I am going to admit that I have created a lot of terrible BuJo spreads during the time I was just learning how to bullet journal. And sadly, I had no idea why. But before I get there, let me back up a little bit… what exactly is bullet journaling?

The system organizes scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming, and other organizational tasks into a single notebook.

Bullet Journal. (2020, March 20). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullet_Journal

Aha! So by definition, the BuJo is made for creating order and accomplishing tasks. For a while there I kept confusing my BuJo as a place to create pretty planner spreads and trying to garnish them with stickers. That was a huge mistake. If you’re a fan of Reddit, you should check out the SubReddit ‘Expectation vs Reality‘. The realization of me failing so hard at this new system actually inspired me to create this spread:

See how easy it is to gain inspiration? Hahah! 😀 Ok, but all jokes aside, here are some tips for new bullet journal-ers that I wish I was told when I first started.

make a very dirty laundry list of things to do

Please excuse my lack of word choice, but when I say “very dirty”, I mean chicken scratch on a scrap piece of paper – not in the fresh, crisp pages of your beautiful BuJo. Write down every little thing that needs to be accomplished and don’t worry about what order it’s in or what the task is related to – just get it down! I found this to be a key factor because most people don’t already have thoughts that are organized… it needs to be written down, moved around, edited, and updated over and over again. If you want your BuJo to appear organized, then you’ll want to do some back-end work. You will thank yourself later.

decide how much info you want on your spread

Originally I thought I could just dump all the refined lists down onto a page and call it a day… but we’re not quite there yet. First you need to figure out what period of time your spread is going to capture. For example, is it targeted for the day, the week (which is most common), or the month? Do you want to show tasks only, or will you include notes, graphs, or infographics?

Knowing how much info you want to include on your page will help organize your content. Keep it simple. You will learn along the way just how much info you need on a single spread she what information is not required.

create a system

When you’re scrolling through Instagram on pretty planners or BuJo posts, do you notice that some pages appear more appealing than others? Well, there’s one word for that: consistency. Most experienced Bullet Journal-ers already have a system. For example:

  • What kind of font will you use throughout your spread? If you’re new, use your natural handwriting or printing.
  • What size will your headings and subheadings be?
  • Don’t forget about spacing between each block of work (see BuJo for Beginners). This also applies to indentations
  • Do you want your spread to contain colour? If so, keep it to a maximum of 3.
  • Are you using bullet points, bullet squares, or bullet hearts?
  • What icons are you using? For example, how do you know if a task is complete? Are you checking it off? And what happens if you move it to the next day?

I know all of this might sound like a lot to take in, but it’s really not. It’s all about the prep work you do before you execute. Don’t be afraid to mess up – I still make mistakes all the time! It pains me to have to use white-out on my off-white pages, but it’s not the end of the world.

Do you have any other key tips that might be worth sharing with the rest of the newbie journal-ers out there? If so, I’d love to hear it!


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