your pens organized and accessible.


Watercolors are the perfect finishing touch to your lovely bullet journal. Portable watercolor sets make it easy to keep up with your regular sketch goals or add accents to calendars and lists when on the go.

Choosing the Layout for Your Bullet Journal

You can choose the types of spreads you want to use. What exactly do you want to capture? What do you want people to remember about you? Do you want to keep track of your accomplishments? Do you want to make a gratitude spread to help you be happier in your life? The bullet journal’s layout is built around these simple pages. Follow them, and you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you’ll be!


The index should be placed at the very beginning of your bullet journal. You’ll have page numbers for all of your important documents, such as monthly calendars and sets, so you can quickly find what you need.

Future Log

Tasks, activities, goals, and appointments for the coming months are included in the future log. This is where you’ll keep track of long-term goals and goals that you want to accomplish.

Monthly Spread

The monthly spread includes a calendar and a job page to keep you organized for the month ahead. Begin planning the next month at the end of the current one, and keep track of any important dates in the future log.

Weekly Spread

Weekly spreads aren’t included in the original scheme, but they’re useful for organizing your week ahead. This is where you keep track of your appointments, deadlines, and goals. Weekly spreads are often used instead of monthly or regular spreads. Choose what works best for you!

Daily Spread

The daily spread is intended for use on a daily basis. Write the date as your subject at the top of your list, and then write down activities, events, and notes as they arise during the day.


Collections are a catch-all category for everything you want to put in your bullet journal that doesn’t fit into the other categories. You can use your journal to keep track of projects, priorities, brainstorming sessions, and lists.

Write away!

Bullet journaling is meant to be a convenient and enjoyable way to keep track of your day and get organized. Additionally, it becomes a fun, creative hobby, even if it may seem a bit too much to handle at the beginning. At the end of the day, it’s about you. So, look at your mistakes as opportunities to learn, be imaginative, and have some fun creating it. Your bullet journal can be whatever you want it to be.

Paper paper everywhere

[An earlier version of this blog post was written on my phone in a rush and contained many mistakes. The number of mistakes has hopefully gone done after revision. See revised blog post below.]

After the paper computer [1]I used to use this paper computer with my students for a few years, but stopped using it because I wasn’t able to get a clear answer regarding copyright issues from the people who created it. and the paper watch there’s now a paper phone.

The idea of using paper instead of technology isn’t really new to stationery enthusiasts: This time it is Google’s turn to feature the idea of replacing tech with paper and this has been reported by many newspapers and news websites.

The paper phone kind of reminds me of IBM’s ‘Think Pad’.


1 I used to use this paper computer with my students for a few years, but stopped using it because I wasn’t able to get a clear answer regarding copyright issues from the people who created it.

Paper Engineering

Paper Engineering Darth Vader
Paper Engineering Darth Vader (Image © HackSpace magazine)

Well, the title ‘paper engineering’ certainly got my attention [1]A wiki I started in 2006 was initially a collection of cut out sheets from a German comic magazine. when I visited the website during my lunch break.

You can read more about paper engineering in HackSpace Issue 6, available for £4 or free as a pdf download.

Paper Engineering Paper Automaton (Image © HackSpace magazine)
Paper Engineering Paper Automaton (Image © HackSpace magazine)

If you like this kind of stuff, have a look at this Raspberry Pi related blog post or this micro:bit related blog post.

The images in this blog post have been taken from HackSpace issue 6. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


1 A wiki I started in 2006 was initially a collection of cut out sheets from a German comic magazine.

A Stationery Christmas

Now that the holiday period is coming to an end and things are returning to normal I thought I share my Stationery Christmas with you.

Hobonichi Techo

I mentioned previously that I would like to try the bigger A5 sized Hobonichi Techo this year, the Cousin. I ordered the A6 version, again, but changed my mind and it was too late to change the order. Luckily I was able to sell my A6 Techo on eBay without losing too much money. Even more lucky, my wife was looking for a Christmas gift for me and The Journal Shop had a Black Friday event, so the Cousin was available for a good price. Not cheaper than when ordering from Japan, but this way was saving time and hassle with customs. For a little bit extra you could even get a cover with the Techo. I picked the Hazelnut cover, not only because it looked good on the photos, also (to a smaller extent) because I really like hazelnuts. The Blue Gingham cover would have been my next choice.

One complaint I have is that the Hobonichi should have been packed a bit better. The corners of the diary look as if it fell down at some stage. They look worse than the corners of by Avec from previous years which all have been used for six months each.

The cover itself looks good but more shiny than expected. It is still fairly gender-neutral, less than expected. It reminds me a bit of the stationery that chains like Paperchase use to target female customers.

First impression:

With the Hazelnut cover, the Cousin isn’t much bigger than the A6 version with a zipped cover. The big zipped cover was one of the reasons why I often took my A6 Techo out of the cover when I took it to a meeting at work – the cover was just so bulky compared to the diary.

The Techo usually spends most of the time on my desk at home or at work, so the size itself is not a problem. The Cousin comes with additional weekly pages: One week per double pages. So far I found this a useful addition. I will see how the A5 Cousin holds up. My hope is that I can write down more useful, work-related information during the day as there is more space. Whether I can then easily find what I have written down is another matter, we will see.

In case you wonder why I don’t use my new Staedtler 925 15 with the Hobonichi: the rubber grip is too difficult to put through the cover’s closing loops.

Funnily enough Brad Dowdy seems to have switched to a Cousin, too, this year. You can hear his first impression in The Pen Addict Podcast #289, around 44 minutes in.



We also got a surprise parcel with Christmas gifts from friends from Singapore.

Fun fact: In the Nineties and earlier Noughties these friends and I were running the biggest Gameboy web site on the planet: At that time, I had several limited edition Gameboys and accessories the day after they were released in Japan (at least when the postal service was quick, which it often was).

The gift they sent to my wife was a Japanese magazine that came with a Pikachu case. The magazine itself is described as a “trend magazine for business person” and includes information about stationery. I thought I share some of the stationery items shown there with you.

The zeit Vektor folder seems interesting. I assume it can be stored vertically in your drawer for easy access, but you can also just take it with you.

Orgel On, the tape measure that seems to play a melody is probably more of a gimmick, but the masking tape for closing and opening envelopes seems like a good idea. There have been many pencils as dice products, so they don’t get me too excited, the novelty has worn off, but the colourful Rhodia cases look beautiful.

Non Stationery

Other, unrelated, things I found out during the holidays and found very exciting:

The Dutch have caffeine free Coke Zero. How cool is that‽

..and Munich’s Develey brand is selling a sauce in Germany that tastes very similar to McDonald’s sauce on the Big Tasty. I am quite sure that when I was still living in Germany the McDonald’s sauces there were made by Develey, so this one might even be made in the same factory as the real one.

The images from Dime magazine have been taken from the September 2017 issue. I believe that their use falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.