Bullet Journal Basics

by Stuart Lennon

example of a bullet journal notebook

What is the Bullet Journal? #BuJo if you’re hip. 

Bullet journalling is a system of journalling devised and publicised by a fellow called Ryder Carroll. You can see his story here There’s even a companion app now! 

Whatever you may have seen or heard, #BuJo is a simple and straightforward way of managing a journal. True, there are people who turn their journals into works of art, and Bullet Journaling is no different. There are some amazing pictures on Pinterest and Instagram if that’s your thing. However, artistic talent is not mandatory. (Good news, in my case!)

The beauty of the system is its flexibility. Very few pages have a defined structure. You might fill two pages with Monday, and then two lines with Tuesday. If you miss a day or two, you carry on from where you left off. There are no empty day pages staring at you reproachfully. 

Parts of the bullet journal system might not appeal to you. So, don’t use them. Most elements of the system work independently, so pick and choose what works for you. It’s your journal, do what you like.

What do you need to start a bullet journal? 

Obviously, you need to buy lots of stuff from here!

Oh, alright then, you don’t.

You can use any notebook you like, and any writing instrument you like. Dot grid lends itself to the system, but is not a requirement. Most of us don’t need a guide sheet to draw an arrow or a cross over a bullet. That said, there are some notebooks that lend themselves to #BuJo.

The best notebooks for Bullet Journals (in my opinion):


I’m not sure that classic pocket is the ideal size for a full-blown Bullet Journal, but if you are looking to develop a productive focus in an everyday carry, Word.’s bulleted page layout certainly encourages that.

Rhodia Goal Book

The usual superb quality paper you'd expect from Rhodia: 90gsm ivory brushed vellum. The soft, tactile cover is available in a range of lovely colours. Contains 240 numbered pages with the popular dot-grid ruling, as well as 6 contents pages and 2 perpetual calendars. An elasticated orange strap holds the Goal Book closed, and there are two orange fabric page markers as well. An expanding pocket in the back cover provides a useful place to store extra notes and reminders. All of these extras make it one of the best notebooks for bullet journalling.

The Bullet Journal

Had to be, didn’t it? Dot grid, 249 pages, 3 page markers, bullet journal guide, bullet index, sections and pagination and 80gsm paper. (Add link)

I have used the system on and off for a year. Parts of it have been absorbed into my every day practice. The Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal is a lovely book; I have filled a couple. I’m really looking forward to trying the Rhodia Goal book, I’m a sucker for that paper. I use pocket notebooks as an extension of my larger books and Word. are a part of my rotation. My fountain pens are not in love with the paper though.

Try Bullet Journal. Some people swear by it – and I find it really useful.