I think, it’s probably fair to say, that most people that get into using a bujo notebook end up a little lost at one point or another. I know I have! Have you ever finished a spread, looked at it, hoping for that sense of satisfaction of a job well done, then being disappointed because that feeling was not there, in fact the feeling was more of a ‘this is rubbish’! It is not surprising really, there are so many beautiful bujo spreads out there, we get enticed, distracted and hopeful, thinking ‘I am going to try that’. But, it could be that if we stray from our personal bujo style, we are very likely not going to feel the love for our bujo the way that we would like to. So, how do we figure out what our style is?

Purpose.

First of all, I think we should get our basics right. We need to know what our overall purpose for our notebook is. If we want a planner, it’s not a good idea to start randomly adding scrapbook journal pages. If we want a scrapbook journal, there is no point adding planner pages. So, the idea is to start off by deciding what we want our notebook to do for us. Once we have decided the purpose we can try add two more words to come up with a 3 word key that we want our bujo notebook to be….mine would be – organised, natural, light [I definitely strayed from that in May]. Organised – I definitely want mine to be a planner, to organise myself. Natural – I don’t like a lot of fuss, no stickers, no tapes etc. Light – I visually want to be inspired, I am inspired by light tones.

Structure.

This is a major factor in how our bujo notebook will turn out for us. Unfortunately, it is not given too much attention. If we were talking about clothes, we might think of this section as discussing our body shape, and working out what shapes of clothing suit us. So what exactly do I mean by structure in this context?

Let me show you two calendars as an example…

They are a little fuzzy, but hopefully, you get the idea. They look very different don’t they. The art is exactly the same, but have you spotted the difference? Yes, it’s the structure. So, here is a question for you…what structure aligns with your style and your purpose? In this example of the calendar, the top pictures show a defined, boxed, contained structure. That’s the one I like. The second picture shows an undefined, open, free structure. I know a few people that much prefer this one. Some people prefer a blank page, with nothing on it at all. Obviously, this example is for a planner purpose notebook, but the principle is the same. What structure of scrapbook, journal, planner suits us? If you are unsure, maybe have a look at your home. What do you gravitate towards.. open shelving or furniture with doors and drawers? We might find we prefer the same kind of structure to our bujo notebook.

Decorations.

When we have realised the kind of structure that suits us, we can now move onto the decorations. This is a big one, because there are so many options for decorating our bujo notebook. One of the first things I think that we should consider is the amount of decoration we like. Some that stick to the original bullet journal method, do not use any decoration at all. Is that something that aligns with you? Do you feel inspired by an abundance of decoration, or a minimal amount, or non? After you have decided the amount, you can then start to answer questions like …what colours, if any? Do I like art, or pattern, or both? What kind of style of decorations, are you a hand drawn person, or a ruler person? As you can see, there are many things to consider for this section of decorations. But, a good thing to remember is that you decided your 3 word key. Stick to it! Make those words your standard of decision making. Ask yourself, if your choices reflect those 3 words?

Content.

This section kind of speaks for itself. We obviously need to think about what content we will put in our bujo notebook, but have you considered the style of your content? It makes a difference. Do you like lots of charts, lists or trackers? If we like them, we will use them. Please, if you are not a person who likes trackers, don’t make them, just because other people do. If we like to give free reign to our pen, and have a ramble on paper, then make lots of space available for that to happen. Do you like to write about the day, make a task list for the day or both? These are all things to consider when making spreads. We need space for what content will make us happy.


In summary, I would like to mention that, it is not the end of the world if we mess up our bujo notebook. I know many people get frightfully perfectionistic and dogmatic about the rights and wrongs of bullet journaling. It’s ok!! It’s seriously ok. It’s ok if we are not good at art, it’s ok if we don’t use a particular spread that everyone else seems to. It’s ok, if our preference for our bujo is ‘unorganised’ looking…I’m not going to say messy. It’s fine! Choose your preferences based on what makes you smile and happy to use your notebook, and pretty much that’s it. Happy planning bujoplanner friends!!