Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling

by - May 19, 2018

There is a lot I wish I had known when I started bullet journaling and if you are a beginner bullet journalist, then you are probably reading this post because you don't want to make the same mistakes I did when I started my first bullet journal. I made a lot of mistakes when I started bullet journaling, and today, I am going to share those mistakes with you so you don't make the same bullet journal mistakes!

Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling


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I started my first bullet journal back in 2018. You can see pictures of it here. My bullet journal layouts have improved immensely since then and as you continue bullet journaling, your layouts will improve too!

Plus, if you have made any of these mistakes, don't worry because you can always change now, and you aren't alone in your mistakes. I made all of these bullet journal mistakes too! And if you haven't made any of these mistakes, congratulations, you are one step ahead of me, when I started bullet journaling.

Let's get right into the errors I made and what I wish I had known before I dived into the world of bullet journaling. :)

Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling

1. It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect

When I started my bullet journal I figured that I could make perfect layouts for my journal. I opened a Google document and started listing all of the pages I wanted to have in my bullet journal.

Then I went on Pinterest and started searching for bullet journal layouts like crazy. I copy and pasted these images into my Google document along with how I would change it to make it perfect. As you can imagine, I had quite the list.

Instead of reading a few articles on basic layouts to include in my bullet journal, and then getting started, I wasted time trying to find the perfect layouts that would solve all of my life problems.

Well, guess what?

I made my bullet journal system way too complicated for the beginner bullet journalist that I was.

If you are starting your first bullet journal, I recommend starting out with the bare minimum supplies and very simple layouts. It's also a great idea to go back to the source of bullet journaling, which is the original bullet journal website.

Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling

2. There are Many Ways to Organize Your Bullet Journal Layouts

I read a few posts on people's bullet journal flip-throughs and I noticed that they put their collections in the back of the book. I dismissed it and decided to put all of my collections in the front of the book right after the index and key.

I thought that it would be easier to have the collections at the front of the book because then when you open the book you don't have to look through blank pages to find the collection you want.

Now here is where the "it doesn't have to be perfect" rule applies. I started making my bullet journal layouts. First I made thirty or so collections and then I left a few blank pages and started making weekly spreads. I left exactly 52 blank pages at the end of the book so that the book could last for exactly one year.

The only problem is that a few weeks in, I decided I wanted to start adding a monthly spread too. Now I don't have 52 pages left to make my journal last for a whole year, which ties into the next tip.

I thought that you either would add your layouts to the front of the book or the back of the book, but in reality, there are multiple different ways to organize your bullet journal layouts.

I have a whole post you can read about this subject that you can find here.

3. Your Book Doesn't Have To Last For The Whole Year

Your book doesn't have to last for a whole year and you don't have to start your journal at the beginning of the year or even the first of the month. One common mistake is thinking that you have to start at the beginning of something new. You don't though! Start now!

You can read Bullet Journaling: What Is It? to learn everything you need to get started with bullet journaling.

Then I decided to add another collection into my book. I have to add the collection into the middle of my book, in between two weekly spreads. If I had put my collections at the back of the book then I wouldn't have made this mistake. Good thing you are reading this so you don't make the same mistakes!

Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling

4. You Should Adapt the Bullet Journal System to Your Needs

When I started my bullet journal, I thought I had found the perfect weekly layout. After trying it for one week, I decided it wasn't working how I wanted it to. For a few of the weeks following I changed one or two things in the layout each week. Now I really like this layout, but when I get bored with it, I will change it up a little bit more.

I can give you tips about bullet journaling and bullet journal inspiration all day, but at the end of the day, it is your bullet journal. Just because something works for me, it doesn't mean it will work for you. No, not at all! I'm still figuring out what works for me, and over time what has worked for me changes!

As your life changes, your bullet journal system should change too.

5. You Should Push Yourself to Use It Daily

After a while, the newness of having a bullet journal will wear off and that is when you need to push yourself to use it every day and to create the habit of bullet journaling daily. Using your bullet journal consistently will help you turn it into a planning routine.

Here are a few tips to use your bullet journal daily.

  1. buy yourself a new pen or another roll of washi tape. (Sometimes you just need a little bit of inspiration)
  2. Change up your bullet journal layout regularly. (This really works for me!!!)
  3. Minimize how much you have to do in it. (If you want to write down your dreams every morning, I'm sorry. It might be taking up too much of your time and so you are dreading opening up your journal.)
  4. Set a time in which you will open up your bullet journal and use it every single day.
  5. Use very minimalist bullet journal designs when you first start out.

If you are on a time crunch, I have a whole post on how to bullet journal in just 10 minutes a day. The bullet journal system is not going to work for you if you don't use your bullet journal!

Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling

6. Find Bullet Journal Supplies You Like

Okay, this is a big one. I started out bullet journaling in a composition notebook, and I used that notebook for less than four months. It was hard to bullet journal in a composition notebook. I have a whole post on the pros and the cons of bullet journaling in a composition notebook, just in case you are thinking about using a composition notebook for your first bullet journal.

You don't have to buy expensive supplies, but you should have a notebook you love, and a pen you love. At the beginning of your bullet journal journey that is all you need. After that, you can go crazy buying stationery. Just kidding! Or not...

What can I say? I obviously love stationery.


Anyway, all you need is a notebook and a pen to get started with bullet journaling and that is the beauty of the system. It is budget-friendly and the bullet journal system can work for anyone!

Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling


Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling

Okay, after I just shared all of those mistakes I made, I hope you will feel inclined to share a few of your own bullet journal mistakes. Leave a comment down below because I hope I'm not the only one who made a lot of mistakes when I started bullet journaling.

I hope you don't make the same mistakes I did! Good luck with your bullet journal adventure!
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Pin it so your friends don't make these mistakes, and thanks for sharing! :)

Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Bullet Journaling

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