How to Bullet Journal: Beginner's Guide

How to Bullet Journal: A Beginner’s Guide to Everything You Need to Know About Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling has gone mainstream. In fact, Buzz feed wrote an article, WTF is A Bullet Journal and Why You Should Start One? An Explainer.

The first time I heard anything about bullet journaling was about three years ago on Instagram and I decided I needed to learn more.

As of today, there are 1,738,249 posts tagged #bulletjournal. The results span from minimalist bullet journals to pages that are works of art. To a beginner bullet journalist, browsing these posts can be pretty intimidating. 

What is a Bullet Journal

Created by Ryder Carroll, The Bullet Journal Method, a planning system is pretty straightforward and simplistic.

He designed it as a way to track, organize, and plan while keeping everything in one handy notebook. Watch this video to get the perfect overview.

No more Post-Its, todo lists, or reminders floating around your home, office, locker, or car. 

Using the bullet journal system, you'll create an index to easily find to do lists, events, notes, logs, and future plans. As you can see in the images below, millions have embraced the system, modified it, and made it their own.

Check out this bullet journal infographic:

Bullet Journal Supplies

What do you need to start a bullet journal? To get started, you only need a notebook and pen.

The most popular notebooks for bullet journaling are from Leuchtturm and Moleskine. These brands created gridded, lined, and dotted journals to help keep your pages neat. I've used both for years and have things I love about both!

The rest is up to you. Many bullet journalists love embellishing their pages as a creative outlet. You can use just a few colored markers, or go crazy with stickers, washi tape, watercolor paints, etc.

Here's a post and video I made on What to Put in a Bullet Journal Toolbox. It's all of my favorite tools for getting fancy with my bullet journal.

What to Put in a  Bullet Journal Toolbox

What to Put in a Bullet Journal Toolbox

Bullet Journal Setup

Ok now that you have the supplies needed, let's get started. How do you setup a bullet journal? The choice is up to you! Most likely, your bullet journal will evolve as you figure out what works for you and what doesn't from month to month.

Here are some bullet journal spread ideas to get you inspired.

Image From  Stylish.Historian

I love this bullet journal monthly spread from Stylish.Historian because it's packed with so much information yet, it's still clean, happy, and easy to follow.

On the left page is her monthly spread accented with line decorations. The page on the right has a habit tracker, monthly goals/to dos, future log, and finally an inspirational quote.

Image from  JensBulletJournal

I'm so inspired by Jen's Bullet Journal page! She set a goal to buy an iPad Pro, so her bullet journal page is focused on what items she's going to sell to help her achieve that goal.

She made cute doodles of each item, and how much she'll earn, and then the total she'll make by selling those items. When she's done, time to buy that iPad Pro...goal completed!

Image From  Studi.Ology

Image From Studi.Ology

This weekly page spread from Studi.ology is also packed with lots of helpful information. She uses clean lines and simple symbols to track tasks and events/appointments.

The days of the week and tasks are across the top portion of the page; while the bottom half is loaded with a mood tracker, upcoming events, wishlist, productivity tracker, notes, and even a task tracker.

Photo From  Katie.A,Kowalski

Photo From Katie.A,Kowalski

The first rule of bullet journaling...there are no rules! This beautiful page from Katie.A.Kowalski shows her love of art and tracking things that are important to her.

She says on instagram that she had to rip a few pages before she got the hang of it; but I love her finished results!

She has some quotes to keep in mind at the top. They are all very inspiring: 

  • We must try not to sink beneath our anguish but battle on.

  • Action is the antidote to despair.

  • Breathe and release the tension.

On the left side of the page she keeps a food tracker and has a little doodle with a recipe for making the perfect pot of rice. On the right is her OOTD (outfit of the day) - it's so cute and finished in watercolor. She also has a routine/ritual notes. 

Now It's Your Turn to Bullet Journal

Ryder Carroll gave us a wonderful concept with the bullet journal. What I find so inspiring is seeing how others have taken that concept and altered it to make it work for planning and achieving the goals to fit their lives. 

Do you keep a bullet journal? How has it worked for you? Have you altered it to suit your lifestyle...if so, how?