How to Pick the Perfect Bullet Journal

Amanda Adams
4 min readMar 3, 2022
Photos of My Bullet Journal from January & February 2019 (Artist’s Loft, Softcover, Size B5)

I’ve been dabbling in the bullet journal and planner realm for years now. I’ve used structured planners (shout out to the Panda Planner), traditional academic calendars, disk-bound systems, and bullet journals of various sizes.

When it comes to picking a journal, I’ve learned a lot through trial and error and I’m happy to share some considerations to help you select the best journal to meet your needs. Ultimately, I’ve landed on an unstructured, dot grid journal to give me the flexibility to bullet journal and evolve over time.

A few questions to ask yourself as you try to pick a notebook:

  • How portable do you want the journal to be?
  • How do you plan to use the journal?
  • What bothers/irks you the most?

Here is a little more about why you should consider these difference functions when selecting the best notebook to use for your bullet journal.

  • How portable do you want the journal to be?

This can help you determine what size is best. If you want to take your notebook everywhere then go smaller ( try out an A5 size). If your journal is going to live on your desk then the world is your oyster (try out a B5 size). You might also select a more durable hard cover if you plan to toss your journal in your bag every day.

  • How do you plan to use the journal?

If you plan to stick with long-form writing then a lined page might work just fine. If you want to have more of an art journal then you might want blank pages. However, if you want a mixture then I suggest a dot grid journal. This provides a level of structure to support writing straight but isn’t visually intrusive (like more traditional graph paper).

  • What irks you the most?

Over time, it’s likely that you’ll have journals that end up showing their flaws. Maybe it’s a cover that starts peeling, pages that show writing through to the other side (aka ghosting), or an elastic closure that breaks. Whatever it might be, learn from it and prioritize avoiding what bothers you the most in future journal selections.

Once you’ve given some thought to how you’ll use the journal then you need to start searching for the size…

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Amanda Adams

Eugene, Oregon — Book Lover, Writer, Philanthropist, and Social Justice Advocate.