Begin Bullet Journaling in 5 Easy Steps
When I first got started, I thought I had to go through a lot of planning to begin bullet journaling. Some sites highly recommend you do a lot of pre-planning, but when you’re just getting started. I prefer the go-with-the flow kind of method.
Even for those of us that are super organized, the pre-planning part of bullet journaling can be daunting. In fact, the planning phase can be enough to discourage some from trying a bullet journal at all.
As your fellow Bullet Journal Junkie, I won’t let that happen to you. I will help you get up and running so you can begin bullet journaling without the overwhelm.
Basic Housekeeping Before You Begin Bullet Journaling
Everyone has their own opinion about bullet journaling. Some of these opinions could be misleading. So, there are a few things I like to emphasize before getting started.
- Bullet journaling should be FUN! Don’t stress. Just go with the flow.
- You’re going to make mistakes. Just accept it. Embrace it, even. Say it with me, “Mistakes are A-OKAY!”
- A bullet journal is an evolving tool. As you gain experience, your journal will improve right along with you.
- You do NOT have to be an artist to begin bullet journaling.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. If it doesn’t work out, you have the next page to try something else. Your journal is always a work in progress.
That’s it. Remember to keep it fun and just go with the flow. As time goes on, you and your journal will improve. I promise.
5 Steps to Begin Bullet Journaling
STEP 1: Select Your Supplies
Bullet Journaling requires a few necessary supplies. You may find that you develop some favorite types of supplies. Feel free to expand your “collection” in whatever area you gravitate to the most. For now, we’re just going to look at what’s needed to begin bullet journaling:
- A bullet Journal – most people choose to use a dotted notebook. Others prefer to use a quad ruled notebook. They’re cheaper. You can get either style on Amazon or in office supply stores. I’ve also seen them at Barnes and Noble. Some people are finicky about the brand, but when you’re just starting out, just pick something that speaks to you. One that will lay relatively flat when open is helpful. The notebook pictures on the right is a Leuchtturn1917 Slim A4 Dotted Journal.
- A long clear ruler – I like the Westcott 18 inch Beveled Transparent Ruler. It’s long enough to span across a standard, letter-sized notebook.
- Some fine liner pens – This will help bring some color to your bullet journal. I love colors, so I started with a 20 Pack of Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens. They work great. I have since purchased more pens from Staedtler.
That’s really all you need to get started. However, there are some additional items that people often like to use as well. I’ve listed them below. My two cents – see if you like bullet journaling before you buy more supplies. It’s easy to add to your collection at any time.
- Washi Tape – people like to use this to cover up mistakes or to add color to their pages.
- Fountain Pens – if you have a flair for handwriting, this could be good for you. Available in assorted colors.
- Dual-tip Brush Markers – another way to add color to your pages.
- Post-It Flags – to help mark pages for quick reference.
STEP 2: Determine the purpose of your journal and what you wish to track
So what would you like your bullet journal to be about or to contain? Is it for tracking personal fitness goals? Maybe it’s for business tasks? Perhaps you’re a busy mom with lots of after-school activities that you want to organize and track. Personal growth journal? Or perhaps a gratitude journal. You can track a variety of things in one bullet journal. The important thing is to take a few minutes to write down some ideas of the types of things you want to include in your bullet journal. There are no wrong answers here.
STEP 3: Basic Pre-Planning for Layouts (yearly, monthly, weekly, daily)
Now that you have an idea of WHAT you will be tracking, what kind of ways would you like to track that information? Do you want a yearly spread that shows all of the months? What about Monthly or weekly spreads? Do you think you will want a page for each day or will weekly spreads be enough?
Don’t stress too much about the details. Remember, your journal is a growing tool. It’s okay to figure some of it out as you go. I’ve been doing this for a while, and I still figure it out as I go too.
STEP 4: Find Some Templates to Get You Started
My favorite place for inspiration is Pinterest. You can search for any type of spread and find ideas. I’ll be collecting some of my favorites in the Templates section of this site, as well as out on Pinterest for all of you.
STEP 5: Build Your First Few Pages and Expand as You Go
- First, I recommend leaving a page or two at the beginning for an index. You’ll fill in the index as you create your journal.
- Next, if you decided to create a yearly spread, this might be a good place to put it.
- Then figure out what types of things you want to track. Are there other “overall” types of things you want to include? Or maybe you’re ready to dive into a Monthly or Weekly spread next. If you think of a page you want near the beginning of the journal but you’re already a few weeks into it, it’s no big deal. Add it, and then note the new page’s location in your Index. Alternatively, you can use colorful Post-It Flags to help mark pages for easy reference.
So there you have it. I hope that provides enough to get you started so that you can begin bullet journaling.
The KEY to Bullet Journaling: Just start creating your journal. The ideas will come as you begin working on it.