How To Bullet Journal in 2020 – Top Authors Share Journaling Tips

how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips

Whether you discovered bullet journaling recently and give it a try in 2020, or you already have a bullet journal, you might need some expert tips on how to bullet journal.

For weeks, I was trying to create more spare time for myself. So I could start working on my first round-up post. Hopefully, I managed to do it at the end of 2019.

I went to the authors of the top bullet journaling blogs of this year.

I’ve asked them all the same question:

What is your number one tip for people who will use a bullet journal in 2020?

Preview of How to bullet journal spread pages
Image from Instagram user: @journalprintables

Planning and journaling are two amazing things. They have countless benefits, but they also take too much time. Especially right before and after New Year’s Eve.

Hopefully, all the top authors of the bujo world were kind enough to create time to help me with this round-up post during their busy schedule. Most of them were able to contribute to this post by answering the above question.

Here you can see their journaling tips to get the best from your bullet journal in 2020.


shelby from littlecoffeefox
Shelby Abrahamsen

@littlecoffeefox

Shelby is from Illinois. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has an amazing blog called Little Coffee Fox where she shares guides, resources, tips about bullet journaling, productivity, and planning in general.

My number one tip is to focus on getting things done, not perfect in 2020.

With so many beautiful bullet journals floating around on social media, it is so easy to focus on making your bullet journal perfect before you actually put it into use.

If you are using your bullet journal as a creative outlet, as well as a planning system like I am, then you should absolutely take the time to make your journal look the way you want it, but don’t get too wrapped up in getting it just right.

Done is always better than perfect.


jenniffer from life is messy and brilliant
Jenniffer Viracacha

@LifeIsMessyAndBrilliant

Jenniffer is the creative blogger & digital artist of Life is Messy and Brilliant for 3 years. Her blog is a great source for digital planner tutorials, journaling inspiration, and journaling freebies.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes on a brand-new bullet journal.

My number one tip is to not be afraid to make mistakes on a brand new bullet journal.

Making mistakes on a blank page is the only way you are going to learn how to create and create beautiful layouts.


how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
Kim Alvarez

@TinyRayOfSunshine

Kim has one of the best bullet journaling blogs.

Her blog and especially her Free Bullet Journal Reference Guide is helping people who want to know how to bullet journal a great deal for many years.

Use your Bullet Journal the way that you need to, whatever that means for you.

My number one tip for those who will use a Bullet Journal in 2020 is to use your Bullet Journal the way that you need to, whatever that means for you.

You don’t have to do what you see others doing online. You can start out simply and add or subtract however you need to. If something doesn’t work, reflect on why that was and simply turn the page.

Remember that this is for you to get the most use out of for YOUR life. Enjoy your Bullet Journal journey, one day at a time. :)


how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
Cindy Thompson

@PlanAnotherDay

Cindy Thompson is a life-long over-planner from Portland, OR.

Her blog Plan Another Day is one of the best sources of planning and bullet journaling ideas, layouts, walkthroughs and journaling guides.

Even if I(Mete) was not interested in journaling or planning at all, I would most probably still visit her blog and her Instagram for her glamorous works daily.

It is so easy to take up bullet journaling thinking it has to look a certain way. But there is no right way to bullet journal!

Let your bullet journal work for you!

It is so easy to take up bullet journaling thinking it has to look a certain way or has to be filled in every day. But there is no right way to bullet journal!

When needs change, how you use your bullet journal should change as well. Sometimes this means needing a new page every day. Sometimes you need a break from journaling altogether. Certain weeks you can fully decorate every page. Others you may need to strip things down to basics. However, you choose to journal, make sure the system works for you. 

It can be very tempting to stick to something because it looks good or gets a positive response on Instagram. But if you are not benefiting (logistically, creatively, emotionally) from the work you put into your journal, then you are missing the point of this amazing system.

I think the goal for 2020 should be to meet your own needs first and worry less about how your bullet journal is received by others.


how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
Susan

@Organized31.com

No round-up post about planning and being organized is complete without Organized31!

Susan from Organized31 is a professional organizer who is helping people to find organizing tips, crafting tips, repurposing and parenting advice for more than 7 years.

Embrace the flexibility and power of the bullet journal – create and use it so it works best for you.

Some people feel intimidated by the elaborately and artistically decorated bullet journal spreads that you see on Pinterest. Other people feel limited by the starkness of a minimalist bullet journal. The beauty of a bullet journal is that you can design and use your bullet journal any way that you want.  

Embrace the flexibility and power of the bullet journal – create and use it so it works best for you. Don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else is doing.  

If you’re artistic and want to decorate your bullet journal – do it! If you are more of an I-just-need-the-basics person, then don’t stress over embellishing it. And if your happy place is somewhere in between, then a bullet journal is perfect for you, too. Create and use your bullet journal so that it’s perfect for you, inspires you and keeps you on tasks and productive.   


how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
Elizabeth Ghekiere

@ElizabethJournals

Elizabeth is a full-time graduate student studying clinical mental health counseling, and she is the creator and writer of the ElizabethJournals(Formerly called Jihi Elephant).

She shares organizational tips, creative bullet journaling guides, and important advice for a positive lifestyle.

You can read the interesting history of her blog here.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of bullet journaling and the community without stopping to acknowledge change and time.

My top tip for bullet journal beginners is to take it slow. It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of bullet journaling and the community without stopping to acknowledge change and time.

It’s a frequent mistake to go all-in at the beginning–adding every tracker, doing full art, and creating the whole year in one go. However, as time goes on, people and their schedules change.

If you’ve already created the whole notebook, you haven’t allowed yourself time to change and adjust. I recommend doing one month at a time.

Additionally, if you use every layout possible, you are likely to become overwhelmed and give up. Start with one or two trackers for a month or two. Then, if you’ve benefited, keep it and try more. But, if you haven’t used the tracker much, remove it and try something more beneficial next month.

Bullet journaling is a game of trial and error sometimes and that is okay!


how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
Rose

@Little Miss Rose

Rose’s bullet journaling blog quickly became one of the most loved bujo blogs.

She helps thousands of people to get started with their own journals.

Join Little Miss Rose for bullet journaling freebies, inspiration, how-tos, tips, tricks, and recommendations to make your bullet journal work for you.

If you’re new to bullet journaling, my best advice is to stick to the core spreads and collections that form the original bullet journal system.

My number one tip is to keep it simple!  If you’re new to bullet journaling it can feel overwhelming when knowing where to start and what to include.

My best advice is to stick to the core spreads and collections that form the original bullet journal system.  These are the future log, index, key, monthly log, dailies and/or weekly logs.  Add the extra collections that you see online later, when you’re comfortable with the system.

If you’re not new to using a bullet journal, then I still recommend keeping it simple.  I’ve discovered that adding too much and trying too hard to keep your journal beautiful makes it so much harder to maintain and it starts becoming a task in itself.

Remember that your journal should be for you, it should be useful, and it should be fun!


how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
Joanne Mellor

@Oops a Daisy UK

Oops a Daisy was created by Jo as a result of a lifetime obsession for beautiful stationery. After a while, she discovered bullet journaling.

She is a professional organizer who shares her advice and adventures on her blog.

Her beautiful blog has an entire section dedicated to step-by-step how to bullet journal guides.

Use your Bullet Journal the way that you need to, whatever that means for you.

For those who are new to journaling, my biggest tip would be to experiment: don’t plan too far ahead and your journal will evolve naturally into something that will work for you!

I see a lot of people online that set up a whole year in advance and then realize that the style of their spreads doesn’t work for them.

My journaling routine has always been to set up the upcoming month just before the month starts. I then set up each week on Sunday before. This allows me to adjust my set up depending on how busy my week is, how much time I have to journal, and what mood I’m in! Constantly changing my spreads also stops me from getting bored.

Some weeks I also use daily spreads, some weeks I don’t, sometimes I do doodles or quotes for fun, or extra spreads for travel or projects I’m working on. It totally depends on my mood and my journal naturally builds based on this. By all means, go onto Pinterest and YouTube and get inspiration, try things out and see if you like them.

Remember there are no rules. It’s your journal so it only has to work for you, and if you don’t like a spread turn the page and start again.
Most importantly have fun!


how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
Crystal Fogleman

@Bullet Journal Addict

Bullet Journal Addict is a relatively new blog, but Crystal’s powerful guides helped her blog to quickly become one of the most popular bujo blogs of this year.

You should definitely check her Bullet Journal 101 series and her highly-useful collections of helpful pages.

Make it the first and last thing you do in a day and you’ll quickly turn using your bullet journal into a habit.

My biggest piece of advice for people who will use a bullet journal in 2020 is to just keep using it. Make getting into your bullet journal a habit every single day.

The hardest part about using any type of planner is sticking to it, so make it the first and last thing you do in a day and you’ll quickly turn using your bullet journal into a habit.


How to Bullet Journal: My Interpretation

1st Advice

Don’t Focus on Making It Perfect

Especially when it comes to working on your bullet journal setup, perfection is the enemy of done.
It may be important to make your bullet journal layouts and planner pages to look the way you want. But spending days on choosing the perfect washi tape is not something you would call “increased productivity”.

2nd Advice

Take It Slow

Don’t go all-in from the beginning. Don’t just plan every month, every future log page and planner page immediately after you get your hands on a new bullet journal notebook.
Creating a tracker page for September or August from the beginning of the year is not a good idea. Your schedules can, and probably will, change.

3rd Advice

Leverage Flexibility

The bullet journal method allows for flexibility and creativity. Leverage this and focus on modifying your bullet journal to suit YOUR needs. There are countless different layout ideas, grids and planner examples. Choose the ones that fits you the most, and edit&improve it to get the best out of your journal.

4th Advice

Make Mistakes

Don’t focus too much on getting it right from the beginning. Sometimes you just need to try to see how everything works for you. You will make mistakes, and that is okay. That is the only way to learn how to improve your bullet journal setup in the new year.

5th Advice

Use The Things You Need

Bujo community offers something new every single day. It can be really tempting to try all the amazing looking spreads. But this way you may get overwhelmed and give up easily. You shouldn’t always stick to the first thing you try. Your needs and schedules will change and you will find better ways after a time period. But this doesn’t mean you should go all-in and try every good-looking bullet journaling spread you see online.

6th Advice

Don’t Do It For Others

Sharing is great. Sharing is what helped the bullet journaling community to grow this big. Creative ideas from the people all over the world allowed us to have thousands of effective spread and layout possibilities to choose from.
But it became easy for a lot of people to forget about the main point of bullet journaling. Your bullet journal is for you. The goal here is to plan, organize, and reflect better. What works better for you is not always what others will find pleasing. Don’t focus too much on making your journal appealing to the community. Instead, focus on what YOU need and what works for you.

Final Advice

Make It A Habit

Try to make your bullet journal a part of your daily routine. Make it the first thing and the last thing you see every day. This way it will quickly become a habit, and you won’t need to fix your bullet journal notebook every week.


More Journaling Tips for 2020

The authors who were kind enough to contribute to this blog post have amazing journaling tips and planning advice on their blogs. I also share tips for journal keeping here on my blog from time to time. One of them is 5 Incredible Bullet Journal Ideas for Work. If you use your bullet journal as a diary too, you can find some useful journal prompts on my blog by clicking here.

CHOOSE YOUR PIN

Which One Looks Better?

how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips
how to bullet journal, How To Bullet Journal in 2020 - Top Authors Share Journaling Tips

Answered Questions

We have answered some very important questions of the bullet journal community in this post. Let’s take a quick look at them:

How to bullet journal as a starter or beginner?

First, don’t focus on making your bullet journal a perfect example of an art journal. You should keep it simple. Take it slow and try to make bullet journaling a habit.
Don’t go all-in from the beginning and try every spread you see online. Bullet journals can be really rich, but it can be overwhelming if you are not careful enough.

How can I turn bullet journaling into a habit?

Some well respected people from bujo community, such as Crystal Fogleman, suggests that it is better to just start and end your day with your bullet journal. Journaling becomes a habit if you do it regularly, every single day.

Which spreads should I use for my bujo in 2020?

You can use any, really. But it may be better to start with basic ones. Those will take less time, and be more efficient. We linked them above in this article.


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How To Bullet Journal in 2020 – Top Authors Share Journaling Tips

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