Simple answer? No. The bullet journal method is a method of productivity. It is not a specific book, or notebook. You would usually call the notebook you use a “dot grid notebook” not a “bullet journal”. So today we are going to explore some types of journals for bullet journaling!
What’s the difference between a Notebook and Bullet Journal?
To describe it as simply as possible, you would use the Bullet Journal Method in your NOTEBOOK of choice. You could use any style of productivity system in any style of planner or notebook. We are going to start digging a little deeper into the options you have to start your next journal and some pros and cons of each!
What people love about the dot grid notebooks is that you can have the freedom to draw and curated any style of spread you want, for any date or day. You are not bound by the dates in pre printed planners or pages.
Like everyone in life, each system is perfect for someone, and each is customisable to meet your needs, so don’t feel as though, if one doesn’t work, they all wont work. It might be that you need to trial a couple styles to find your perfect planner/ journal space.
Ring binders do back a long time, and were really popularised by Kikki K and Websters Pages ages ago! What’s great about them is you can get a hole punch and make the planner completely customisable for your needs. What isn’t that great about them is that they tend to be really bulky. Using a ring binder for bullet journaling can be helpful if you are starting out and you want to test a couple styles or methods before settling on one style. This is because instead of ripping pages out of a book, you can easily just pop it out and replace it with a new page.
Something that I do like about the ring bound planners is that quite often the covers are great to add cool things in the side pockets and little dashboards.
They come in a range of sizes from Small/ Mini to Large and even A4!
The Disc System
Oh happy planner! Oh how clever you are! What I love about the The Happy Planner styled planner system is the flexibility to change at any time. They provided dated, undated and blank pages for the notebook, and you could purchase the punch and pop anything you want into it.
If you are struggling with finding a system that works for you, this might help you navigate over into a blank dot grid notebook. They have tons of gorgeous stickers and really cute styles. They also have brilliant guided notebooks for wellness, fitness, gratitude and much more. Quite often you can grab one for a steal during sale season!
Personally this is my favorite system to combine with my normal dot grid notebook! I like it because I can customise the pages and sometimes, if I am to busy so manage to draw a spread, this can save me time and if I forget to do a week or nothing really happens, you aren’t losing sleep over missing out on pages, because you can just remove them and carry on with the flow.
Probably insanely cheeky, but I used my punch to pop some of my Erin Condren Planner pages into my “Franken-Planner”
The Happy planner comes in a couple of sizes – the Big which is about the size of an A4, the classic happy planner which is slightly smaller than that, but a bit bigger than A5. It then comes in a half sheet of the classic, a Mini book and a micro book. Except for the microbook, all the disks are interchangable. The paper is pretty thick and holds up will to watercolor.
The only thing I detest about this, is the months start on a Sunday, for all of them, while the weeks start on a monday, drives me bonkers! Because I love things starting on mondays!
These planners, are somewhat customisable. You can custom select the cover, and even pop your name on the front. You have the choice of selecting vertical or horizontal, even daily and monthly, or project, subject specific. But that’s about as far as the customisation goes.
The paper is pretty thick and the boxes are a nice size. Again they come in a number of different styles and sizes. Erin Condren also just released ring bound planners, but most of their set is usually spiral bound, and it means you cant remove pages if you mess up.
Plum Paper Planner
Everything about this planner is customisable, from the style to the words on the page. I really like that about plum paper planners. For mine, I wanted a little space up at the top right to track tasks or habits, because I wasn’t habit specific I removed the default “Habit tracker” title to be blank so I could title it weekly. They come with hourly options, vertical, horizontal and much much more! The paper is really lush too!
Now something that adds a little extra spice to these planners is that you can customise the end of each month, or sections in the back, with topics like Household, budgeting, blogging, social media, studies and much more!
Again this planner is spiral bound, so you can pick and choose the paper you put into it, and if you make a mistake, its like that forevvvveeeerrrr.
Now this is a little bit of fun! This is my 160gsm Archer and Olive Undated planner. It’s got a horizontal spread and heaps of space for notes or plans and to-do lists.
At the front of the planner, there is a rolly spread for the entire year, and there is a monthly spread after every 5 weeks. At the back there is tons of graph paper for custom style spreads you might want to include.
Personally I use mine to capture memories, and use it my “dear diary” styled notebook
Standard Dot Grid
Oh the good ‘ol standard dot grid. There are HUNDREDS of different notebooks on the market. They differ in size, style and paper quality. So lets merely cover the basics.
- If you want something that you can draw in – find paper that is over 100gsm.
- If you want to paint in your notebook? Find something that is over 120gsm
- Most of the dot grids are 0.5mm by 0.5mm
- Some have page numbers, some do not
- Some have indexes, some do not
- Some are perfect for fountain pens, some bleed straight through
- Some ghost really badly (where you can see what you wrote on the previous page through the next page)
If you are wanting to be artistic, I highly recommend checking out Archer and Olives new ranger of got grid notebooks which are MADE FOR watercolor. 200gsm with a subtle dot grid. GORGEOUS!
So it doesn’t really matter what style journal you start off with, it just matters that you try one and give they processes a go!
There are a number of companies that offer custom style dot grid notebooks, Citrus Book Bindery, and Ana Tomy are 2 places I can think of that customise your notebook. You can get a mix of grid paper or watercolor notebook paper, sketch paper and grid paper and much more.
If you really want to step out into the world of the unknown, go check out some speciality notebooks, like this black out notebook from Archer and Olive. This one is called the black-out notebook and looks amazing coupled with gel pens!
How many journals do people usually use?
This is totally dependant on person, sometimes it’s only one, and they can get all their needs from one notebook, or sometimes its multiple for multiple topics. For me personally, I like having a dot grid notebook for work, and a discbound planner at home, for all my blogging needs.
The case of the “franken-Planner”
Now this is me – all over! What I have done is taken a number of planners, chopped them up and created a planner system that is perfect for me, at work I use a mix of productivity tools, that use some of Ryder Carrolls bullet journal method, some of Eisenhower’s method for productivity and other styles mixed it. Its important to remember that not every style will suit you and it’s worth trying a couple if you can to find the perfect fit!