Journaling has a lot of benefits, like reducing stress and keeping you organized. There are all sorts of ways to journal, including a calendar diary, a blank book, or daily writing prompts. One method that’s become incredibly popular in recent years is bullet journaling. Learn more about this system, and get lots of creative bullet journal ideas to try.
What is a bullet journal?
A bullet journal is a book with pages full of faint dots in a grid pattern. It’s similar to a blank book in that you can turn any page into anything you like. But the grid of dots helps many people feel a little more organized and inspired. You can connect the dots to make calendars, tracking grids, and much more. Or you can ignore them and just doodle or create a work of art on each page.
Most people who use bullet journals enjoy the creativity involved. Many of them use stickers, templates, markers, and other stationery supplies to make their journals colorful works of art. But you don’t necessarily need to use a bullet journal that way. This system is so versatile that it can really work for anyone.
You can find lots of bullet journal inspiration by searching sites like Instagram. Tip: Try using the hashtag #bujo in addition to #bulletjournal when you search. This nickname is very common in the bullet-journaling community.
How To Choose a Bullet Journal
There are lots of bullet journals to choose from out there. (You might also see them called dotted grid notebooks, dotted journals, or something similar.) Make sure you choose one that lies flat when it’s open so you can easily write on the entire page. Also look for heavy-duty paper, since a lot of the fun of bullet journaling involves markers and colored pens that can bleed through thinner pages. Pick a size that makes sense for you: Do you want large pages with tons of room or something smaller that you can tuck into your handbag or pocket?
These well-reviewed notebooks are perfect for those who are ready to give bullet journaling a try:
Artfan Bullet Dotted Journal
If you’re not sure if bullet journaling is for you, try an inexpensive notebook like this. It’s small, at 5 x 8 inches, but the thick pages and lie-flat binding have led to more than 6,000 5-star reviews.
Buy it: Artfan Bullet Dotted Journal on Amazon
Flying Eagle Dot Grid Notebook
This full-size journal has a spiral binding and more than 200 pages, so it has plenty of room for any bullet journal ideas you want to try out.
Buy it: Flying Eagle Dot Grid Notebook on Amazon
Bullet Journal Ideas for Beginners
Ready to try it out? Here are some easy, basic bullet journal ideas for beginners.
Calendar pages are one of the most basic and common bullet journal pages. Use a ruler or straight-edge to connect the dots into a grid, making the blocks any size you like. Then you can decorate the calendar pages with drawings, stickers, and more.
There are lots of creative ways to set up a task list. Some people connect the dots to make tiny checkboxes. You can also make a single slash mark for each item, then add a second to create an X when you’ve finished the task.
Keep track of your daily exercise with a simple tracker page. If you like to mix up your routines, use different colors to indicate the various types of exercise you complete.
A budget layout is a very personal thing, so choose the style that works best for you. All that matters is that you stick to that budget!
Schedule pages can be very simple, or they can be more artsy and colorful. Experiment with both styles, and see which you prefer.
Tracker pages can be simple grids or something a little more creative. We love the sweet design of this red panda page!
Here’s another creative type of tracking page, this one for moods. Note that each flower petal gets its own color, depending on your overall mood that day.
Goal pages are another very common bullet journal feature. Some people prefer to keep them simple so they’re not overwhelming. Others use their goal page for inspiration, making them creative and full of color and life.
Once you’ve set your goals, don’t forget to track them! You might set up your tracker by day, week, or month, or simply track the progress you’ve made toward achieving each goal.
Combine all your habit trackers into one simple page, where you can simply mark whether you met your goals for each day.
Bullet journaling is meant to be a mindfulness activity, so be sure to include a page each month for documenting all the things you’re currently thankful for.
More Creative Bullet Journal Ideas
Once you start bullet journaling, you’ll be amazed at all the possibilities! Take a look at these imaginative ideas for inspiration.
Many people like to create a separate page in their journal each day to document what they need to do and what they actually accomplish. Spending a few minutes on this exercise each day is a form of mindful meditation and can be very soothing.
Get a look at the big picture with a year-at-a-glance layout. That color-coding is gorgeous and practical.
Teachers, have you tried using a bullet journal as a lesson planner? You might be surprised at how well the flexibility works for you!
Create a list of your family’s favorite standard meals. Then, draw from those ideas and set up a meal plan for the week or month.
Tracking the amount, timing, and quality of your sleep can help you see how it connects to your overall health. This simple sleep tracker is easy to create and provides useful info at a glance.
If you’re trying to read a little more, create a tracking page in your journal. It’s also a good place to record books you’re planning to read in the future.
How cool is this idea for tracking the books you read each year? And it’s really not that hard to draw if you use the dots and a straight-edge as a guide.
Be sure you’re meeting your self-care goals with a clever page design like this one that uses everyone’s favorite ’80s video game character!
Mind mapping lets you get ideas out of your head and down onto paper, in a somewhat organized fashion. You can refer back to these pages as you set goals and create task lists.
Planning a project in advance is good, and keeping your plan in your bullet journal means you’re less likely to lose it before you implement it!
Take a few minutes to think about your recent life activities and events, and to consider your current state of mind. This kind of mindfulness is very helpful at reducing stress.
If you like to keep track of what you’ve been up to on a daily basis, a bullet journal is a terrific option for that. Many people like to add drawings, stickers, and other creative elements to these pages too.
Capture the music of the moment with a playlist page! These are fun to look back on when the year draws to a close, helping you see the soundtrack that’s been scoring your life.
Embrace the flexibility of your bullet journal with a sideways spread! This can be useful for all sorts of bullet journal ideas.
Lots of bullet journalers like to create a title page for each new month, often with a theme they’ll use all month long. These colorful pages can help set the mood for the weeks to come.
One Line a Day
If a full journal entry seems like too much, try this easy page. All you need to do is write one sentence each day, capturing the mood and most important moments of the day.
Need to tame the anxiety monster? Try tracking your anxiety level each day so you can identify patterns and make connections.
Month in Review
When the month draws to a close, create a spread where you reflect on the highlights and accomplishments before you move on to the next one.
Trying to get a better handle on your finances? Use an expense tracker so you’ll have a clearer picture of where all that cash is really going each month.
Whether you belong to a book club and want to organize your thoughts, or simply love to write reviews for your own enjoyment, these bullet journal pages are always fun and relaxing.
You can use this page to document and illustrate one favorite quote, or create a whole collection you can reflect back on as needed.
Every blank page is just waiting for you in a bullet journal, so if you feel like doodling, then doodle away!
Each day has a highlight, so take a moment to jot it down before you go to sleep.
Prepping for a 10K or a marathon, or just want to encourage yourself to run or walk more? A distance tracker is a fun way to keep yourself on the right path.
Lay out your favorite exercise routines, then track how often you complete them. This is a good way to see if you need to balance out certain fitness routines, like cardio and strength training.
Turn a bullet journal into a cookbook, or just capture a favorite recipe every so often. Be sure to include your own notes on making the recipe a success.
We love this quick collection of favorite family meals! Printing them on separate paper and pasting them in is a brilliant touch.
Most of us never seem to drink enough water, no matter how hard we try. A hydration tracker might give you the nudge you need to meet hydration goals.
Travel Wish List
Use your journal pages to document all your travel dreams! You’ll appreciate having these pages when it’s time to plan your next vacation.
Speaking of travel, a packing list page is another bullet journal winner. Keep a standard packing list you can alter as needed for each trip—it’s a real time-saver.
As you prepare to travel, create lists of places to go, things to do, and other details that will help make your trip a success.
When the trip finally comes, don’t forget to take time each day to document the fun you have along the way!
Sometimes it’s nice to just have a place to jot down notes, worries, and anything else that’s taking up space in your brain. Later on, you can look back over this “dump” and use it to make more organized lists or charts.
If you don’t like the term “brain dump,” try an Unorganized Thoughts page instead.
Here’s another take on a “no-rule” bullet journal page. Keep it clean and simple so you can jot down whatever you need to.
It can be really fun to create an About Me page every so often (maybe once a year or so), so you can track your own personal growth and achievements.
Bullet journals can be a terrific place to take class notes to help you study later on. (Check out 7 Helpful Note-Taking Strategies here.)
Dream big on your bucket list! Some people like to make them for a season, a year, or even a month. Or create an ongoing bucket list with goals for your entire life.
When you need daily inspiration, turn to your affirmation page and remind yourself just how great you really are.
These aren’t just for kids! Create a detailed cleaning schedule to help yourself remember all those pesky household chores.
Get ready for the holidays or plan out your gift-giving needs for the year ahead with this bullet journal idea.
Remember all those VIBs (Very Important Birthdays) with a bullet journal page. We love the cupcake theme on this one!
To-do lists are great, but an Undo List can help you break bad habits. So clever!
Best Moments and Dreams
Capture the highlights and goals from a vacation, a season, or an entire year with this spread.
Love to draw, sketch, or paint? Fill your journal with your own beautiful works of art!