What is the Purpose of the Dotted Journal?

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Written By Daniel

Avid journal writer and founder of JOURNLING.

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A dotted journal, also known as a dot grid journal or a bullet journal, is a type of notebook that features a grid of small, evenly-spaced dots instead of traditional lines or blank pages. The purpose of a dotted journal is to provide a flexible and customizable framework for organizing and tracking various aspects of one’s life, such as to-do lists, goals, habits, and schedules. The dot grid layout allows users to create their own layouts and designs, catering to their specific needs and preferences.

Some common uses of a dotted journal include:

  1. Bullet journaling: A method of rapid logging, which combines elements of a to-do list, diary, and planner. The system was developed by Ryder Carroll and has gained significant popularity for its flexibility and adaptability.
  2. Sketching and doodling: The subtle dot grid can act as a guide for artists and designers, providing structure without being too intrusive.
  3. Note-taking: The dot grid can be used to create custom layouts for taking notes, such as the Cornell method, mind maps, or tables.
  4. Habit tracking: Users can create habit trackers to monitor and maintain daily or monthly habits.
  5. Goal setting and tracking: Users can set and track their short-term and long-term goals, breaking them down into actionable steps.
  6. Planning and scheduling: Dotted journals can be used to create daily, weekly, or monthly calendars and schedules.

A dotted journal serves as a versatile tool for personal organization, productivity, and self-reflection, allowing users to tailor their journaling experience to their individual needs and preferences.

Why would people prefer a dotted journal to a lined journal?

I’ve filled nearly 40 journals thus far, and they’ve been primarily blank page or ruled page journals. I learned about dotted or bullet journals online doing what I do, which is talking about journaling A LOT. I asked around what compels people to try the bullet journal.

Ruled journals are popular among those who primarily use them for writing, as the lines provide guidance and structure. Blank journals are favored by those who like to sketch, draw, or write freely without any constraints. Dotted journals, or bullet journals, offer a versatile middle ground, catering to those who want flexibility for various purposes such as planning, note-taking, and even sketching.

Here are a few pros on the bullet journal side:


The dot grid pattern in a dotted journal offers a more flexible structure than lined journals. This flexibility allows users to create custom layouts for various purposes, such as to-do lists, calendars, habit trackers, and more, without being confined to the lines on the page.

Guided creativity

Dotted journals provide a subtle framework that guides users in drawing, sketching, and doodling, while still allowing for creative freedom. The dots can be used as reference points for shapes and designs, while being less intrusive than lines.

Improved legibility

Some people find that the dot grid pattern helps with their handwriting and overall organization. The evenly-spaced dots can be used to align text and create a neater, more legible writing experience.


Users can tailor the dot grid layout to their preferences by connecting dots to create lines, grids, or other shapes. This customization can make the journaling experience more personal and enjoyable.


Some people simply prefer the minimalist and clean look of a dotted journal compared to a lined journal. The dots are often less visible than lines, creating a less cluttered appearance on the page.

Multi-purpose usage

Dotted journals can be used for a variety of purposes, such as note-taking, planning, drawing, or bullet journaling, making them a more versatile choice than lined journals, which are primarily suited for writing.

Which do you prefer?

Leave me a comment, drop me a note on the contact page, or hit me up on Twitter and tell me what type of journal you prefer and why. I’m always interested to learn.

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