While it’s true that the bullet journaling system is designed to work no matter what kind of notebook is used, finding the right bullet journal can be daunting. Getting to know the different choices available in binding, page quality, paper type lead into other considerations like formatting and plotting layouts according to the space provided or required.
Most journals are made to record at least three to six months at a time, but can also be used for shorter or longer periods of time. As well, the number of collections and trackers a bullet journal has can determine how quickly the pages are filled with other entries or calendars.
You will also find that many journal-making companies now have journals or notebooks specifically for bullet journals, including layouts and formatting that is all done for you. These are ideal for beginners, but you can really use anything you have on hand.
Journal Covers, Pages and Paper Quality
I’ve said it before, creating your own bullet journal is such a personal choice and you get to decide whether you want a hard cover or soft cover. The thing to keep in mind is how much wear and tear you may expect to put your bullet journal through. If you’re only using it at home your requirements may look different.
If you like planning in 30-day or 90-day spreads then considering the page count will play a role in the journal you are choosing. You could also find one that allows you to create layouts for 6-months or more. This is of course depending on the layouts you are creating for yourself.
Paper thickness may come into play if you are using markers or your page is heave in detail and design.
Deciding Between Lined, Grid or Blank Pages
As you begin looking for the best notebook or journal to use for your bullet journal, consider whether you’d prefer lined, grid or blank pages.
Dotted or lined grids can be better suited to stamping, stenciling or hand-lettered and drawn designs. Simple, blank pages are also common choices for more loosely arranged bullet journals that might also serve as freehand sketchbooks.
Using ringed binders instead of soft or hardcover bound journals offers unique opportunities to combine many different page styles into one journal.
Big Picture Ideas and Organization
Drafting layouts, designs and collections on a separate piece of paper ahead of time can help make choosing the right notebook for the bullet journaling even easier. This is a lesson I learned the hard way! When I first began using this system I would dive right in only to realize that the journal or layout didn’t work one bit.
I love personalizing the front cover of my journals with stickers, while other people may go into the store and are looking for a design that speaks to them. If you like to keep multiple journals, perhaps having journals in different colors and styles will keep you on track.
Commonly Overlooked Journal Details
Bullet journals are amazing to let your creativity flow and there are a few more things you want to consider when you’re on a journey of finding the right bullet journal.
Consider Using Embellishments
Details like stickered tabs, ribbon bookmarks or attached pen holders might not seem like major considerations to think about before purchasing a journal, but they can wind up being an unexpected favorite feature. For heavily used journals that have loose inserts or stuffed pages, closures like snap-button tabs or elastic bands are necessary to keep it all together.
Don’t Forget About the Quality of the Journal
Another factor that often gets overlooked until after a lot of use is how stiff the binding of a journal can be and how that influences frequent use. Notebooks that can’t stretch or flatten enough can be difficult to write or draw in without the use of clips or a long time spent working the spine into more flexibility.
Ultimately, choosing the perfect notebook for a bullet journal system can depend on a little trial and error with a wide range of choices and specialized preferences. However, any pen and piece of paper can kickstart a personal bullet journal and a journey towards finding what works best in the end.