How To Start A Bullet Journal - Bullet Journal Setup and Ideas for Layouts - Bullet Journal Inspiration for Starting A Bullet Journal - The Surprisingly Easy Way To Start A Bullet Journal
How To Start A Bullet Journal - Step by Step on How To Start A Bullet Journal - Inspiration for Starting A Bullet Journal - Everything You Need To Know About Starting A Bullet Journal

Bullet journals are extremely popular right now. If you’ve heard the success stories from people who use bullet journals to plan out their lives, you probably want to know how to start your own. I’m teaching your how to start a bullet journal right here.

Bullet journals are extremely personal so your bullet journal will not be like mine or anyone else’s. You will have a completely different set up because your bullet journal will be used for different reasons that are personal to you.

You see I use my bullet journal as a creative outlet, journal, and daily planner to keep me on task. I track goals, books, movies, tv shows, and my healthy living goals in my bullet journal. I use it as a journal to jot down thoughts and feelings to address my mental health. I use it to manage my ADHD and stay on top of everything I need to get done in a day.

Just because this is how I use my bullet journal though doesn’t mean you will need it for the same purposes. However, inspiration is everywhere in this bullet journaling community. With a few tweaks you may re-purpose one of my spreads and make it work for you.

To help you start your own bullet journal I will be walking you step by step through the process. We are going to focus on picking the right types of spreads for your bullet journal. Together you will figure out exactly why you need a bullet journal and set your own up to serve your needs.

In the beginning, I suggest sticking with a minimalist approach. This means simple spreads, rapid logging, and no fancy doodles. This keeps it easy, less overwhelming, and gets you in the habit of using your bullet journal every single day.

How To Start A Bullet Journal

When you first decide to start a bullet journal I highly suggest getting a small notebook and just start practicing journaling every day. Open up that notebook and start writing your tasks, ideas, feelings, and goals daily. This will be using a more rapid logging approach instead of detailing out everything.

constancechel Hello August Bullet Journal SpreadSource

The hardest part about bullet journaling is not the designs you will want to create. The hardest part is getting into the habit of actually opening and writing in your journal daily. Set a scheduled alarm on your phone daily to sit down and spend 15 minutes filling out your bullet journal. I personally plan first thing in my morning routine with my coffee and last thing before bed.

You should try a couple of different times in your day. Planning the next day the evening before works for a lot of people. For me I have to work based on my motivation levels so my planning is in the morning and then stick to it all day. Try both planning options out. You may find you are a all day long planner and tracker like me.

Bullet Journal Supplies

Once you are ready to start your bullet journal you will need some supplies. For a minimalist journal all you will need is a journal and a pen. However, if you are planning on creating awesome designs and doodles with your bullet journal you will need more.

Recommended Products

I also highly recommend getting a drawing pad for the purpose of practicing your lettering and doodles. Practicing your lettering and art on a separate drawing pad will help you to create beautiful and useful spreads in your bullet journal. This also helps with those who suffer from perfectionism, practicing beforehand means less mistakes in the journal you will use and carry with you.

Starting a Bullet Journal

Now we will go through step by step how you will set up and create your bullet journal. You will figure out the purpose of your bullet journal, what spreads you want, and how you want to plan in your bullet journal.

Bullet Journal Purpose

What is the purpose of your bullet journal? Are you intending to use it as a planner? Maybe you want it more as a way to track your habits? Whatever you choose to do with your bullet journal remember it is a tool to help your through the day, record memories or both.

There can be many purposes or just one with your bullet journal. Many people use their journal to help them organize their days, track their habits, or as a way to help them stay on track with their goals. You can use it for work, personal, or as a catch all.

The bullet journal can be whatever you make of it. My suggestion is to pick one area of focus for your bullet journal at first. Stick with that for a while. If you feel as you continue using it you can add too it, go ahead and do so.

Picking Your Bullet Journal Spreads

Now you can pick the types of spreads you want. What do you want to record? What do you want to remember? Do you want to keep track of goals? Do you want to be more positive in your life by writing in a gratitude spread?

plansthatblosson Weekly SpreadSource

Start going through Pinterest and Instagram to find inspiration for the types of spreads you want in your bullet journal. Create a list of all the spreads you want to include in your bullet journal. Then you can look through those spreads and place them in order for where you want them in the bullet journal.

I highly recommend putting all your long term trackers towards the front of your bullet journal. Monthly trackers should be created as you move through your bullet journal. My monthly trackers are before any monthly and weekly planners so I can fill them out as I flip through to write down my thoughts and tasks each day.

Remember to leave the first few pages available for keys and indexes. A key is where you log how you define tasks and events. You can use a traditional key like the one Ryder Carroll uses. Likewise, you can also create your own key based on what makes sense for you.

The index pages are important so you can write down where certain trackers are. This helps you easily find important pages in your journal for reference. If you make party plans in your journal you can easily find them by giving your pages numbers and marking them in your bullet journal index.

Below is my recommended layout for a Bullet Journal:

  1. Key
  2. Index
  3. Long Term Collections
  4. Long Term Trackers
  5. Yearly Planners
  6. First Monthly Spread
  7. Monthly Trackers & Collections
  8. Weekly Spreads
  9. End of Month Review
  10. Second Monthly Spread
  11. Etc.

Doing it this way also spreads out the load of creating all of your spreads at once. It allows you to use pages as you need them instead of trying to draw out your entire journal in one sitting.

You can switch out weekly spreads for daily spreads, you can include daily spreads as well. I do all my monthly and weekly spreads in one sitting because sometimes I get so hectic I just don’t have time to create spreads each week. Then I use pages after the weeklies to do any daily spreads or as a journal if needed.

Planning In Your Bullet Journal

If you plan to use your bullet journal as a personal planner, you will now start figuring out exactly what types of planners you want. For instance, you may want yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily planners or you may need just a monthly and daily planner.

I personally use a yearly, monthly, and weekly as it works best with my work at home schedule. My yearly planner helps me plan out future events, holidays, or tasks. My weekly planner is used as a planner, brain dump, and to do list. I use additional pages as a journal as needed.

Many people use their bullet journal as a sort of catch all for daily events. They log conversations, funny things, and memories they want to look back on. I’ve also seen people turn their daily spreads into a sort of scrap book. Make it as intricate or simple as you please. Whatever suits your own personal style.

Washi tape is great for identifying pages with tabs or for taping pictures and little things to the pages. It’s also great for sectioning off areas of each spread or just creating a unique style to your journal.

Picking out how you want to layout your different planners will help you to determine how many pages you will need to plan for in your journal. These bullet journals are meant to help you track, plan, and record everything in your life so you can organize your time easily.

Most people use 2 journals per year. Some more and some manage to squeeze a full year into their planner.

Working In Your Bullet Journal

I highly recommend using pencil to draw out designs first, this way you can easily fix mistakes before coloring in your art. I use a simple pen but draw out script like fonts for things like my gratitude spread.

januaryjournal Draw In PencilSource

When you are first starting, especially if you are not the artistic type, I recommend keeping your journal minimalist. Practice doodles and designs in a separate notebook or drawing pad for a while before you adventure to adding designs to your journal.

If you make a mistake in your bullet journal there are a few things you can do. Mark the mistake and create a note like “LOL” or cover the mistake with washi tape or a doodle. Mistakes happen in bullet journals more times than not. Accept the mistakes as part of it’s charm instead of an imperfection.

For instance, I really suck at drawing stars. I have practiced and practiced and can never seem to get them just right. So when I did my star themed monthly layout I called it dancing stars because they were so imperfect they looked like they were dancing.

September Dancing Stars Bullet Journal Cover Page

Last Bullet Journal Tips

Bullet journaling is supposed to be a quick fun way to track your day and get organized first. It’s a creative outlet second. Finally, it’s meant for you. So embrace the mistakes as lessons learned, get creative, and have some fun with it. Turn it into whatever you want it to be.

In December I will be starting a YouTube channel where I help people learn to tap into and grow their creativity. Talent is nothing more than the ambition to practice, my channel focuses and motivates you to practice your art and lettering. It will also give you loads of inspiration for your own journal.

Recommended Products

Do you have bullet journal spreads you would like shared? Email them to [email protected] and they may be featured on an Instagram post or to the blog. Please leave your IG Username so I can tag you in the posts. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your Bullet Journal boards.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this guide. I have had a hard time managing my time because I never had a system. I feel like with these guidelines I can make it work. Appreciate you

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