Bullet Journal: a creative way to plan


Getting organised is often a priority in the New Year but getting started can be a challenge. The Bullet Journal system is a great way to be creative and alter your planner to suit you!

The Bullet Journal System

The Bullet Journal system consists of a key and an index. The key helps you to distinguish between events, tasks, what has been cancelled and so on. The index helps you to keep track of specific pages so that you can find them easily. Ryder, the creator of the Bullet Journal, describes the system as a way to “track the past, organise the present and plan for the future.”

You can order Ryder’s Bullet Journal – a journal with set up pages for the index and numbered pages – to get you started. Ryder’s system has now been adapted and interpreted in so many ways. Some people have changed the symbols in their key, or got rid of it all together, while many people across Instagram and YouTube have gotten more creative with it.

I personally don’t use the key very strictly, or at all. Instead I like to list what’s going on in the day and glance over it in the morning. The index is useful, but the ribbons in my journal to mark my current week or important pages that are relevant to me at the moment. This meand you can find current pages fast.

You’ll see my Bullet Journal is a little more colourful and creative than the original Bullet Journal system. I have been inspired by accounts on Instagram and Youtube, like AmandaRachLee and @letteringwithleni. @bullet.journal is also a great place for inspiration as it reposts lots of people’s creations! It’s relaxing to sit down on a Sunday evening and plan the week ahead, fill in any gaps and get creative with my spreads.

I used a Leuchtturm 1917 which is a dotted A5 notebook. A cheaper option may be this cute journal covered in bumble bees, or this one covered in cacti! I prefer using a dotted journal to a grid, lines or plain paper as it keeps everything straight but the dots disappear into the page when you aren’t looking up close.

A single-page weekly spread – for less busy weeks!

Weekly spreads can be customized with washi tape, lettering, pictures, quotes and stickers. At the moment I feel like I don’t have time so I have left them out but you can get so creative with your layout and how it looks!

Planning Ahead

Bullet Journal also lets you plan for the year ahead, as well as the week. For this, I use a master index where I can add notable events that are coming up – or things that articles can be written about for NERVE! You can set this up in lots of ways to make it more simple, or decorate it any way you want – that’s the beauty! (Yes, I made a mistake and June is on there twice!)

I also use a calendar which, yes took a long time as I had to write in all of the numbers, but it was so theraputic. This makes it easier to see when a date falls or how far away something is. Birthdays or anniversaries can also be marked here.

I also have a goals page here to make sure I keep up some of my ‘resolutions’. These include improving my handlettering, reading more, and cooking something new every week!

A really useful spread for me is my assignment and timetable pages. These pages help keep track of my grades, deadlines and let me know where I need to be! I’ve found this is the best set up for me, but you could have a play around. As you can see, my timetable isn’t quite finished yet since I’ve got some clashes which need to be rectified!


Bullet Journaling does not need to look creative – it’s all about finding a system which works best for you! It’s meant to make life easier, not complicate it. This is part of the reason my spreads look different weekly – it depends how much time I had to set it up!

All you need to get started is:

  • A journal or notebook. I use a Leuchtturm 1917 (dotted) but any notebook you have will work!
  • A pencil – great for drafting out your page before you go in with a pen!
  • A ruler – grids, lines, drawing…!
  • A pen – use any pen you like! I use the MUJI gel pens in black (0.35, 0.5, 0.7) but you could use any pen you have!
  • A rubber – to get rid of the pencil lines – if you want!


  • Highlighters – good for colour!
  • Felt tips – also good for colour! Crayola Supertips or similar can be used for lettering!
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pens – this is what I use for colour in my bullet journal. one end is a thin felt tip, while the other is a softer, brush-like nib. Great for lettering!
  • Tombow Fudenosuke – these pens are great for smaller lettering – like headings!
  • Coloured fine liners/gel pens – these are great for customizing the Bullet Journal key!

Bullet Journaling doesn’t need to be complicated! But it’s a great way to be creative and spend some time getting organised and reuniting with pen and paper, something none of us probably do enough! Do you use a journal to keep organised? Or do you use the Bullet Journal system?