Notebooks tend to come in 4 different page types these days: lined, dot grid and blank. Having tried them all, here is my take on what is best for what!
Lined paper is best for
- List making
- Brain dumping
- Multiple columns
If you like a combination of lined and dot grid, the Siwengde notebook is one has both.
Dot grid paper is best for
- Bullet journaling
- Anything where you want to have an even amount of spacing for each element of the design e.g. a habit tracker
- Anything with boxes
- For drafting layouts before creating a printable
There’s a reason dot grid notebooks are becoming more and more common – they provide a guide for writing straight and for drawing up page layouts too (best of both!)
Dot grid notebooks I recommend:
- Artist’s Loft Dot Grid Journal Review
- Minimalism Art Dot Grid Notebook for Bullet Journaling
- Bullet Journal Planner by Letter Love Designs
One thing to note with dot grid paper is that the space tends to be 0.5cm (5mm) which can be quite small to write on. I also prefer wider notebooks so there’s space for 2 columns for list making.
If you can, count the number of dots horizontally and vertically before buying a notebook. The reason is that it can affect your spreads e.g. if you want 6 dots for each box for a monthly calendar but the notebook you bought might mean you end up with ‘dead space’ on the page.
I tend to use the dead space for a title or drawing a pattern:
Learn how to make your own printable dot grid paper (tutorial here)
Graph paper is best for
- Habit trackers
- Savings trackers
- Tracking goal versus actual e.g. blog statistics, weight loss, extra mortgage repayments etc.
I don’t tend to use graph paper very often as the printing of the lines can be too bold. Dot grid paper achieves the same as graph paper but the background is less obvious.
If you want to learn how to make your own printable graph paper I shared the tutorial in this post.
Blank paper is best for
- Mind maps
- Decorative spreads
- If you want to freehand draw things e.g. don’t care if each box for each day of a weekly spread is even
I’m a perfectionist so I tend to steer clear from blank paper. I’ll sometimes use it for sketching weekly spread layout ideas.
More bullet journal
- Minimalist Planner Decorating: Title Ideas for your Bullet Journal
- Bullet Journal Ideas: 26 Weekly Spread Layouts to Try
- 7 Bullet Journal Weekly Planner Spreads you probably haven’t thought of
- Arcing my Plum Paper Planner – everything you need to know if you’d like to try it yourself!
- 7 Planner supplies I don’t regret splurging on
- 10 Quick planner hacks you need to try (planning tips & inspiration)
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