Looking for a healthy habit to take up? Need a way to better organize your schedule that isn’t just a mess of notifications? Want an excuse to buy new markers and colored pencils? Perhaps making a bullet journal is the salve/solution/excuse you seek. The first step is, of course, buying a bullet journal. The next is to find some bullet journal layout ideas that speak to your organizational soul.
The benefits of journaling run the gamut. This is likely no surprise to anyone who’s been to therapy once and heard a health professional say, “Do you keep a journal?” It can help manage anxiety and stress. It can help manage depression, making you more aware of your emotions. Journaling is even linked to coping with traumatic events, helping you work through hardships. Even if you aren’t looking to bullet journal with the intention to improve your health and well-being, it’s a likely side effect — one I’m sure many wouldn’t mind.
If you’re looking for bullet journal inspiration, layout ideas that will keep you organized but don’t look terribly boring, Pinterest and the internet as a whole is filled with ideas. So, grab your new markers, open to a fresh page, and let’s journal ourselves to happiness.
1. Turn Mood Trackers Into Art
Writing out your mood for each day can be monotonous and hard to keep up with. (When you’re having a bad day, do you really feel like taking the time to write down how bad it was?) Try using visual elements to track your mood, like leaves falling from a tree or petals falling off a cherry blossom. Then, create an easy color system that corresponds with how you’re feeling. For example, deep pink (happy) to light pink (sad).
2. Utilize Corner Space
If you like organizing your journal into individual boxes, you can easily add some decorative elements by doodling flowers and leaves around corners. It's a simple way to keep things cute and clean.
3. Have Fun With Your Titles
Rather than just writing out each month or day of the week as per usual, try out a few different easily hand-lettered titles. You could put each letter in a tiny flag that connects as a banner. You could make your title look like it’s written on a tiny post-it note. If nothing else, it’ll make it a little more fun to look at your Mondays.
4. Represent List Items Visually
Want to keep track of how many books you’ve read over the year? Draw a bookshelf in your bullet journal. When you finish a book, write the title on the spine in your bullet journal or just color in a book on your bullet journal shelf.
5. Add Office Supply Elements
Think of a page of your bullet journal as a corkboard. Write notes to yourself and “tack” them on by drawing a little pushpin to the top of the note. Make it look like your notes are attached by binder clips or pieces of tape.
6. Make Packing Lists Look Like Suitcases
If packing is your least favorite part of any trip, you can make your “need to pack” list a little more fun by organizing it into suitcases you draw on the page.
7. Turn Goal Lists Into Venn Diagrams
Separate your goals for the month or the year into different circles: self, work, relationships, family, home, mental health, etc. At the center write or draw something that illustrates a common goal throughout all of them. It can be a quote you love, just a few words you want to keep in mind, or something as simple as a doodled heart or a smiley face. Corny? Sure, but it’ll be a simple reminder of what’s most important when working toward the things you want.
8. Switch Up Your Dividing Lines
Rather than having straight solid lines, you can switch up dividing lines in your bullet journal to match whatever ~aesthetic~ you’re going for. Separate lists by lines that look like ocean waves. Have your line be a row of leaves. Even something as easy as going over your line in a different color will help keep things visually organized.
9. Play With Patterns
Feeling particularly nostalgic? Make a monthly theme in your bullet journal that plays with '90s patterns. Would you describe your general vibe as “hungry”? Make the illustrative elements around each month correspond with a different food. August can be oranges. October can be pumpkins. February can be avocados if for no other reason than they are fun to draw.
10. Set Mood Music For Each Month
Remember how, on Myspace, you could have a song that automatically plays when someone goes to your page? Draw a little playlist on your bullet journal pages that tracks the songs you discovered that month, the songs you had on repeat, or the songs that speak to a goal you have in mind.
11. Draw A Map
It can be a map of the world in your travel bullet journal that tracks all the places you’ve gone. It can be a map of the U.S. that notes friends and people you love in each state. It can just be a map of your city, tracking new places you want to visit or familiar places you want to remember to go back to.
12. Write One Line A Day
Make your own “line a day” bullet journal writing one sentence for each day of the month. It can talk about how you felt, something you did, something you remembered, or something you don’t want to forget.
13. Dedicate A Page To Self-Care Reminders
Have one page in your bullet journal dedicated to things you love, things that calm you down, or just things that make you feel good. Add simple illustrations by each item. The list doesn’t have to be complicated but taking time to fill it out — choosing which colors to use, how to write out certain words — is an act of mindfulness in itself.
At the very least, creating and organizing your bullet journal should feel less like a chore and more like a chance to reflect back and look forward.