Get Started with Your Own Bullet Journal

What do you like? Check all that apply.

I like:


If you checked one or more of the above, here’s something I think you’ll also like:

The Bullet Journal !!!

(Have you heard of it yet?)

One of the best perks of my job is that I’m constantly learning from my awesome clients.

Sarah Michaud recently inspired me to check out the Bullet Journal, a new flexible journaling system that really helps you rock both your creativity and your to-do list.

As Sarah and I coached together, I loved seeing how she used her Bullet Journal to colorfully capture her insights, inspiration and commitments. This was a place for reflection, learning, and accountability that was fun and worked.

I asked Sarah if she’d give us a Bullet Journal 101 lesson today.

Sarah’s well qualified to do so: Teaching is her passion. Her most recent position was at a First Nations school in the remote reaches of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. There, Sarah educated 12-year-olds with caring and creativity, shared her walks with bugs and bears, and regularly boiled her water. Now that’s dedication – and wilderness survival skills!

Lisa Hoashi: Hey Sarah! Thanks for your time today. So to get started: What is a bullet journal?  

Sarah Michaud: A bullet journal (also known as a BuJo) is an organizational system using only a blank notebook and a pen. It is a place to schedule your life, make lists, plan for the future, and preserve memories. Ryder Caroll came up with the idea when he was trying to figure out a way to organize all of the information into one easy-to-use system. 


Pages from Sarah's Bullet Journal

(Click each one for more detail)


How did you get started?

SM: I heard about this system from Kelly Sue DeConnick. She is a comic book writer that I admire and follow on social media. She mentioned the system in one of her tumblr posts a few months ago, and I looked into it! I started researching bullet journals on Pinterest and it just took off from there. 

What do you like most about it?

SM: I love how forgiving and customizable a BuJo is in comparison with other agendas and planners. If you miss a day, you can just keep going, with no blank space!

I love having all of my lists in one place. If I need to know anything important, I just grab my BuJo and everything I need is there. Whether it's a monthly schedule, a weekly schedule, grocery list, birthday present ideas, or what I should watch next on Netflix!

I love how creative I have discovered I am since I started using this system. I didn't think I could even draw a stick person a few months ago, and now I'm creating these beautiful pages. 

I have also discovered a love of cursive writing! I've joined handwriting challenges and practice in my journal almost daily.

What’s a handwriting challenge??!

SM: There are a few out there, but I like the #rockyourhandwriting challenge that Boho Berry does every month. At the beginning of the month she publishes a list of daily challenges for practicing your handwriting. You take a picture of your finished work and put it on Instagram with the #rockyourhandwriting hashtag. The challenges range from writing the alphabet to journal-like questions.

Who do you think would find a Bullet Journal most helpful? (Do I need to like lists? Or be good at drawing?)

SM: Bullet Journaling is a great tool for everyone! If you have a life with things to do in it, this system could work for you. Some people get super artsy with theirs, and some people just use it plainly. That’s one of the best things about BuJo's: There is NO WRONG WAY to do it! You just figure out how you like it to be, and off you go. 

What benefits have you seen from using a Bullet Journal?  

SM: Personally, the BuJo system has helped me organize my life. I'm a very all-over-the-place kind of girl, and my BuJo helps me get back in line for the important things. It's also been a great stress-reliever for me. Being a teacher is a high-stress job, and having this little refuge to draw and write and make my own is a life-saver. 

I've also noticed that I take more pride in the tasks that I've accomplished. Seeing everything written down on a piece of paper is a visual pick-me-up some days. I just look back and see how much I have actually accomplished, and it helps me to be less hard on myself. 

What resources would you recommend for people getting started? 

SM: Here is a quick video that explains Ryder Caroll's method. It's a really good starting point if you're interested in beginning your own BuJo journey! 

My personal Bullet Journal hero is Kara Benz from Boho Berry! Her website is full of valuable resources for bullet journaling. She also has a YouTube channel with lots of BuJo flip throughs and How-To's for different spreads and techniques. My favorites are her monthly set up videos to show you what she's planning to try out in the upcoming month.

My biggest resource library is Pinterest. There are so many good ideas and tutorials that can be found, just by typing in "bullet journal"!

Anything else I should have asked?

SM: Just like with any hobby, there are toys *cough* I mean TOOLS that go along with it. All you really need is a blank notebook and a pen or pencil. But, if you're like me and you need color, there are many options out there for you to try out! I'm currently using Pilot V5 Hi-Techpoint Pens (Black, Blue, Green, Red, Purple, Turquoise and Pink) for everyday writing; Staedtler Pourus Point pens for coloring in; Bic highlighters; BuJo stickers from Boho Berry's Etsy store; and a blank lined hardcover journal that my mom bought for me from Chapters [a Canadian bookstore] for Christmas. Though, once this book is used up I am planning on getting myself a dot-grid Leuchtturm1917 A5. I also have an Amazon wishlist a mile long for other tools to try out!


Sarah Michaud is a 31-year-old teacher living on the east coast of Canada. She spends her days working in her Bullet Journal, gaming, reading, and looking for new and inventive ways of torturing her students with knowledge. She wants to travel the world, and is on her way to doing so! Her 6-year twin niece and nephew are the loves of her life. You can follow her on Instagram at @sasabelle_a




Have you tried bullet journaling? What do you like most about it?