The Perfect Beginner’s Bullet Journal Notebook Review

It has been coming to my attention recently that a good portion of my viewership is bullet journal beginners and I get a lot of questions regarding my notebook recommendations. While I will always recommend a Leuchtturm 1917 or a Rhodia Goalbook, for the first 3 or 4 years of my bullet journaling journey I used an Essentials Gridline A5 Notebook. Here I will be reviewing the Essentials A5 Notebooks for bullet journal beginners! This post may include affiliate links.

While I used the gridline, Essentials A5 notebooks (made by Peter Pauper Press Inc.) also have dot matrix, blank, and lined page types! I will only be discussing the gridline and dot matrix.


Essentials Notebooks Specs (A5 Gridline & Dot Matrix)

  • 100-gsm acid-free/archival paper preserves your work
  • Inside back cover, pocket holds notes, business cards, etc
  • Elastic band attached to back cover keeps journal closed
  • Ribbon bookmark keeps your place
  • Durable hardcover binding
  • Classic A5 size (5-3/4 inches by 8-1/4 inches)
  • 192 dot-grid pages
  • Available on Amazon: Dot Matrix & Grid)
The Perfect Beginner’s Bullet Journal Notebook Review

First Impressions

I started using this notebook so long ago that I do not even remember my first impression, though I have always been impressed with the notebook. I just happened to be lucky, and the essentials notebooks were the first I happened across when I went out to actually search for a bullet journal. My first journal was different, but I had not bought that notebook for bullet journaling originally.

I would love to hear what your first impressions of the essentials notebook are! Submit them in the comments below, and I might add them to this post!

The Perfect Beginner’s Bullet Journal Notebook Review

Pros & Cons of the Essentials Notebooks

Like any other notebook or product, there are pros and cons. This section will focus on my personal pros and cons for the Essentials notebook after years of use.

Pros:

  • Hardcover is durable
  • Elastic band keeps the notebook from getting damaged and bent
  • Pocket in the back is a great place to store loose notes
  • Thick, smooth pages make ink look vibrant and write smooth
  • White pages (this could be a con if you prefer off-white)
  • Great price for the quality (generally around $9-$12; equivalent notebooks can run as high as $30)

Cons:

  • Only one color choice – black
  • Pages are not numbered (this can be a pain if you like to have an index)
  • Only one ribbon, some people prefer two (you can easily add a second ribbon DIY style)

Final Impression

Do I recommend this notebook? YES, 100% yes. I particularly recommend this notebook for beginners because it’s a great quality notebook to learn in without being worried about ruining an expensive notebook. I used this notebook for the first 4ish years of bullet journaling, it’s perfect. The most significant and really only issues I have with the Essentials notebooks is the lack of page numbers and color options. However, if you are into a plain black journal, don’t mind adding your own page numbers (or don’t use them) then there should be no issue! I create all my gifted notebooks using the essentials notebooks, and everyone always raves about them.

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5 Time Management Tools You Need To Be Productive

We live in a fast-paced society surrounded by incredibly busy people. And when you are an incredibly busy person, it is hard to keep everything straight. A lot of the time this internal chaos is the result of poor time management. This article provides 5 tools for improving time management.This article utilizes Amazon Affiliate Links

Sleeping

#1 Sleep

The first step in time management improvement is to get enough sleep. When you are running on less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep your brain isn’t functioning at its highest capacity. Because of this, you become more easily overwhelmed, exhausted, and lazy feeling. Learn more about designing your bedroom to get a good nights sleep here.

When you are able to get 7 hours of consecutive sleep you will feel amazing! You will be more capable of handling the crazy chaos each day brings.

To Do

#2 Daily To-Do List

There are a million ways to improve your time management and one of the most common methods is a daily to-do list. While I prefer a planner with everything all laid out in one portable spot, a to-do list is super simple and easy for anyone to use.

A to-do list doesn’t have to be anything fancy or costly. All you really need is a pen and some paper.

When it comes to utilizing a to-do list, I recommend referring to it each morning. Before you get anything done, read over your to-do list and revise it if you need to. Now you know what your goals are for the day and you can get started!

#3 Planner

My favorite time management tool is my planner! There are, again, a million types of planners. You can use a bullet journal, premade planner, notebook, or an app on your phone or computer.

Bullet Journal & Notebook

I currently use a bullet journal (see my 15 simple bullet journal page ideas post or the bullet journal beginners challenge for more detail). Before making a bullet journal, I recommend looking at other bullet journals to give you some ideas. You can see a wide variety of page ideas over on my Planners and Calendars Pinterest board. Once you have figured out how you want your journal to work, you’ll need a notebook. I highly recommend the Essentials Grid-lined Notebook.

The bullet journal is one of the most customizable planner options. A notebook is very similar though. If you choose to go the notebook route, then good for you! Each person is different and the important thing is that you find something that works for you and your needs.

Premade Planners

The third option is a pre-made planner. There are a million brands and styles out there to choose from. Check out these planners by At-A-Glance, there are some great options!

Apps & Websites

The final option is phone or computer apps. There are so many apps nowadays that it is hard to keep track. Some apps that I use and love for time management assistance include myhomeworkapp.com, Google Calendar for Android, and Microsoft OneNote.

myHomeworkapp

myHomeworkapp.com

I like myhomeworkapp.com because it is explicitly for homework and delivers customized notifications to my phone to remind me to get my projects done on time. Myhomework is also amazing because it works on both my phone and my laptop, providing me with access to my homework no matter where I am. Lastly, the myhomework phone app is amazing because it comes with a widget that displays my homework right there.

google calender

Google Calendar App

Google Calendar for Android is nice because it links right up to my google account making it accessible both on my laptop and on my phone. I used this app more before I discovered bullet journaling but still tend to keep it around for the reminders feature.

Microsoft One Note

One Note

OneNote, like the other two apps, is mobile and laptop friendly. Here I can make quick notes or to-do lists from my phone when I do not have access to my bullet journal. I can then see these lists on my laptop.

With all your lists, to-do’s, and appointments in one place, you are now better prepared to take on everything the day wants to throw at you.

#4 Calendar

This next time management tool was already touched on a little bit, but I’ve decided to talk about it separately because of how useful it really is. Calendars provide a nice monthly overview and can include a variety of things and come in a variety of shapes.

Like I mentioned, I use my bullet journal calendar and Google Calendar for Android. However, my most-used calendar is a whiteboard. I’ve had my whiteboard calendar for so long, I don’t have a single clue where I got it. However, I was able to find a similar one, you can check that out here.

My whiteboard calendar is a life saver. I love it because it doesn’t waste paper, mounts right up on the wall with Command Strips, and can be easily accessed by everyone in my household. I usually put appointments, work schedule, and events up on this calendar, so it is less about detail and more an overview.

#5 Have an Organized Space

The final time management tool is having an organized space. If you are living in clutter, then you will feel cluttered. Having a space that is designated for your work and has all the supplies you require within reach is essential. If you would like to learn more about how to declutter your workspace head on over my 6 Ways to Declutter Your Desk Space post.

My Time Management Tools Resource List

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