How to Set Up a Digital Bullet Journal

FYI: There are no affiliate links in this post! I am just super excited to share my digital planner journey with you! Any product or app that is endorsed in this post is solely my opinion, because I use and love it!

So, if you follow my instagram, it is no surprise to you that I am a new iPad user. I LOVE my iPad Pro. Love it. Adore it even. So, it should also be no surprise that I’m giving digital planning a try! There are pros and cons, but I’ll go into those in a different blog post.

This is my February Planner:

I didn’t want to set up an entire 12 month BUJO just yet. I’m not sure if digital planning is the right fit for me. I might go back to my trusty Northbook journal if this doesn’t work out. That being said, here is how I set myself up.

Step 1: Choose an App for Your Planner

I chose the Goodnotes 5 App. Why? It’s the only one I really knew anything about. I love that Goodnotes allows you to import and export PDF’s, plus make and copy notebooks. I’ve used it to mark up articles for class, to take notes during meetings, and to brainstorm ideas. It’s a great version of the “all in one place” method of planning. Everything is right there, so I can poke through a couple of folders and find any idea, article, or thought I might need.

Though I am not familiar with them, there are other options with similar features. OneNote, Evernote, and Notability are all similar apps. From here on out, though, I’ll be talking about Goodnotes 5.

Step 2: Set Up Your Notebook

I wanted my digital planner to be a little special, so I designed a cover and pages in Procreate and uploaded them to Goodnotes. You don’t have to do that. GoodNotes 5 comes equipped with dot notebook pages, as well as some super cute cover designs. Simply add a notebook, title it something like “This Month’s Plans”, and choose dot notebook pages.

For my February Spread, I chose a landscape layout to get that “full page spread” feel. If you want something a little more “notebook” like, download my template for free here.

Step 3: Your Monthly Set Up

Just like any other BUJO Spread, I started my digital journal with all the same monthly pages. The first page was a future log, followed by a hand lettered quote. (I created that in Procreate and imported it.)

Then, I set up all my trackers. Though my mood tracker was created in Procreate (download it for free here), my habit tracker was created using the shape tool. It was super easy to draw out the circles and lines to create to this tracker, and a traditional grid-style tracker would be even easier.

Step 4: Sticker Page

Here is where the digital bujo can be very different from a traditional pen and paper journal. Though the updated GoodNotes 5 has added pen styles and weights, it is still a challenge to get the same beautiful lettering I am capable of with traditional pens and markers. It is time consuming and doesn’t turn out as nice.

The solution? Digital Stickers! There are a ton of Etsy stores and websites that specialize in digital planner solutions, like stickers. You can easily find inexpensive options to download and use over and over. (Shameless plug, I sell a few sets myself in my etsy store.) For me, part of what I love is lettering and creating… so I made some themed stickers over in Procreate. If you are using a drawing app to make digital stickers, be sure you can save them as a PNG. PNGs are high quality images that allow transparent backgrounds, making stickers easier to work with in your spreads.

Why create a sticker page rather than just create as you go? Really, it’s for ease of use. With digital stickers, I can set up a weekly spread that matches my theme quickly and easily. All I have to do is select, copy, and paste my sticker onto a new page. Then, I can draw on or around them just like a normal journal.

Step 5: Weekly Spreads

Finally, I’m ready for a weekly spread. I love to play with space in my spreads (always have), so each week I’ve created a different layout. Play with the shape tool, your stickers, and count out spaces just like you would your traditional journal. Then use it the same way. Here is a shot of my first week in February, after the pen:

Tips and Lessons from My First Digital Spread:

I have learned a few valuable things from this first spread, so learn from my mistakes.

The more high resolution images you upload into GoodNotes, the glitchy-er it gets. In fact, when I first set up my journal it wouldn’t even load correctly! There is a fix to that, though. The more that you can upload to GoodNotes templates, the better. I set up my first several pages, including my future log and high resolution mood tracker, as a KeyNote Presentation. Then, I exported those files as PDFs and imported them back into my notebook. In the PDF version, the high res photos can’t be moved or edited… but I can still write and color over the top of them. Though my stickers page still takes a long time to load, everything else in my journal works great now.

Another quick tip… you can add custom colors to your marker palette if you have the HEX code. (It’s that number after the # when you are choosing colors from a palette). I included the colors and HEX codes from the images I made in Procreate on my sticker page. Adding those colors into my custom palette was a breeze, and now I can coordinate my colors all month long.

Are you using GoodNotes (or another app) for digital planning? How do you like it? Share your journey in the comments!

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