Starting a bullet journal

Loads of individual lists, an agenda, a creative outlet: A Bullet Journal (BuJo) is something that you create yourself. Flow’s intern Suzanne starts 2020 with a whole load of empty pages and looks at how she can fill them.

My Bullet Journaling started in 2016. My mother has painted all her life and I was also known to make several attempts at painting myself. I made the sketches, but always ended up erasing my work; I was never satisfied and therefore didn’t ever get around to the painting part. Nevertheless, I wanted to do something creative. Something that really suits me.

I have a cupboard full of blank notebooks, pens and markers. Even though I am a true paper lover, I didn’t know how to channel it. Searching the Internet, I discovered Bullet Journals, a system developed by Ryder Carroll. I looked further on Pinterest and scrolled in awe at all the different creations.

The next day I went to the bookstore and bought my very first Bullet Journal. Back at home I stared at the blank pages. They scared me. ‘So, I have to fill this myself?’ I thought. My mind wandered to my empty notebooks that I sometimes used to create lists—packing lists, wish lists, and so on. ‘Aha, I can also do this in my BuJo.’ And thus, I filled my first pages up.

Now, three BuJos later, I have developed my own style. I love the combination of paper, stickers and hand-lettering. And the fact that it can be a bit messy. After all, it is my diary, agenda and compilation of individual lists. Occasionally I show my BuJo to my mom, who is proud that I have finally been able to find my own creative twist.

Read more Learning to knit: three websites

Fancy giving it a go yourself?


For a well-organized BuJo I use ‘keys’: icons for my tasks, activities and notes. I put a square in front of my tasks, so that I can color them in when I have done that particular task. If I want to postpone a task, I put an arrow in the square. But I rarely use this key. I usually just put a line through the task and write it down in the right place. When I need to do something important, I put an exclamation mark in front of it. I decorate the page with some doodles. I often choose plants and avoid using color for a sleek and simple look.

BuJo ideas

Making a list of ideas for your BuJo is highly recommended. I purposely make this list at the beginning of the book so that I can easily flip back when I need inspiration. For example, when I see a list of books that I want to read, I write them down in my BuJo. Then I search for inspiration on Pinterest and give it my own interpretation.

Annual overview

I also use my BuJo as an agenda, and then I easily have an annual overview too; I can see all the months and days of the year at a glance. Yes, it’s a bit of a job to create, but the result pays off. First, I sketch the month on the page in pencil and then the days. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Sometimes I write a day down twice, but it’s easy to amend with Tipp-Ex. Remember: It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Text Suzanne Kuijvenhoven, Translation Julia Gorodecky, Photography Floor van Koert

Promotional image Promotional image

More than 150 pages of paper goodies

paper book for food lovers

Are you a paper lover who also loves food? Then this might just be the book for you.

Shop here >