Hello Planning Mashers!
Looking for a way to use that cute blank notebook that’s gathering dust on your bookshelf? I know I have quite a few (just take a look at some of my Reels!).
But that’s true, sometimes we have more journals than we need. However, it’s sad to leave your blank notebooks just gathering dust on your bookshelves. So let’s find a better way.
Here are 19 creative, fun, and useful ideas on how you can actually start using your empty journals.
Do you have any blank notebooks lying around the house? Chances are, you probably do, if you’re reading this post.
I bet you and I share a love for all things stationery, and that means that you probably couldn’t stop yourself from buying that cute but maybe unnecessary notebook.
Or maybe somebody gave it to you as a present, and you want to show your love and gratitude but you don’t really know what to do with it. Whatever your situation is, I’m here to save us all! Captain Masha to the rescue!
Here are 19 fun and creative ideas on how you can use that brand-new notebook and actually turn it into something valuable.
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0. Start a Bullet Journal there!
Ok, this is technically cheating but I just had to say it. You probably already know how obsessed I am with my BuJo and how much it changed my life (if you don’t, check my post on 5 Ways Bullet Journal Changed My Life In One Year), so I can’t recommend it enough!
Chances are, you might already be Bullet Journaling in another notebook, so I won’t count this one as a proper entry to the list.
For those of you who are new here and don’t really have any idea what Bullet Journal is and how it can help you, first of all, welcome the BuJo community!
Second, go straight ahead to my Ultimate Guide To Bullet Journal For Beginners where you can find all the information you need to get started.
Now that we got that out of the way let’s dive into our list!
1. Gratitude Journal
My gratitude log is one of the most impactful pages I have in my Bullet Journal. Just taking time every day to find something you are grateful for is immensely powerful.
A gratitude log helps you to see life differently, to notice more of the wonderful things around you, to be more appreciative and mindful. Starting a gratitude journal in your cute notebook might be the little happiness boost you needed.
If you want to learn more about using a gratitude log and get inspired by gratitude logs from other creators check my post Gratitude Log For Happiness In Your Life.
To get you started with your daily gratitudes, read the post 15 Fantastic Gratitude Prompts.
2. Morning Pages
Journaling is a great exercise. Putting your thoughts on paper helps you to clarify your life, organize ideas and see the why of your behavior.
There is no better time to journal than in the morning when your brain is in this perfect state of being alert and creative, but not yet overwhelmed with your daily responsibilities.
It’s also super simple – just wake up and the first thing you do is write three pages of text in your journal. Don’t analyze or overthink it, just let your thoughts flow on the paper.
Obviously, you can always tweak this to your needs. You can journal any way you want, and that empty notebook you have will finally become useful.
3. Practice Journal
Are you learning lettering or doodling or something else that requires you to do drills for? Why not use your notebook as a practice journal?
This is very useful because that way, you’ll be able to actually see your progress! Plus generally, it’s better to use a proper quality notebook for, let’s say, lettering, than destroying your precious Tombows with printing paper (yup, totally happened to me – my poor first black Tombow is SO busted… Lesson learned!).
Speaking of progressing with your creative skills – I recommend you to give a try to my go-to place – Skillshare. Skillshare is a learning platform with thousands of classes on all topics imaginable, including creativity!
Skillshare is where I learned doodling, lettering, blogging skills, and where I’m learning watercolor now.
You can get access to ALL their classes for free if you follow my link and get 2 weeks FREE premium access to thousands of classes.
If you need some class ideas to get you started, be sure to check my blog post How To Bring Your Bullet Journal To The Next Level.
4. Book Summary Notes
I LOVE self-help and personal development books! So much to learn and so many great new techniques you can master from them. However, as time goes by I realize that less than 10% of all information available in the book stays with me.
Of course, you can reread the book, but that’s not always a possibility. I mean who has the time to read the same book every few months? My solution – book summary notes, college style! I love to make them straight to the point and very visual.
If you don’t care about self-help books, well, try doing the same kind of notes for any other book, be it fiction or non-fiction.
It’s a fantastic way to unload all the information in a condensed format, so you can always look back and relive in your memory your favorite parts or quotes. You’ll definitely need a separate notebook for these!
For more tips on how to create such summaries check the post Sketchnotes: Introduction Into Visual Note Taking.
Brainstorming is a great way to solve problems and come up with new creative ideas. Just sit there with pen and paper and start writing anything that comes to your mind on the topic you are trying to brainstorm.
Some ideas will be complete rubbish, others will need some work to be properly functional. Yet, a few ones… a few will be real gems! It’s a great way to bring out that one genius idea hiding somewhere in the back of your brain!
It’ll be so useful to have a separate notebook for that! Every time you’re low on inspiration or feel like you need some fresh ideas – you can always just read through your old brainstorming sessions to get that spark of creativity.
6. Memory Book
Preserving your memories is so important! I know I totally sound like my grandma now. She used to encourage me to take more pictures, to fill out my photo albums, and to keep significant mementos. Yet, the time has taught me she was absolutely right.
We forget 90% of our cherished memories! (that figure might not be entirely accurate though) THE POINT IS! Now that I started doing monthly memory pages, I can totally see it.
Putting your memories on paper helps you to be more appreciative of your life and actually save forever those little moments of happiness that otherwise would’ve been lost in time.
You can do it as a diary, a collage scrapbooking style, a set of doodles, and text – anyways that speaks to you! That notebook will become your place of joy, and looking back will always cheer you up and remind you of the good things in your life.
If you want to learn more about memory keeping check my post How To: Memory Keeping In Your Bullet Journal.
7. Food Log
Do you plan your meals? Are you on a special diet or have any food restrictions? Just adding those to your weekly spreads might take too much space. Why not create a special food-related journal?
Write down all your food preferences, weekly meal plans, your favorite recipes, even the amount of calories some foods might have, and other things like that.
This can be such a lifesaver – no more browsing the Internet for ideas – just open your notebook and you’ll already have your own personal dietary advisor.
Our brain has immense power, it controls and influences everything in our life. Affirmations are the best way to harness that power and use it. That way you can shape your life to the way you want it to be, and to become the best version of yourself.
Writing down your affirmations in one journal every day gives you a boost of positivity every morning and is a crucial step towards improving your life and yourself.
If you want to learn more about the power of affirmations, I can’t recommend enough the Miracle Morning book. Truly, give it a chance, it might change your life.
9. Lists Journal
Are you addicted to making lists (or I guess in Bullet Journal terms you can say collections)? I totally am – My favorite books, movies to watch, TV shows, the list goes on and on. You can check my post on 50+ Collections Ideas if you need some inspiration.
Write all your lists in a separate notebook. You’ll finally have all the space to run wild! Be your own WatchMojo or Buzzfeed without clickbait!
10. Travel Journal
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You came back from an absolutely amazing vacation and took a million pictures on our smartphones. And we never go back to see any of them I know I barely ever do!
That’s why the best way to preserve your travel memories is a travel journal! Add there your pictures and little memorabilia, do some journal entries – anything you want!
You can get some inspiration in my posts Pages To Add To Your Travel Journal and Ultimate Guide To Travel Journaling.
11. Bucket List
I’ve been meaning to go ice skating for a few years in a row. The problem is, I usually remember I wanted to do it only when the summer has already arrived here in Beijing and I’m melting like ice under +40 C.
There are so many things we want to do in life, or even during certain seasons and, often, these things are forgotten among our daily responsibilities.
An easy way to make sure you have your head straight and you’re actually making time to do the things you want is to create a bucket list and make sure to visit it now and then.
I bet you already have many ideas for bucket lists – things to do this summer, things you want to do this year, things you want to do before 30, and so on. Put them all in that cute unused notebook you have laying around.
For more bucket list inspirations check my posts:
31 Fall Bucket List ideas and Bullet Journal Inspirations
25 Inspiring Spring Bucket List Ideas And Bullet Journal Pages
12. Things That Make Me Happy
We all need a little pick-me-up sometimes. Why not create a special journal dedicated only to things that make you happy?
Things that make you smile, perfect morning routines, favorite places to eat, compliments you received from others. There are so many things you can add!
Feel free to give a read to my post on 7 Inspiring Bullet Journal Pages to Bring You Joy, or add your own suggestions in the comments below.
13. Language Study
Are you studying a foreign language? Having a separate study journal might be very useful.
Write down new words, interesting expressions, the best resources to use for studying, and so on.
A little announcement here – I’ll be starting my study journal soon since I am leaving China in a few months and moving to Bolivia for a year or so. And no I don’t speak any Spanish… This is exciting and a bit scary!
I’m also catching up on my French these days, and above is my image of a French study journal.
14. Health Journal
Your health should always be your priority. Your success starts and ends with your health. This is something I started to understand only recently after I got married and I realized that my health isn’t really only about me anymore, I need to stay healthy for my husband as well.
Ok, getting a little too sentimental here. Let’s go back to business! A Health log on a separate notebook is a FANTASTIC idea.
There are so many things you can track and plan to stay healthy and in your best shape, that honestly, a separate journal can be a good option, especially if you’re on some workout plan or a diet.
If you’re looking for some page ideas, just check this post on 11 Health and Fitness Bullet Journal Page Ideas.
15. Master Task List (Brain Dump)
Feeling overwhelmed? One of the best solutions I could come up with is unloading your brain with a Master task list. Basically, that means you just sit down and write everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) you need to do.
You can read more about this in my post Brain Dump For Calmer And More Productive Mind.
Creating those master lists helps you to lower the pressure from keeping everything in your head and to concentrate on just completing these tasks. This is an exercise you can do any time you feel like you have too much on your plate.
16. Goals Journal
Never be afraid of dreaming big! Repeat after me: I need A WHOLE NOTEBOOK to write down all the things I want to accomplish! Yes!
You might have many goals or just a few big ones, but never let anyone tell you they are not important!
They need all the attention and care you can bring to them. You can write down your advance and accomplishments towards your goals, your plans to accomplish them, and many more things, so many that surely one notebook might not be even enough.
17. Routines Journal
A good routine is the key to being more productive. If you have a routine already established, you won’t be needing to spend your mental energy on making choices, so you’ll be able to save it for more important things.
Plus, having an established routine helps you to easily make good choices. For example, you wake up and if you don’t know what to have for breakfast, you’ll have something unhealthy like a tart pop and canned coffee or something.
This is the worst way to start your day. However, if you have an established morning routine, you already know that when you wake up you’ll have a smoothie and some oats. No doubts or unhealthy decisions there.
Take some time and create a journal for all your routines – morning routine, evening routine, planning routine, study routine – any routine you need in your life! (I bet the word routine now sounds funny to you after all that ha ha)
You can learn more about routines in my post Creating Routines In Your Bullet Journal For Success And Structure.
18. Event Planner
If you need to plan any events, using a separate journal can be really beneficial. Whether it’s your friend’s birthday party or your wedding – you’ll always need to think of so many details!
Dates, catering, clothes, guest lists, etc… A whole new journal can provide you with enough space and focus to plan that perfect event everyone will enjoy.
Or it can be just a journal where you plan little things, like a dinner party with friends, or the next branch with your girlfriends,
19. Hobby Journal
And finally, I wanted to end with one of my favorite alternatives, your very own personal Hobby Journal! It doesn’t matter if it’s stamp collecting, rock climbing, or D&D.
Write down some ideas you have, supplies you need or want, some deadlines (in case of gardening, for example, there are deadlines on when to plan what).
Create collections for your dream hobby project and start working on these. You know your own hobby better than anyone and the list of things to write about is ENDLESS!
What’s your hobby? Let us know in the comments below! But whatever it is I’m sure you can turn your notebook into a hobby journal and make it useful.
These are my 19 ideas, but how do you use your blank journals? What are your favorite ways to turn those cuties into something fun and useful? Share with us in the comments!
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And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling and Don’t Be a Blob!