Why you should use a bullet journal this year

Thousands of apps can help you get organized and stay on top of goals, but for many, a low-tech system is better— and more effective. Bullet journals are diaries that lend themselves to dynamic use through creative design. And yes, you fill them out the old-fashioned way: writing, doodling and coloring.

Bullet journals are more than colorful diaries, though. They have dot grids instead of lines so you can customize them to suit your needs, whether it’s meal planning, managing your class schedule or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you’re looking for a new way to stay on top of tasks and goals, it’s worth a try, especially if you’d like to get your creative juices flowing this year. 

What is bullet journaling?

Bullet journaling, sometimes called “BuJo,” is an advanced method of journaling that often involves task managing, planning, scheduling, goal setting and self-reflection. The journals feature simple dot grids instead of lines so users can design their own colorful layouts, ranging from calendars to checklists and everything in between.

In its simplest form, bullet journaling is an engaging, colorful way to stay organized. The BuJo community often describes BuJo as equally therapeutic and productive, not to mention it’s a way to practice mindfulness and self-care.

Top 5 reasons to use a bullet journal this year

1. Managing schedules

Many people keep bullet journals to manage schedules, including academic, personal and professional calendars. Daily and weekly to-do checklists are especially popular, and they’re often accompanied by grocery lists, exam dates, appointments or birthdays.

2. Goal tracking

It’s one thing to be mindful of your goals, but it’s a different story to see them laid out on paper in colorful ink. Bullet journals can help track short-and long-term goals through reflective progress entries, milestones and countdowns.

3. Food and fitness journaling

Some health-conscious individuals believe bullet journals are instrumental in meal planning, tracking macros, and weight training. After weeks or months of progress, it’s easy to look back and reflect on how you pushed through plateaus or challenges. 

4. Wedding planning

Bullet journals are a creative way to organize essential information, such as expenses, guest lists, and seating arrangements for those who are hands-on with wedding planning. Once the wedding passes, the BuJo serves as a unique scrapbook filled with memories leading up to the big day. 

5. Self-care

Besides productivity-driven uses, bullet journaling is a form of self-care. Not only does it allow writers to decompress and take digital breaks, but it also functions as a creative outlet. Bullet journaling is also ideal for those who prefer open-ended journaling with drawing and writing prompts.

Everything you need to start a bullet journal

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

“The Bullet Journal Method” by Ryder Carroll

If you’d like a crash course in bullet journaling, Carroll’s guide is an in-depth explanation of the practice and the meaningful thought process behind it. 

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PAPERAGE Dotted Journal

PAPERAGE Dotted Journal

This classic 5.7- by 8-inch dotted journal is a travel-friendly option with 160 thick, acid-free pages suitable for felt-tip and brush-tip pens.

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Gotcha Covered Softcover Believe Dot Grid Journal

Gotcha Covered Softcover Believe Dot Grid Journal

For those who prefer more room to design larger layouts, this spiral 8.5- by 11-inch bullet journal is a top choice for its made-to-last design. 

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Sharpie Fine Point Pen

Sharpie Fine Point Pen

These fine-point Sharpie pens are ideal for writing and drawing boxes, plus the ink dries quickly to prevent smears and transfers.

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Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens

Decorate your bullet journal with 12 colorful pens that draw bold, fade-resistant lines that won’t bleed through paper. 

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BIC Brite Liner Grip Pastel Highlighters

BIC Brite Liner Grip Pastel Highlighters

Popular for contrast designs, these pastel highlighters add a light pop of color to emphasize text or doodles. 

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