Similar Posts

94 Comments

  1. Addison Keaton says:

    One of the most comprehensive guides, for newbies like me. In fact, I have several sets of gel pens and bullet journals too. But I am far from this perfect art.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, Addison! Remember, it’s a journey 😉 everyone has their own spin on it, their own style, and their own timeline. As long as you’re happy with how you use your journal and you feel like you’re making progress, you’re doing amazing!

  2. I love this! You put so much work in making it informative, thank you!

  3. What an amazing read. Buller journal is essential for improved productivity. I just started my own blog on Bujo and luckily I found such an in-depth guide on the bullet journal. Perhaps, this is the best guide I have ever come across.

    Thank you for this

  4. Hi, Great guide! I’m just at the end of my first month. Can you expand on the process of monthly migration? I’ve read it’s core to the practice, but not much in this guide about it – you have been helpfully thorough in migration to a new journal.

    How do you approach monthly migration – moving your tasks forward, back to future log, reflecting etc

    thanks again,

    Gav

  5. Do you make your monthlies and weeklies in order and then add the other pages after them? Like a full calendar year then everything else, or just as you go along you fill it in? Does that make sense?

    1. I fill it in as I go! Usually, I create a monthly, then create each weekly as I need them. Occasionally I’ll feel proactive and create two weeklies at a time. Some people fill theirs in further into the future, though! It’s really a personal choice, not a right or wrong way.

  6. Thank you for this. I have tried bullet journaling before and I appreciate your “go get ’em” and “just be you” approach to teaching.

    1. Thank you, Catherine! If there is one thing I’ve learned from bullet journaling over the past several years, it’s that there will ALWAYS be other amazing journals shared online. Comparison is the thief of joy, and comparing your bullet journal to everyone else’s will only ruin the experience. So there is nothing left to do but make it your own and make it fun 🙂

  7. This is way more than i expected from a cheat-sheet! when i first saw BuJos online, i thought it was a silly frilly fad. now i’m going to put my life into one. 45 year old male! ha! having discovered that i likely have ADHD, or most of the ingredients, it seems like a BuJo will help me out a lot. i’ll be coming back to this reference again and again – so many great ideas and examples, simple and fancy ones. thank you so much!!!!!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that! This system has so much potential. I hope you find the right combination so you can hit the perfect productivity stride 🙂 Good luck, Greg!

  8. Hey, Shelby!

    I couldn’t thank you more. What a perfect post!

    Thank you for sharing!

    xoxo

  9. Hey, So I am wanting to tostart a bullet journal. I have all the supplies ready and I am stuck what is the first page I should do?
    Ella

      1. When you watercolor wash a page, do you take it out of the journal or do you fo it there? Also, how do you keep the water from ruining the page behind it?

        1. I just paint straight in the journal and I haven’t had any issues yet! I don’t do anything special to keep the page behind it usable. Often there is a bit of ghosting, but I have many a time painted on both sides of a page and it worked fine. I’d always recommend you test a page in the back of your journal to see how the paper reacts if you want to try it yourself! I’m also offering a free webinar about how I watercolor in my bullet journal for later this week if you want to check it out: https://event.webinarjam.com/register/20/8vl9vcx

  10. Angelica Nicole says:

    I am new to the bujo craze. I am conflicted about how to combine both my personal and college life into one journal. Then, I feel overwhelmed knowing that I will have to stay on track with two separate worlds. What are ways that I can combine so that the two worlds do not get confusing and cause me to become overwhelmed and give up? Halp!
    I have heard that some create two journals, but that itself is overwhelming. I feel that I will get out of sync with having to flip from one journal to the next in order to piece my life back together. What suggestions do others have or does anyone else feel this way?

    1. That’s a great question, Angelica! Different people will have different solutions, so you’re probably going to have to do a bit of trial and error to find what fits for you.

      I’d suggest some variety of color coding or setting up your index to keep the different categories of your life separate. Here are a handful of ideas for ways you could accomplish this: https://littlecoffeefox.com/bullet-journal-index/

      Overall, if you’re afraid of the potential chaos of having two journals, I’d suggest you stick with one. You can always add a second one later if you feel like it! I hope this helps, Angelica ? Good luck!

  11. Can I just say I LOVE THIS! As a naturally unorganized but very creative and artsy middle-schooler I found this process to be fun and helpful. However I am using a sketchbook as my journal, is that okay or should I switch to a regular journal??? Anyways thanks for this article I loved it and I’m sure more people will too!

    1. Thanks so much, Nakeli! You don’t need to worry about switching to a regular journal. If you enjoy using a sketchbook and it works for you, then keep on rocking it! There is no right or wrong way to do this — just do what feels right to you.

  12. Hi!
    I was just wondering do you use one bullet journal for work and another for personal or does everything go in one? What’s your thoughts? I’m in the throws of setting myself up for the very first time and haven’t been able to figure this one out.

    1. Hey Ana! That is a fantastic question. Personally, I keep my personal stuff and my work stuff separate (with a little bit of crossover between the two). For example, I’ll add some kind of social event to my work calendar so I know not to work too late that day, or I’ll mark important work deadlines on my personal calendar so I don’t forget and let it sneak up on me.

      But I did keep them together in one journal for a long time, and that is a perfectly valid way of going about it! It’s really up to you and your preferences. I know some people keep a bullet journal strictly for work and it stays in their desks when they leave to go home, then have a personal one for meal planning, family activities, personal growth, etc.

      If you’re just getting started, I would suggest you try keeping both work and personal in one bullet journal for now to keep things simple. Then, as you grow and learn a bit more about your planning style, you can separate them out pretty easily. One of the hardest things when you’re new to bullet journaling is using it regularly. I’ve found that keeping it simple in the beginning makes it easier to use it every day.

      I hope that helps, Ana!

  13. Inspirational ideas! Just wanted to ask if I’ll be able to use a bullet journal as a diary as well – for instance, to write down my thoughts each day – and also if you have any suggestions on how I can execute this well and efficiently.

    1. Of course, one of the best parts of the bullet journal is the ability to customize it to fit your needs. You could do so by using an affirmations or gratitude log, but if you wanted a simpler solution you could always just add a “Random Thoughts” section to your daily set up.

  14. I’d just like to make a suggestion. You will easily increase your readership if you use a darker font. I read your very first entry and had to stop before it was done (only 3-4 sentences) because the strain is far too hard on my eyes to see. There is a very significant portion of the population with at least mild to strong Vision limitations who will bypass your blog (and of course the over 40 crowd requiring reading glasses that do not give the sharpest vision) It’s unfortunate because I’m sure you put a lot of work into providing great public information. Just a suggestion from someone who has to bypass your blog

    1. Pam,

      Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention! I will look into this as soon as possible. I really do appreciate it, as this is something I would have never even considered.

    2. Just another quick follow up, I’ve made some changes to the font to make it a bit darker and a bit bigger, please let me know if that helps!

      Best,
      Shelby

      1. ChloeeLiew says:

        Accidentally by pass to your blog today when I searching about bullet journal , I love your blog and the font really easier for me to read . the bullet journal information help me a lot ! I guess I will start my journal very soon. thanks for the useful blog .

        1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

          I’m glad you found the guide helpful! Good luck on starting your bullet journal!

      2. Thank you! Much easier to read! WOOHOO!

  15. You have some great advice here! I first began bullet journaling as a way to help with my ADHD and it’s been a great help. I always bought a standard planner but they never catered to my specific goals or tasks. I was intimidated in the beginning because of all the beautiful artwork. Now, that I’ve had plenty of practice I’ve gotten more creative.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Marie,

      I’m glad you found this guide helpful! The bullet journal is really a great tool. The flexibility it provides can make it so much easier to make it work for you rather than trying to use a prebuilt system.

  16. Preston M says:

    How do you get past the fear of someone making fun of you for doing it in school , i had a planner in 6th grade and was made fun of horribly for it , and got my planner ripped up after school , im now in 9th grade and want to use a bullet journal but am worried that it will get ripped up to as im in multiple classes with people who are known to be bullies and I dont want my 24$ leuchtturm official bulet journal to get ripped up.

    Any advice would be ok.

    1. That’s horrible, Preston! I don’t blame you for being nervous about it, I’d feel the same way.

      I doubt those bullies would dare mess with your bullet journal right under the nose of a teacher, so you could exclusively use it in classes. When you put it in your bag, sandwich it between other books so no one can easily snatch it out of your bag. If you are too nervous to take your bullet journal into certain classes, you can keep a Post-It pad with you. Write on the Post-It during school, then move over your sticky notes into your bullet journal when you’re away from the bullies. Also, if you want to test whether anyone is going to mess with your bullet journal, you can try buying a cheap journal for a few dollars and use that at school for a month or so. If no one tries to destroy the cheap one, then you can feel more secure about bringing your nice journal. If people do try to destroy it, then it was only the cheap one and you can keep your Leuchtturm safely at home.

      I’m sorry that you have to deal with bullies at all, but some people are just bitter and mean. I hope you find that people don’t tease you about something that makes you so happy, but if they do, know that you’re totally normal and they’re just jealous. It does get better the older you get, I promise!

    2. Hi Preston,
      I read your comment and it made me incredibly sad.
      No one should be made fun of at all, especially for something that makes them happy.
      I hope you are doing your bullet journal if it brings you joy because you should never let someone stop you from doing what you love. I’m in college and I love doing mine, definitely give it a try!
      Hopefully everything turns out fine!

    3. Oh no!!!!!! That is horrible.
      No one should be make fun of that. People love bullet journaling like you and me. Want to stand up to yourself? Tell those bullies that you love your journal and tell them that they won’t rip it. Good luck!!!!

  17. What weight of paper do you use? I bought 28 lb and the zebra midliners bleed through so much that I wouldn’t be able to use both sides. I am interested in creating my own journal in a binder using 8.5 x 11 inch paper. The 28 lb paper is pretty heavy maybe I need different markers, is there another brand you have found that works well and doesn’t bleed through?

    Thank you so much for any info. I’m excited to get started, love all your beautiful journal samples!

    Lisa

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Lisa,

      My go journal is the Leuchtturm1917 which has 80 gsm paper (so I believe about 24lbs) it definitely ghosts, but it does not bleed to the extent that the back of the pages are unusable. I even use watercolor paints in it and use both sides. You can see my full review of the Leuchtturm1917 here.

  18. thanks for your post, there’s some brilliant ideas and tips contained within it. I cam across your site while doing some research for an article I was writing and was captivated by the whole idea. So much so that I’ve decided to start my own bullet journal in an attempt to make my life a little more organised. I lan to write a blog post for my website 4everwritingonline.com and would like to feature a link to your site. Would this be possible?

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Absolutely, it would be fantastic if you featured our site!

      Good luck with your bullet journal!

  19. Thanks so much for the advice! I just started my first bullet journal and I have found several ideas from your site that I’ve already incorporated, with several other tabs open to check out some of your other posts. 🙂

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      We are so happy to hear that Kassi! Enjoy the new journey!

  20. Perhaps this is a silly question, but it seems that most bullet journals have dotted pages rather than lined pages. Is there any particular reason for this, and if not, will lined pages work as well (i.e. a school book that can be bought almost anywhere)?

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Great question Derek! The dot grid pages make it easy to still write in “lines” but you can still create all kinds of layouts quite easily as well. Vertical lines are a cinch to line up with the dots but lined pages make it a bit more time consuming. Lined pages are still totally doable though!

    2. The Weird says:

      I use lined paper and it works just fine. If it bleeds, skip pages and fill up you’re notebook (which was my intention in the first place)

  21. I’m a perfectionist so at first it was so SO hard to come to terms with the fact that my journal wasn’t and shouldn’t be perfect.
    Honestly now that’s one of the things I love the most about it. It’s got my sloppy notes from when I forget my class notebooks and would temporarily store notes in my journal and my gorgeous planning pages from when I spent an hour just doing a corner detail.
    It’s grown with me and morphed as my needs changed. When I started it I was still in school so I have full pages dedicated to a days to do list/homework list and reminders. Now I work full time and my job is more routine so a week spread for notes and reminders is more helpful.
    <3

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      I love that you’ve continued to change your journal to fit your needs. Isn’t it wonderful that it can continue to evolve with you?

  22. Thank you for this fantastic post. I stumbled across it as I searched for “watercolors in my planner” or something like that. I’m not very talented when it comes to painting (I’m more of a photographer) but I LOVE color and I want to learn more about watercolors how to put more color into my very simple bullet journal type planner. Your explanation and cheat sheet are very helpful. I think what makes your blog post stand out the most is how you explain how “some folks do it”, how the “official version” is done, and then you talk about how you do it. It’s basically – you take what you want and leave what you don’t need. It’s quite freeing. Thank you again. I’ll be visiting your page more often. I also must compliment your beautiful colors. Those paints that you use are stunning and have brilliant color saturation.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      What a wonderful compliment Leilani! You’re right, it truly is freeing to be able to do what works best for us and not have to follow any rules but our own.

  23. This is such a helpful and thorough explanation, Shelby! Thank you for putting it together! I’m linking to this article in my bullet journaling blog post this week so my readers can see your (much better) explanation! 🙂

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Thanks so much Emma! It’s great to hear the explanations were helpful for you ?

  24. Oh thank you for this! It’s all helpful but especially “your bullet journal isn’t helping you if you aren’t using it.” about first page fear – i’ve literally been putting off getting started for SOO long due to being scared of not being happy with how it turns out. But I think that sentence (along with other helpful tips, obvs) really was what pushed me to actually put pen to paper and start!

    1. That makes my socks roll up and down, D! I’m so glad you found it helpful! Hopefully, now that you’ve started, those fears won’t be bothering you anymore 🙂 You’ve overcome the hardest part!

  25. charlie cacioppo says:

    Hi, I am a total newbie to this concept but not to journaling. At least how it was done in the past with a simple moleskin notebook! Your resource here is a wonderful ‘roadmap’ for a newb getting started and discovering this medium again!
    Thanks so much for showing us the way and this is will a reference for some time to come. Oh, and yes I did break the guy code and did ASK for directions, BTW! 🙂 Glad i found your blog! – charlie c 🙂

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Glad to hear this is helpful Charlie. Never hurts to stop and ask for directions, right? 😉

  26. Cassandra says:

    What watercolor set do you use?? I love it!

  27. This is amazing!

    As someone who suffers ADHD organisational planners have not helped as I hate being restricted in what I do, I have just started my first bullet journal and am loving it!!

    This article was so very helpful that once I am more comfortable with my bullet journal I can start to spread my wings and try new things.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      I love hearing this Kayleigh! The freedom of bullet journaling is really incredible.

  28. I love how chill everyone is about bullet journaling. It’s sort of like we’ve all been burned out on the “wrong way” of doing things in the past and going too hard too soon. I like your idea that it essentially boils down to a pen & a notebook. Whatever you do from there is up to you although here’s some ideas, rather than “this is how you do it and if you miss a day you may as well not do it anymore” which is how I think we’ve all felt before.

    I know the post is a little old now but thanks! It’s just what I was looking for as I start my journal.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Yes, Matt! That’s the beauty of bullet journaling – you can make it whatever you want it to be and it can be totally flexible.

  29. Hi,
    Thank you for the helpful post! I am somewhat new to bullet journaling. I have a question… what do you do with the blank pages before spreads? Every time I start a new monthly or weekly spread, I seem to have a blank page before it. I don’t want to end up with a bunch of empty pages throughout my journal and I don’t have enough collections to go back and fill them all up

    1. Hi Melissa! I personally don’t skip any pages or have any empty ones. I pretty much fill up the front and back of 95% of the pages in my bullet journal! Occasionally, I’ll need to make a spread with two pages and it will work out that an empty page will go before it, but usually, I end up going back and using that page for scratch notes or doodles. I hope that helps!

  30. Thank you soooo much! this has given me a great start to my bullet journal!

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      It’s so great to hear this has helped you get a start with your journal Lelani!

  31. AHHHMAZING. I love your bullet journal pages – you are an amazing artist! I am brand new to bujo, just googling sites for ideas and came across yours. Mine will definitely be MUCH simpler just starting out, but I am now a follower of yours – looking forward to reading through your blog. 🙂

  32. Christina says:

    Excellent! I started bullet journaling today, and have been researching many different ideas, and I find I keep coming back to your page 🙂
    One burning question that my OCD tendancies (lol) can’t handle…. your recipe page……howwwww do you possibly fit recipe instructions on a small post it?

    1. I don’t! I just make sure to write down the ingredients and the exact name of the recipe so I can look it up again later. My goal is to get all the ingredients listed so I can grab them from the store. Then when I’m cooking, I can look up the instructions. I get all my recipes online, so as long as I get the keywords correct, I can almost always find the recipe again. Though now that I think about it, I really ought to write down the site that the recipe is from as well. I hope that helps, Christina!

  33. I love this! I just hope you mention more affordable supplies for beginners in bullet journal. I started my bullet journal this year using only very cheap products and it still works great! Love your bullet journal by the way ❤️

    1. I’m glad you liked it Kyla! As I mentioned in the supplies section of the post, any supplies will do – even cheap or basically free supplies! I don’t believe that you should go out and buy expensive stuff to get started. But I know that once I invested in slightly nicer things, I felt 10x more invested and excited to bullet journal. In the end, you should do what makes you feel good about bullet journaling AND what makes you feel good about your wallet. It’s all about striking a balance.

  34. I’ve just started my first bullet journal, and am so thankful for your site as a resource! Thank you so much 🙂

    x Jamie @ Glow On

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      So glad to hear! Thank you for being here, Jamie!

  35. Thank you so much, Shelby! I have also followed you for over a year now and love the little tidbits you give us. I tend to run low on inspiration for doing artistic/creative spreads but am a great copy-cat so I really like that you provide examples of what you’ve done and demo’s of your spreads. Thanks for being awesome and putting all of this into one place!!

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Thanks so much for being a faithful reader, Cat! Glad to hear it’s been helpful for you.

  36. Could you give some advice? you have an task on your monthly log eg ‘pay taxes’. When you create your weekly for the date in question it goes in the weekly log. At this point does the task get migrated off the monthly log, or does it exist simultaneously on the weekly and monthly log till completed?

    1. That’s a really great question, Jo! I personally keep them both simultaneously. So the task exists in the monthly log and then gets rewritten in my weekly log. Only when the task is complete do I mark it off the monthly log! I keep the monthly log as more of a reminder rather than an active task list, and all my active to-dos live in a weekly or daily. I hope that helps!

  37. Thank you for this post, Shelby! I have been following your blog for a year now and bujoing for 1,5 yrs now in my 3rd journal and I still needed this post! Thank you so much for opening yourself and inspiring us 🙂

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      It’s so great to hear you’ve been inspired, Meelike!

  38. Loved this post. I’m still refining my first bullet journal and while I don’t mind having my collections in the middle of things, it does make them a little less easy to find that some things, so I like the idea of starting from the back (when I’m writing I put the Table of contents in the back and work my way there, starting with necessary lists.). As I’m getting close to the end of my first journal I’m starting to explore a lot more of what is possible.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      That is really one of the wonderful things about journaling, isn’t it Kitsa! You can change it however you would like, to fit what you need.

  39. How would you recommend indexing collections when you start from the back of the journal?
    You have such lovely pages.

  40. Beverly Miley says:

    Good morning, Shelby. I’ve never come across such a comprehensive depiction of the Bullet Journal as what you have written here. Love it. Is it possible to print this out?

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Wow, thank you for the compliment Beverly! You should be able to print the pages with with the “print page” function on your computer, or by highlighting, copying and pasting the text into something like a Word document which you could then print.

  41. I so want to use water colors in my Leuchtturm1917, but after a bad bleed thru when I stamped something, I’ve been hesitant. I’ve seen your post using a different book- but yet see examples for what looks like in the Leuchtturm… what advice do you give about that? Thanks

    1. That’s a good question, Charlene! In this post, you sometimes see pictures of a Rhodia or a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. But when it comes to watercolors in your Leuchtturm, you should be good to go! I had that same problem once when I tried stamping something, but that’s because ink and watercolor behave differently. Ink from an ink pad is too juicy or its alcohol based (I’m not positive which), and that makes it bleed through the page. Watercolor will absorb slightly into the page or sit on top of it unless you put down loads of paint. If you want to see a comprehensive test of watercolors in a Leuchtturm, head to this post (https://littlecoffeefox.com/leuchtturm1917-vs-moleskine-bullet-journal-watercolor-test/ ). I hope that helps!

  42. Marylou M Trop says:

    Wow, you hit on so many things I wonder about, can’t decide about. I really am grateful for the talk of additional journals, and since I recently bought some of dot and some other planners, that the pages move, I’m thrilled.

    I think I am signed up or you would not be finding my email, so I’ll check on that, but thanks for this one, and keep it up!!!

    Marylou Trop

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      I’m so glad it was helpful for you Marylou! I believe we addressed your email about the password but if not, please do let us know so we can get it taken care of for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *