Seven things I wish I’d known when I started my first bullet journal



  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew


My first journal had a whole bunch of lovingly crafted spreads that I just didn’t use! When you first start out, there are so many ideas (looking at you, 300 BuJo Spread Ideas Buzzfeed articles!) and I felt like I had to try them all.

Daily drawing spreads, mood trackers, lunar cycle trackers,  meal planners – all things I’ve tried and then decided not to do, because the Bullet Journal is flexible to my needs. I love some of these spreads, and they look amazing, but the reality for me is that the moon is not a high priority in terms of getting my sh*t together, which is my personal bullet journaling purpose.


  1. Don’t worry if it looks awful


Mine looked awful for the first few months until I found a set of layouts that worked for me, and improved my lettering. If you’re really worried about it, I had great success with stencils early on. I’ve previously written about the fact that some of my pages are still butt-ugly but functional – they’re not instagram-able, but I need them, so they get to stay!


  1. Get a really good notebook


I know some of you have great success with less expensive brands like Flying Tiger, but over time I’ve learned that paper quality makes me happier – I enjoy writing on it more and I’ve been braver about experimenting with pigmented pens and paints in my journal since switching. I’ve worked in the Nuuna, Moleskine (the only notebook I couldn’t get on with was a Moleskine), the Rhodia, the Leuchtturm1917 and more recently I’ve been using Dingbats, Scribbles that Matter and my beautiful Crann Beag handmade sketchbook. For me, the STM and Dingbats books are way nicer quality, but there are a lot of different opinions out there, so feel free to experiment – here’s a curated Amazon list for you as a starting point.* Note to hoarders: use the ones you already have first!!


4. It’s ok to deviate from the official method


I used to write meeting notes in my daily spread but i ended up hating how messy it made everything. So, I moved to a separate monthly notes section. I used to constantly look up and follow the BuJo key and notation system before realising i was spending more time worrying about it than the actual task.  I used to avoid working with weekly spreads because Ryder’s method says monthly and daily is the right rhythm, until I realised I could alleviate the Sunday blues by planning out the week ahead.


  1. Pens can be really cool

I never cared too much about pen quality before I started my BuJo. Suddenly, there was a whole community of people using cult supplies like Zebra fineliners (I don’t like them), Tombow dual brush pens (love!) , debating Staedler versus Pigma fineliners (team Pigma) and my scratchy biro didn’t seem as exciting. Sidenote: this has been really bad for my wallet.


  1. You’re part of a fabulous community


The people I’ve met, the things I have learned and the support I have received from the bullet journal and planning community has been beyond my wildest expectations. It’s a place where people are accepted and creativity and uniqueness are celebrated. I’ve seen people share grief, challenges, mental health issues – and they are met with support from the community. A totally unexpected but very welcome benefit.


  1. It’s going to be awesome

Bullet journaling has made my life more creative, more peaceful, more ordered and more interesting – I hope it will do the same for you!


Thanks for reading,


PP x


*if you buy from my Amazon link I get a tiny commission – it helps me to fund my site costs so I can keep sharing with you.


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