How to Start a Dot Journal

Want to learn how to dot journal? The concept behind a bullet journal is simple: it's your go-to place for your planner needs, to do list, and journal. But does it work? This author shares her method and so far, I've been loving the ideas I've learned!

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I received a complimentary copy of the book, Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide to review. All comments and opinions are my own.

Are you a planner girl? A list writer? A journalista? I am all the above but when I saw the dot journal movement start up a few years ago, I kind of rolled my eyes. I felt like I wasn’t the type to start a dot journal. I mean, I LOVE to create and make things so you would think that creating layouts for my planner would be super fun.

But when I scrolled through the bullet journaling (also called dot journaling) images on Instagram and Pinterest, all I could conjure up was feelings of overwhelm. I have to use a ruler? These pages are PERFECT and GORGEOUS and wow, I don’t have time for that.

So I put it off.

Buying A Billion Planners When I Only Needed ONE

I kept on buying fancy planners a couple of times a year plus a regular journal. I also continued my bad habit of writing really important things on teeny tiny scraps of paper. When was my dentist appointment again? I know I wrote it on the corner of a pink piece of paper, so if I could find that . . .

But something happened last year. I was using a ginormous planner at the time that came with cute stickers and tabs but for some reason, was NOT working for me. I loved that planner, but it didn’t love me back. I needed a place to jot down information from a parent-teacher meeting. And a place to write my grocery list. And I didn’t want all of those budget sheets because I do that in Excel. Argh.

Here's a simple monthly days spread from Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide

I mentioned above that I would buy planners a couple of times a year because what usually would happen is I would get really excited about one brand and then halfway through the year, I would hit this frustrated place. And around that time, I would be at Target and a new planner would call out to me. I will solve all your problems! Look! I have lots of empty spaces for you to write in!

Starting a Dot Journal for the First Time

Anyway, there came a day when I decided to just go for it and try a dot journal. I had a blank composition book handy, and I figured if I absolutely hated it, I could just go back to my big planner. (Oh, the other problem about my aforementioned awesome planner was it was huge! Didn’t fit in any purse or bag. :()

I started bullet journaling and shared my experience here. It evolved back into a planner at the beginning of this year. That still wasn’t flexible enough for me so I was incredibly grateful when the publishers of Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide reached out to me. Talk about perfect timing!

When I first glanced through the book, I felt that feeling of perfectionism and overwhelm hit me again. Not gonna lie. Her layouts are so neat and wonderful. My dot journal was ashamed to sit next to this book. At first.

I love this book list idea from Dot Journaling: a Practical Guide

Then I began reading and was grateful as the author assured us that dot journaling is whatever you want it to be, that her layouts are guidelines and ideas. She even admitted that everything looked perfect in this book because it’s her job to make it look nice. Which makes sense.

I’ve been slowly incorporating her methods into my current bullet journal and have been really pleased. I like how she shares SO MANY different ideas of what you can do in a dot journal. And I appreciate how she has spreads that are very minimalist all the way to more detailed versions. If anything, looking through this book got me dreaming of what I want to do in my dot journal.

Um, yes. I need this debt tracker in my bullet journal. (Courtesy of Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide)

My hands-down favorite thing about dot journaling is how it is completely mine. I love that I have quotes on one page, notes from a webinar on the next, and my to-do list on the next page. It is a better representation of what is really going on in my life, that’s for sure. I also love that I can easily see how I’m progressing on different goals and how I’m incorporating my values into my life and business. All of these things are housed under the same cover (whereas they used to all be in separate places, usually never to be seen again! :/)

I still haven’t broken my habit of writing on tiny slips of paper, but now I washi tape them straight into my dot journal (if I still need them.) It adds some color and I can find the note again.

I appreciate how the author carefully explains all the ins and outs of dot journaling so you can literally get a blank book and start immediately. That’s my kind of book.

You can pick up your copy of Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide on Amazon or in any bookstore.

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