You might recall my last review of a bullet journal tips / ideas notebook (the Guide to Dot Journaling). I wasn’t that impressed with the book so went on the hunt for some other books that might have some more ideas for my weekly spreads. Enter: the Hack Your Journal book.
The book is a reasonable size at 7″ wide and 9 high x just over 0.5″ thick.
Topics covered in this book
All the usual things you’d expect to find in a planner or bullet journal are discussed in this book:
- Journaling supplies
- Monthly planning
- Weekly spreads
- Daily spreads
- Themed layouts e.g. travel planning, health
The book is setup into the sections in the photo below, with tips / spreads from 7 contributors – some are well known Instagrammers / bloggers and some I’d never heard of.
The book was very difficult to photograph due to the binding. I don’t understand why glue binding was used because it never lays flat! If the intention is for someone to refer to this book while doing a spread and following the instructions, the book should lay flat without having to place another book (or something equally heavy) on it to keep the pages open.
I didn’t take photos of all of the inside pages, just some of them to give you an idea of what you can expect if you buy this book.
Tips / Setting up your journal
At the front of the book is some getting started info with generic tips for setting up your notebook, using a key / choosing symbols, choosing a notebook, pens other planner supplies you might want to purchase / incorporate into your planner.
I was surprised there’s no comment or reference to how bullet journaling originated i.e. there is no credit back to the original creator (Ryder Carroll) in the introduction section.
It has very overview information e.g. ‘use highlighters’ but doesn’t list out ways you could incorporate highlighters into your spreads, or highlighter brands the authors recommend. There is also no mention to dot grid notebooks they recommend or their recommended notebooks for specific things e.g. top pick if you want to use watercolors
After the state-the-obvious introductory section, we move onto the page layouts:
There are some good ideas in the page layouts section but if you follow bullet journal blogs or Instagrammers you’ll have probably seen some of these layouts before.
They do give a few different layout ideas for each type of spread.
For monthly planning there are:
- Calendar style layout
- Two-Page Date List
- Two-Column Layout
- Linear calendar
- Circle Calendar Spread
Each spread lists out supplies needed for the spread but it’s basic. For example, the circle calendar spread doesn’t even reference a specific brand or tool they recommend. It just says ‘large circle stencil or compass’ – they could’ve at least added something like ‘we recommend the Helix Circle Maker.’
I like the added extra of the blue boxes giving tips / pointing things out and think that would be useful to a bullet journaling newbie.
Weekly spreads included:
- Weekly dashboard
- Categorised task lists
- Vertical weekly schedule
- Layout with decorative headers
- Horizontal weekly
There are other tips scattered throughout like decorative headers and hand lettering.
The daily planning section has spread ideas for:
- Vertical time line
- Vertical with habit trackers
- Prioritised task lists
- Sectioned task list
- Open ended writing space
- Daily planning table
The next section has assorted layout ideas for other areas of your life including:
- Health and wellness
- Monthly time tracking
- Routines trackers
- Project planning
- Memory keeping
- Wish and gift lists
- TV series trackers
At the back are 8 double-sided practice pages with 5mm dot grid spacing (the same dot grid spacing you can find in most notebooks).
There is a resources page at the back which is very brief…. they only reference 6 websites which everyone already knows about e.g. Michaels and then just says designers sell stuff in their own stores… Not very helpful. There is no list of recommended designers beyond the 7 contributors to the book, no list of resources or shops listed by country, style of bullet journaling etc.
However there is a handy index and each page in the book is numbered so you can find a layout idea quickly.
Would I recommend this book?
This book takes about 30 – 60 minutes to skim though. You could find far more information in the same time online. However, if you don’t want to scroll through blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook groups etc. for ideas and are a complete newbie to bullet journaling then you might find this book useful. If you’ve been bullet journaling for a while there are far more tips and bullet journal spread ideas online (which you don’t need to pay for). The contents of this book are just a regurgitation of information that is widely available for free on the internet condensed into a nicely formatted book.
How does this compare to other notebooks about bullet journaling? I like this book better the the Guide to Dot Journaling I reviewed in this post. Because this book had 7 contributors instead of just the 1 author, there’s a better variety of layouts / styles. I also like the formatting / tips in the blue boxes on the various layouts scattered throughout this book.
If you like this book, it’s available in my sister’s planner supplies shop, Carefully Crafted.
More bullet journaling tips
- 20 Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Ideas (One Page Layouts)
- 7 Useful spreads your bullet journal should have
- Travel planning in a bullet journal
Found this post helpful? Pin it!