Bullet Journaling For Beginners

I have recently re-discovered my love of bullet journaling. You might be asking what on earth is bullet journaling, or you are here to learn more about it. However, you’ve got here you’re in the right place. This is bullet journaling for beginners.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through what a bullet journal is. In a nutshell bullet journaling is a planning system that allows you to plan for the future, track the past all while making the most of the present.

What sets bullet journaling apart from other systems? Your bullet journal is customised by you, using a few guiding ideas and terms. Firstly I recommend watching the video directly below by Ryder Carroll who is the guy that invented bullet journaling. Ryder created bullet journaling because he has ADHD and needed to find a system of organisation and productivity that worked for him.

Must Have Bullet Journal Setup Pages

The first thing you should setup in your bullet journal is the Index. The index is just a table of contents where you list each spread or collection you add to your bullet journal with it’s page number. Save a few pages for this.

Bullet Journal Index
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal Index

Future Log

The next pages you may want to create (but it’s not compulsory) is your future log. Your future log is the months of the year listed over a few pages with space to put events that are happening in that month. You will refer back to this when you create your monthly spread.

bullet journal future log

Monthly Spread

The monthly spread is one of my favourite spreads to create. This is where you keep your month at a glance. Some people keep this minimal as a list instead of a calendar form. It is totally up to you, there is no right or wrong to it. I prefer to make this spread look like a calendar.

bullet journal monthly spread

bullet journal month list spread
Traditional bullet journal monthly spread

Bullet Journal Weekly Spread

Weekly spreads aren’t part of the original bullet journal setup but they are a natural progression from your monthly spread. They are the place you can plan out your week in more detail than the monthly spread. Add your appointments, event and notes, pretty much anything you want.

Daily Log

Your bullet journal daily log or spread is the workhorse of your bullet journal. It’s where you list all the things you need to get done in the day. You can also track habits and add notes or journal entries. The daily and weekly log are interchangeable really. If you don’t have lots going on in your day you may find that the weekly spread has enough room for you without having to use a daily log, it’s totally up to you.

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Bullet Journal Collections

The last additions to your bullet journal are collections. Collections are the catch-all for everything that doesn’t fit into your monthly, weekly and daily spreads. Collections can go anywhere in your bullet journal, I just turn to the next blank page in my notebook and put the collection there. Then you put the page number and collection number in your index so you don’t have to thumb all the way through your book. The most basic collection is a brain dump. A brain dump is a page devoted to getting your thoughts out on to paper so you can work through them. Collections can be lists, trackers and more. Common collections are habit trackers, where you track completing daily habits like exercising, taking meds, drinking water etc.

Bullet Journal Equipment

So now you have a general idea on how to bullet journal lets talk about equipment.  I would recommend that you get yourself a dot grid notebook like the Leuchtturm Bullet Journal (designed by Ryder Carroll), the Rhodia goal book or the Nuuna notebook.  If they don’t take your fancy you can really use any book you want to use as its a very flexible system. Most people use a dot-grid notebook but you can use anything.

Other equipment I have found useful are:

My trusty fountain pens and inks. My favourite fountain pen is the Pilot Petit1 and the Pilot Metropolitan, and my favourite ink is Pilot Iroshizuku yu-yake. Pilots Frixion pens are also good for writing and the frixion soft light soft highlighters for highlighting.  This is mainly because they are erasable if you make a mistake, any pen will do though really.  I have ended up with a large collection of different coloured and styled pens.

Some of my favourites are Zebra mildliners, Tombow dual brush pens and Staedtler fineliners. All of which you can buy on Amazon. I do use some planner stickers in my bullet journal (bujo) that I have got from various sellers, just google bullet journal stickers. They just make your bullet journal a bit prettier sometimes. If you are artistically challenged you can buy stencils made for bullet journals from Imaginary Arts. They have a large range that also includes monthly calendar templates. Lastly, you will need a ruler, some people use little short ones, I’ve just stolen a full size one from my kids and it works fine.

Inspiration

I would recommend going and finding some inspiration for your bullet journal either before or after you have started your bujo. I tend to find a lot of inspiration from Pinterest but  I also go to Instagram where there are hundreds of tags about bullet journaling.  I most often use #bujoinspiration and #bulletjournal.  Some bullet journalers to follow on Instagram are:

  • @bujoloveblog – Sweet Bujo (my bullet journal blog)
  • @bulletjournal – Bullet Journal official account
  • @mabujork – A man who likes to plan.  Minimalist
  • @planningwithkay – Kayla bullet journals with stickers that she sells in her etsy shop HERE

Pinterest is a great resource.  If you want to see what I have saved about bullet journaling go have a look at my bullet journal ideas board or just type in bullet journal into Pinterest and watch the hundreds of pins appear. If I am looking for bullet journal weekly layout ideas I type in “bullet journal weekly spreads” and it will come up with hundreds of results. Facebook and Youtube are also great sources of inspiration.

So that’s it for this post, I hope that it has given you some ideas for your bullet journaling and don’t forget to have fun.  If it becomes a chore you won’t want to keep it up. 

Last Post: Does a left-hander need a left-handed fountain pen?

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